How to Spot and Troubleshoot Ford Expedition Transmission Problems

The Ford Expedition is a full-sized sport utility vehicle, or SUV. These vehicles have long been popular for their ability to tow like a truck, but offer seating like a van. While this powerful vehicle does offer many advantages, there have been some complaints of transmission problems for multiple model years, including a recall of the 2012 model. Not everyone will experience these problems with their transmission, but it’s a good idea to learn how to spot and fix them.

What is a Transmission?

The transmission is one of the most important parts of your car. Without it, your engine wouldn’t be able to transfer power to the wheels. There are two types of transmissions, the automatic and the manual. Automatics sense when the car needs more torque, or force, to get the wheels moving. If you are starting the car from a stationary position, or are towing something heavy, then your vehicle needs to start in a low gear to provide more power to the wheels. It then adjusts the gears, as the car begins to move faster. A manual transmission serves the same purpose, except that the driver controls the changing of the gears through the use of a gear shaft and clutch pedal.

How can You Tell If Your Transmission is in Trouble?

One of first signs of transmission problems is what’s known as slipping. This happens when there is a lag, or pause, between when you change gears and when the car begins to accelerate. Another major sign that something is wrong is when your transmission starts to make an awful grinding noise as you change gears. Sometimes this can be due to driver error, but if the car is being driven correctly and the noise continues, then you have a problem on your hands. Noise when the car is idling, a burning smell, or gears that lock up and won’t change position are all signs that you should pay attention to. Transmissions are one of the most expensive car repairs, but if you catch any problems early, then you can prevent further damage.

What are Some Things to Check When Your Transmission Starts Acting Up?

Not all transmission problems require a full replacement. If you are experiencing any problems, the first thing you need to do is to check your transmission fluid. Without enough fluid to lubricate the gears, these parts will grind against each other and cause damage. Make sure that there is enough fluid and that it’s clean. This may be hard to do on your Ford Expedition, since models from the years 2003 to 2013 do not have a transmission fluid dipstick. Instead, there is a valve on the bottom of your car. Start your car on a level surface and check this valve. Some newer models might require that you take your car to a dealership to have the fluid serviced. In addition, you should check for any transmission fluid leaks. This will help you direct your mechanic to the problem. Transmission fluid is red in color, so it should be easy to spot. Look under your car and around the transmission itself.

What can You do to Prevent Transmission Problems from Happening?

Many common transmission issues can be avoided with just a little bit of prevention. If you use your Ford Expedition for towing heavy loads or for rough off-road terrain, then you are at a higher risk of overheating your transmission. Most transmission issues can be traced back to overheating. Heavy use of your transmission can cause it to heat up to nearly 350 degrees F, while your average transmission fluid will begin to cook at 200 degrees F. You can still use your Ford Expedition for towing, that’s what it was designed for, but you need to change your transmission fluid regularly in order to avoid problems. It is recommended to service your vehicle every 10,000 miles with regular use, and even more often if you tow. Be sure to change the transmission filters along with the fluid to ensure they don’t get clogged and to keep the fluid flowing cleanly. You also want to make sure the outside of your transmission stays clean to help prevent overheating.

If you like to go on outdoor adventures with the whole family, then a Ford Expedition is a fun sports utility vehicle that can take you off the beaten path or tow heavy loads. Just remember that the very features that make this vehicle unique are also the ones that can cause problems. Overheating due to towing or constant shifting of gears to get through rough terrain put a strain on your transmission system. It’s important to recognize the signs of your Ford Expedition’s transmission problems and perform basic troubleshooting and maintenance. This will help save you from costly repairs down the road.