Modern vehicles like your GMC Arcadia rely on transmission systems to help move their wheels. The engine combusts to provide power, but the transmission conveys this power to the wheels. If the transmission fails, your vehicle won’t move as efficiently — or move at all. Understanding your 2008 GMC Acadia Transmission is key to ensuring that the vehicle stays reliable. This short guide explains the inner workings of your transmission plus common causes of transmission problems.
What Does a Transmission Do?
Simply put, transmission systems activate and change gears to get the best combination of speed and power to match road conditions. First gear is ideal when you first get moving. Second gear is best when you anticipate traction problems — on slick roads, for instance. Third gear is ideal for challenging road conditions or going up hills. You may see four, five, six or even as many as nine gears on some modern manual transmission vehicles. Overdrive is best for freeway speeds, typically 40 MPH or greater.
In manual transmission vehicles, you must perform all the gear shifting on your own. You control the process by engaging the clutch to cut transmission power to the wheels so they stop spinning. Once the clutch is active, you then use the shift lever to change gears. But on automatic transmission vehicles, you don’t have to switch gears yourself. The vehicle does all the work for you.
Modern automatic transmissions use torque converters instead of clutches. A torque converter works on hydraulics, using fluid to convey power. That fluid comes from a pump and activates the impeller, which permits more torque through the transmission when it spins faster. Solenoids allow that fluid to flow so that the transmission can shift gears.
Signs of Failing Automatic Transmission
Driving around with a malfunctioning windshield wiper arm is one thing. But if your transmission starts to fail? That’s a bigger risk. Obviously, complete failure means that you aren’t going anywhere. However, you’ll notice some common symptoms beforehand:
- Burning odors from the transmission assembly
- Slow or no transmission response times
- Gears slipping or incorrectly shifting
- Clunking, whining or grinding noises
Transmission failure can occur for any number of reasons. Individual transmission parts are usually at fault. For instance, a bad shifter cable may prevent the transmission from changing gears. Faulty solenoids can result from low transmission fluid levels, which can also impact the ability to shift gears. Overheating can come from low fluid or a failing transmission cooler. A bad torque converter can also impact transmission functionality.
Where To Find Your Transmission Components
Transmission costs can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. For the GMC Arcadia, you can expect to pay between $2,500 and $3,500 for just the transmission system alone — excluding labor. For vehicle drivetrain accessories, the cost can vary even more. You won’t pay as much as you would for a whole transmission, of course, but you still may shell out quite a bit. You can get the best quality and pricing by shopping at a trustworthy aftermarket parts supplier.