The transmission oil lubricates the different parts in the transmission to ensure they are protected against heat and friction. In addition, the transmission fluid pump creates hydraulic pressure inside of the transmission. The purpose of the transmission oil pressure switch is to read the amount of pressure that is inside of the transmission. This reading is then sent to your vehicle’s computer, which decides if the clutch should be told to shift.
The transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles for both automatic and manual transmission vehicles. The oil pressure switch should be inspected during this time as well as other parts of the transmission to ensure everything is operating properly.
Over time, the transmission oil pressure switch can wear down because of the hard environment it works in. It is subjected to heat and friction on a daily basis, so the switch can become broken, fail, or not read the pressure accurately. Normally, the transmission oil pressure switch will need to be replaced at least once during a vehicle’s lifetime, so if you start to notice symptoms, contact a professional mechanic to further assist you.
If your seal is not working properly and fluid is leaking, this can potentially lead to a large problem. Automatic transmission fluid cleans and conditions the seals, so if it does get too low, the engine will seize up and stop working completely. Before this happens, the vehicle may have a burnt smell to it or you may notice reddish fluid leaking beneath your vehicle. It is important to check your transmission fluid and refill it if need be as soon as you notice these symptoms. Furthermore, the vehicle will then need to be checked out by a mechanic to find the cause of the leak.
Since this part can wear down and need to be replaced over time, it is important to recognize the symptoms it gives off before it completely fails.
Signs your transmission oil pressure switch needs to be replaced include:
The vehicle goes into limp mode
The transmission will not move into higher gears
When the transmission does shift gears, it is harsh and not smooth
The Check Engine Light is on
Have a certified mechanic replace the failing transmission oil pressure switch to eliminate any further problems with your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Transmission Oil Pressure Switch Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.