Understanding the Automatic Transmission Solenoid

In the world of automatic vehicles, they all require a transmission. If you consider the engine the heart of a vehicle, the transmission provides the muscle for movement. With a manual transmission, the driver does the gear shifting. However, with an automatic transmission, the automatic transmission solenoid provides the process for shifting gears with help from the driver.

What a Solenoid Does
A solenoid is used in many kinds of devices and is basically an electromagnet. It is usually a cylindrical shaped coil covered with wire that turns into a magnet when electrified. When electric current is passed through it, you could say it is on, without electricity, it is off.

What an Automatic Transmission Solenoid Does
A vehicle with an automatic transmission works through a complex hydraulic system that works to operate the clutch and change gears. An automatic transmission solenoid is used in a vehicle to open and close valves that allow for the shifting of gears. The transmission system is operated by the onboard computer through a micro-computer chip. The solenoid receives signals from the microchip and opens and closed transmission valves according to instructions to keep the transmission running smoothly.

Signs the Solenoid Has Gone Bad
When something goes wrong with your transmission, it could be a mechanical or an electrical malfunction and a mechanic can tell you which it is. If your Check Engine light has been lit up on your dashboard and you are noticing shifting difficulties, then it’s probably your transmission. Taking your vehicle to a mechanic and having them run a check of the On Board Diagnostic computer is the easiest way to find out why the light is on.

If you are experiencing rough shifting, delayed shifting or random gear shifts, it is important to have your vehicle checked to see if the automatic transmission solenoid has begun to malfunction.

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