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Transmission Trouble

Having developed an automatic transmission (AT) distribution business in 2010, Derek was prepared for a hefty bill. His gearshift wouldn’t go into either forward or reverse, and he was stranded by the wayside.

His first reaction was pondered over the fact that when he placed the gearstick into “D” for drive, the car reversed. Puzzled he shifted to the reverse position thinking it might make the car go forward, sadly the car didn’t move. He turned the ignition off. Then he started the car to see if it made any difference, but it didn’t apart from each gearbox position was disengaged. In other words, he desperately needed the help of a mechanic as it was early evening, and he didn’t fancy leaving his car in the street overnight.


Additionally, he was panicking about the repair costs though he maintained his calm by taking deep breaths and using his alpha-brainwaves to take everything in its stride. You see, to fix an automatic transmission it usually requires that the casing be split open as the unit is high precision and its shell needs to be dismantled in order to get to the internal mechanism.


To open the automatic transmission, it needs to be dropped from its position from behind the engine so the powertrain which is linked to the drivetrain; taken out of the engine mounting. This process is lengthy and complicated to inexperienced mechanics, and therefore takes a fully qualified technician to diagnose the fault.


Then replacement spare parts have to be sourced which can be difficult to find as AT parts aren’t manufactured in Brazil. Standard parts are readily available most of the time, but often stocks run low and import and distribution firms run out; they are usually expensive. Sometimes to reduce costs mechanics are able to repair items like shift cables or electronic devices like solenoids, bands can also be reconditioned, but there are no guarantees that these items will be faulty sooner than later.

All repaired AT gearbox units need to have their overhaul kit replaced which includes gaskets, seals, and sealing rings to create airtightness to avoid the loss of pressure and oil leakage. It has to be done faultlessly, as any mistake will result in the operation having to be repeated.

One of his old clients, Fabio a mechanic came to aid him, and pleasantly to his surprise the problem had been the shift cable. That cable could be replaced without dismantling the AT unit, so job done quickly and efficiently.

Keeping calm at times of need is the best way to tackle head-on problems.

Have a terrific day!

Prof. Carl Boniface


Which multichoice answer is incorrect:

1. Why was Derek prepared for a hefty bill?

a) Spare parts are imported and therefore expensive.

b) He expected a hefty bill because he was panicking about the repair costs.

c) Automatic transmission units need to be opened to repair which means the cost is hefty.

d) He digests worst case scenario to prepare for a pleasant surprise.


Vocabulary builder:

Hefty (adj) = heavy, weighty, substantial, cumbersome, awkward

Stranded (adj) = stuck, shipwrecked, run aground, beached, aground, abandoned, deserted, marooned, isolated, left high and dry, trapped

Wayside (n) = curb, edge, pavement, roadside, shoulder, hard shoulder

Pondered (adj) = in its verb form it means considered, contemplated, deliberated, think about, think over, wonder about, meditate upon, weigh up, brood over

Alpha-brainwaves (n) = Alpha waves induce feelings of calm, increase creativity, and enhance your ability to absorb new information. Meditating and practicing mindfulness are some of the most obvious ways to prolong your ability to stay in an alpha state, but there are other ways, as well.

Take everything in its stride (idiom) = UK (US take something in stride) to deal with a problem or difficulty calmly and not to allow it to influence what you are doing: When you become a politician, you soon learn to take criticism in your stride. Coping and not coping.

Powertrain which is linked to the drivetrain = How are powertrain and drivetrain different? Put simply, the drivetrain is what delivers power to move the wheels. The powertrain consists of both the engine and the drivetrain.

Airtight (adj) = impermeable to air or nearly so. an airtight seal. Having no noticeable weakness, flaw, or loophole, an airtight argument. Airtightness (n)

Engine mounting (n) = engine mounts are used to connect a car engine to the car frame. An engine mount attaches the engine to the chassis and absorbs the engine vibrations.

Head-on (adj) = face-to-face, uncompromising, confrontational, direct, (ant) indirect

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