Whitesburg KY
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Transmission line failure probably due to line age

Car Talk

Dear Tom and Ray:

What would make a transmission line blow out? — Tamerlyn

TOM: Sorry, Tamerlyn. I take it you’ve had a catastrophic event in your life recently.

RAY: Would congratulations on your new transmission be in order? I hope not.

TOM: Age is the most common culprit in transmission line failure. Those lines are made of steel and rubber; they’re steel with rubber sections at the end where they connect to the radiator.

RAY: The lines carry the transmission fluid, which is about 450 degrees Fahrenheit, to the radiator, which is a mere 250 F, so the fluid can be cooled before being sent back to the transmission.

TOM: And those lines operate under pretty high pressure. But they’re really tough, too. The rubber has to get pretty old and worn out before it fails. And nor- mally, if you get your car serviced regularly, your mechanic will spot a questionable transmission line before it breaks.

RAY: It’s possible that a problem inside the transmission caused the pressure to increase. That would make a line more likely to blow out, since it’s the weakest link the system.

TOM: But you probably would have seen the “check engine” light come on. And you would have noticed the transmission behaving differently when you drove (before the line blew out … we know it behaved differently after that).

RAY: So I’m assuming the culprit is old age and lack of a regular mechanic, Tamerlyn. You didn’t give us your address; otherwise, we would have sent flowers.

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(c) 2014 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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