Most and Least Reliable Transmissions of the Last Decade

Transmission is one of the vital components of the car; it transmits power from the engine to the wheels. The engine aside, the transmission is the most expensive part of the vehicle. This means that repairing serious transmission issues can be very difficult in case of defects. 

That said, the transmissions are susceptible to wear and tear. Transmission failure can affect your driving safety. Moreover, leaks and low fluid problems repair costs can add up quickly.  However, the reliability of different transmissions varies significantly. Some transmissions are very reliable, while others are not. Let’s explore the most reliable transmission and others that you should eschew.

Reliable Transmissions

1. GM 6L80E Transmission

The GM 6L80-E transmission is one of the most reliable transmissions in the market.  It is similar to the 6L45/6L50 but a little bigger. The six-speed automatic transmission is manufactured by General Motors and used in cars such as Hummer H2, Cadillac Escalade, Camaro, G8, Sierra Trucks, Suburban, Tahoe, and Denali. What’s more, it is a highly successful OEM transmission with an incredible conversion.

6L80E is designed with a clutch-to-clutch application in both 4WD /AWD and RWD. It also features a wide gear ratio, which provides excellent efficiency and performance. Additionally, it is powerful, producing an output torque of 6644 lb-ft. These features make it an ideal transmission for a high-performance application like Chevy Corvette and Chevy Camaro. More information about the 6L80-E transmission can be found here.

2. Seven-speed S Tronic

7-speed S Tronic is a common transmission in Audi cars such as TT  Coupe and A3  Sportback. The component comes uncompromising quality standards typical in Audi brands. Specifically, it’s a high precision clutch management and cutting-edge technology for topnotch precision and enhancing smooth gear shifting. The transmission features a dynamic performance, dual-clutch, and seven-speed. It can handle incredible engine speeds of up to 9000rpm, producing a brute torque of about 550N. 

3. GM 4L80-E transmission

4L80-E is a decant transmission suitable for rugged vehicles. Its power capacity potential is the highest than any other overdrive transmission brand in the market. For instance, it has a bigger apply area and clutch capacity than 4L60E.  Also, it boasts of excellent power flow for big power applications. In general, the transmission comes with powerful combinations. 

4. 6-speed SkyActiv-MT

Activ-MT is a reliable transmission that provides a crisp and light shift feel similar to driving a sports car.  This transmission is common in North America, but it is also widely used in Europe. Technically, the transmission comes with an increased lever ratio producing a lighter shift effort. The manufacturer developed this transmission to achieve a better shift feel and excellent fuel economy in Mazda MX5.

Unreliable Transmissions

1. DPS6 dual-clutch transmission

DPS6 dual-clutch Powershift transmission, also known as a DPS6, is used in Ford Fiesta and Focus cars. It has been used for about ten years. In fact, DPS6 is considered a high-performance transmission for high-end vehicles thanks to its excellent fuel economy, lightweight, and easy assembly features. 

However, the transmission has had problems in the recent past. One of the biggest complaints by users is sensual noises. In fact, NHTSA has received more than 4000 complaints about Ford’s transmission failures due to dry clutch construction. Initial fixes on the software have bone no fruits forcing Ford to extend the transmission system warranty to 150 000 miles or ten years.

2. Jatco  JF011E Transmission CVT 

JF011E has a common problem of unusual bearing noise in both Reverse or forward drives. The abnormal whining noises exacerbate as the speed of the vehicle increases. Dealing with bearing noise in this CVT transmission can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, you can address the problems by replacing the bearing.  

The transmission also exhibits an unusual operation mode that takes the engine speed too high, causing the driver many problems maintaining the car on the road. But that is not all. The transmission’s steel belts wear out quite easily, and repair may exceed $2500.  On the positive side, the transmission is designed with a lightweight and small dimension.

3. ZF 8HP Automatic

8HP 8 speed transmission is used in Fiat Chrysler. It was designed to replace the five-speed units and enhance jeeps fuel economy. However, motor owners have complained of delays when shifting gears, jerking, overheating, and even liquid leakage. The US National Highway Traffic safety describes the transition and is monostable. It offers a poor tactile and increases the possibility of selecting the wrong gear. 

4. Aisin TF-80 SC

This transmission is common in Ford, Renault, Volvo, and Opel car models. It has a lightweight, contemporary, and compact design with similar dimensions to a manual transmission. After driving the car for some time, the torque converter triggers slippage and friction, damaging the lining. Also, as a driver, you may experience jerking when changing the gears. Also, clogged filters are a common problem in this transmission. The good news is that you can prolong the transmission life by installing additional fine filters. 

Final Words

Transmission models can mean the difference between a smooth and problematic driving experience. Simply put, some transmissions such as the 6L80 transmission are highly reliable than general models. Unreliable transmissions will get the job done, but your driving experience will be characterized by jerking and other problems. Note that transmission repair costs can be relatively high. The bottom line is that you should seriously consider the transmission model when buying a car.