Trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car can be a challenging task, especially for the untrained eye. Issues involving mechanical systems in a vehicle usually exhibit certain sounds and sensations that provide clues as to whet the precise problem is. As soon as you realize that there is something a bit “off” with the way your car is behaving, it’s important to look deeper into the potential problem right away. Of the many things that can go awry with your vehicle, the transmission can often be one of them. The transmission of your car is a complicated mechanical system that controls how the power is applied from the engine to the driveshaft. Because of the continuous heat and friction applied against the transmission, this component generally experiences the most wear and tear in a vehicle. Serious problems with it are bound to come about if it isn’t well taken care of, or if the problem is ignored without having it checked out upon the first sign of something wrong. Here are 5 common symptoms of transmission trouble to help you identify whether or not your car needs to be professionally inspected.
1. Lack of Response
If you’ve noticed that your car hesitates to shift into gear, there is definitely a problem. As soon as you shift from park to drive, the car should go into the appropriate gear right away. For automatic transmissions, you may feel a delay in the shift, which is definitely a transmission issue. For manual transmissions, the same lack of response is experienced, except the engine’s RPMs will surge after shifting gears, yet the car doesn’t move as quickly as the engine sounds. In this case, the clutch might need to be replaced, and in more severe cases, the entire transmission will have to be replaced.
2. Gears Slipping
Until a gear shift is performed by the driver or computer, the transmission stays in a specific gear. If, however, the gear slips in and out (or just pops into neutral) while driving, there is a major problem which poses a significant safety risk. The link holding the gears is either worn out or broken, and needs to be repaired as soon as possible.
3. Leaking Fluid
One of the most recognizable symptoms of a problem with the transmission is leaking fluid, which should be rectified as soon as possible. Letting the fluid continue to leak is one of the most common reasons for the breakdown of a transmission. Automatic transmission fluid cleans, lubricates and conditions the seals. If it starts leaking and gets too low, the engine could potentially seize up and stop working eventually.
4. Grinding and Shaking
If you notice any grinding, shaking or jerking, there is most likely an issue with the gears. A car should run smoothly when driving. For manual transmissions, grinding is a telltale sign that there is something wrong when shifting into gear. If the grinding continues after shifting gears, the clutch may have to be repaired or replaced. For automatic transmissions, you’ll probably notice more of a wiggling rather than grinding when changing gears. Transitioning from one gear to the next will become more jarring as the problem persists.
5. Burning Smell
Any time you smell burning coming from any part of your car, you should have it inspected immediately. One cause for this burning smell could be from overheating transmission fluid. If this fluid breaks down, the system will get too hot, which increases corrosive activity and friction, and leads to the buildup of sludge and debris. The transmission will become damaged if this isn’t dealt with right away. The end result will be an expensive transmission replacement.