Signs of a Needed Transmission Repair
Most drivers pay little attention to their transmission if they have an automatic model, but driving a manual transmission vehicle quickly familiarizes you with the sounds of a smooth transmission. Manual, semi-automatic, and automatic transmissions need proper maintenance to function seamlessly. Transmissions are responsible for transferring power through a series of gears to the engine. Any transmission can stop functioning properly, and you should visit a local repair shop immediately if you suspect your transmission isn’t performing up to par.
Common Signs that Your Transmission Needs Attention
Transmissions malfunction because of low or dirty transmission fluid, which causes your car to overheat, slip gears or surge ahead. Automatic transmissions are especially vulnerable to total failure.
Usually, there are advance warning signs of transmission repair problems if you pay even a modicum of attention to the sounds your car engine makes. The top signs that your transmission needs attention or repairs include:
If your car doesn’t respond when you manually or automatically change gears, you have a major problem that needs immediate attention. Park your car carefully after discovering a transmission issue because the car could slip out of park and roll across the road or parking lot.
- Delays or Failure to Change Gears
If it becomes difficult to change gears, you have a problem within your transmission system. This difficulty is often caused by a low level of transmission fluid or use of the wrong transmission fluid weight.
- Slipping Gears
It can become quite frightening when your transmission slips into other gears while driving. It’s dangerous to drive with a slipping transmission, and you should park your car carefully and call for a tow truck. Signs of a slipping transmission include high revving sounds when shifting gears, harsh responses when changing gears and delays in gear changes. This condition often feels like driving on ice without traction.
- Burning Smells
If you detect a burning odor while driving your car, take your car to a repair shop immediately. Burning smells can indicate an overheating engine or that the fluid is old, contaminated, and burnt.
- Unusual Noises
Any abnormal engine noises are bad signs. Clicking or buzzing sounds are usually caused by malfunctioning transmissions. These sounds are usually caused by bad bearings or damaged gears. Some transmissions make a buzzing sound when low on transmission fluid. Noises made while in neutral usually indicate that you need a fluid flush and change.
- Transmission Won’t Stay in Gear
After putting your car in gear, the car won’t move. That indicates that your transmission is damaged and won’t stay in gear. This is often caused by internal malfunctions requiring repairs or transmission replacement.
- Taking Too Long to Shift Gears
Delays in shifting into gear usually indicate a transmission leak. Other signs include grinding gears. If you ignore the problem too long, you transmission can overheat and damage other engine components.
- Leaking Fluid
Leaking transmission fluid is a highly visible sign. If you see red-tinted or darker fluid in an area where you parked your car, you have a transmission leak somewhere within the system. Try to find the leak immediately, or you might need to replace the transmission.
- Check Engine Light Remains On
Many drivers routinely ignore the check engine light because it always seems to remain on. However, that’s never a wise decision because the light indicates a real problem, which could involve the transmission.
- Dragging Clutch
A dragging clutch won’t disengage from the flywheel when you press the pedal. The gears clash, and the car can move when shifting gears. This is caused by misplacement of the clutch or mechanical failure, and your car needs immediate attention.
- Clutch Pops Out of Gear
If your transmission frequently pops out of gear into neutral, schedule an appointment with your local transmission repair shop. This indicates a serious control problem that can result in power losses to the wheels, which easily causes accidents.
You know the sounds of your car better than anyone else, so unusual noises are ideal warning signs of transmission problems. You might also notice burning smells, transmission fluid leaks and changes in the car’s gear-changing performance.
The Cost of Transmission Repairs
Transmission repairs can run cheap if you just need a flush and replacement of transmission fluid. If you must replace the transmission, you can save money by installing a rebuilt transmission at a more affordable cost.
The factors that affect the price of transmission repairs include the following:
- The amount of damage affects the cost of repairs.
- The make and model of the car affects repair costs.
- Foreign import repairs usually cost more.
- Newer model components actually cost more but are easier to find.
- Manual transmission repairs usually cost less than automatic.
- The location and reputation of the repair shop affects repair prices.
- Where you live affects the going rate of repairs.
Transmission Maintenance Tips
The best way to avoid costly transmission repairs is to service and maintain your vehicle on a regular basis. Transmission maintenance tips include the following practices:
- Check your fluid level regularly, and recognize that a low level might indicate a leak in the system. The fluid should remain a bright red color and not look dark-colored like used oil
- Schedule regular service for your vehicle’s cooling system to prevent overheating.
- Use the proper type of transmission fluid for the make and model of your vehicle, which you can find in the vehicle owner’s manual.
- Schedule regular flush-and-fill service to remove contaminants at least once a year — and more often if you drive long distances.
- Don’t drive on a smaller space tire for an extended period because it damages wheel alignment and puts greater strain of thi\e transmission.
- Don’t change gears if you have an automatic transmission while the car is moving because it strains the transmission without the disengagement of the clutch.
- Allow your car time to warm up before driving despite warnings that it wastes fuel.
- Change the transmission filter regularly each time that you get your system flushed if your vehicle uses one,
- Don’t tow other vehicles because heavy loads and hot temperatures can damage your transmission.
- Schedule a transmission inspection each year for preventive maintenance.
The First Steps of Transmission Awareness
You will quickly develop a greater awareness of transmission problems until detecting them becomes second-nature. The first step is double-checking your fluid levels and color, which is the single most valuable tip to learn.
Take your car into Mario LoMedico Exotic Motors, and we’ll make sure we check your transmission and everything else to keep your car on the road!