The engine and transmission are a car’s most critical and expensive components. However, while many people understand what to look for when diagnosing a problem with the engine, the transmission does not often receive the same level of attention.
Transmission repairs or replacements are difficult, frustrating, and often extremely expensive, so keep an eye out for any odd activity. Following the prescribed maintenance techniques and schedule will help your transmission last longer, operate better, and require fewer repairs over its lifetime.
If your transmission is not effectively maintained and/or symptoms of a problem are not investigated by an expert as soon as they appear, major transmission problems are unavoidable.
This guide will go through the ten most common transmission problems before showing you how to troubleshoot and repair some of the simpler ones.
The most typical transmission problems are leaking seals, worn clutches, and old transmission oil. Malfunctioning transmission components, such as faulty shift solenoids, transmission belts, or a faulty torque converter, are also fairly prevalent. Let’s learn about these problems in detail.
1. Fluid leaking
Transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts. Transmission fluid, unlike engine oil, is not burned off. A low fluid level nearly always signals a leak that must be repaired. Fluid leaks are one of the simplest transmission problems to identify because the indicators of a leak are apparent. Some common signs of transmission problems are:
- The driveway has a fluid deposit.
- The car drives OK but has reverse issues.
It is easier to check for low fluid in an automatic transmission. Just take a short drive, park on level ground, open the hood, and inspect the gearbox fluid dipstick. If everything is in order, the fluid will be a bright translucent red with a lovely odor. Schedule an automatic transmission service immediately if it appears dark, has a burned odor, or has a low fluid level. Otherwise, your engine may seize while driving.
2. Clutch Problems
A worn-out clutch is one of the most typical difficulties you’ll experience if you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission. Replacing a clutch is neither simple nor inexpensive, but it is vital to keep everything moving smoothly.
Dragging is frequent in manual transmissions and occurs when the clutch pedal is excessively slack. This indicates that the clutch and flywheel fail to disengage, preventing you from changing gears even while the clutch is depressed.
Although this is a significant issue (you can’t change gears), the solution is relatively simple for a competent gearbox servicing crew. We can generally tighten the clutch pedal without replacing parts, saving you money and keeping you safe on the road.
3. Slipping gears
So your fluid level is OK, but your gearbox continues to slip in and out of gear. This is another sign of the transmission problem. Manual transmissions should never be in neutral until you make a shift. Gear linkage parts might wear down over time, leading your vehicle to shift into neutral.
Automatic transmissions employ a computer to change gears; therefore, diagnosing a slipping automatic gearbox in the garage is necessary.
Gear slipping is a severe safety issue in both scenarios. Therefore, you should schedule a servicing appointment as soon as possible before your vehicle becomes a hazard on the road.
4. Shuddering or grinding
You may feel the symptoms of transmission issues before you hear or see them.
Grinding during changing in a manual gearbox could indicate a clutch issue or damaged synchronizers. Synchronisers, often known as synchros,’ align the speed of the gears you’re shifting between to ensure a seamless transition.
Automatic gearboxes can tremble between gears, causing a jarring sensation similar to how a new driver might ‘rabbit hop’ their first time in a manual automobile. This is a solid sign that automatic gearbox servicing is necessary, and you should make an appointment with our mechanics immediately.
5. Torque Converter Is Worn
You have a torque converter if you have an automatic transmission. While a torque converter has a rather long service life, it is not unheard of for them to fail. If this occurs, you may notice grinding noises when your transmission switches gears and your transmission will need to be rebuilt.
6. Noxious odor
Burning aromas are never a good sign in an engine with so many moving parts and combustible fluids. Typically, you’re smelling burnt transmission fluid, which is produced by an overheating gearbox. It could be the result of:
- Dirty transmission fluid
- Transmission fluid depleted
- Transmission fluid leaking
If the transmission is hot, the fluid level is low, or maybe you have used the incorrect type of transmission fluid, all these circumstances can lead to a burning odor. So, you must check your transmission as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
7. Used Transmission Fluid and Filter
Though transmission fluid does not need to be changed as frequently as engine oil, it does not last forever. Check your owner’s manual to learn how frequently you should change your transmission fluid.
8. Shift Solenoids That Aren’t Working
Solenoids often outlast sensors, but if your transmission is old enough or you’re unfortunate, you may discover that your transmission has a malfunctioning solenoid. Because solenoids are more expensive than sensors, expect to pay a little more for repairs.
9. Slow response to acceleration
If your automobile hesitates between gears or is hesitant to accelerate from a stop, it could be a worn clutch (in a manual transmission) or something more sinister.
People frequently book automatic transmission services because they are unsure. We need to get under the hood to correctly identify and repair the problem because there could be multiple reasons why your throttle is slow to engage:
- Clutch component failure
- Clutch springs or plates that have worn out
- Troubleshooting the master cylinder
- The fluid channel contains air.
- Combination of issues
10. Transmission Overheating
While an overheating transmission is indicative of a larger issue, it may be the only thing you notice. There are numerous reasons why your transmission may overheat. To figure out what’s wrong with your transmission, you’ll need to troubleshoot it properly. This includes everything from jammed gears to old transmission fluid.
Thus, it is critical to maintaining a regular maintenance routine for your vehicle. Major repairs can often be avoided if the vehicle is properly maintained. This is especially true if you observe anything out of the ordinary. The vehicle should be serviced as soon as possible. Other than that, if you are noticing signs of transmission problems, this is how you can fix it.
Overcoming Transmission Problems
Like other moving parts, the transmission’s components will ultimately wear out. You can extend your transmission’s life by regular maintenance on it. Ensure that you have a transmission flush performed at the manufacturer’s suggested intervals. You can have the transmission flushed by a shop or dealership or do it yourself. When you intend to change the transmission fluid, make sure to use the correct transmission fluid for your vehicle.
So, with the very first sign of defect, you must book an appointment with our mechanic at DAScenter.