If you put your car into drive and it clunks into gear, hesitates or revs as if it’s stuck in neutral,
you may be facing transmission trouble.
Some transmission troubles can be easily remedied if you’re paying attention. However, if you neglect (or ignore) the early indications that regular maintenance is needed, then you could have a very costly repair or replacement on your hands.
Here are the six most common signs of a troubled transmission:
1. Noise while idling in neutral
Your transmission should not be making any noises at all. It is designed to handle shifting gears smoothly, whether you have an automatic or manual transmission. If it’s making any audible noises while in the neutral gear, you need to have it serviced as soon as possible.
With an automatic transmission, the repair could be simple and cheap – like adding transmission fluid or flushing the transmission completely and starting with fresh fluid. For a vehicle with a manual transmission, you may need to drain and refill it with fresh gear oil.
If this doesn’t quiet your transmission, have it professionally serviced by an auto transmission specialist.
2. Trouble shifting gears
Transmissions should slide smoothly into gear, whether you have an automatic or manual vehicle. In an automatic, if your car shakes, shimmies or clunks into gear when shifting from park to drive, your transmission likely needs service.
If your manual shift is grinding into gear or revs up when shifting from one gear to the next, something is probably wrong. It’s possible that the clutch needs to be serviced or replaced, so it’s best to get that checked out before something more serious goes wrong.
Another obvious sign that something is wrong with your transmission is if the engine revs when you shift gears, but the vehicle doesn’t move.
3. Stalling when stopping or sitting idle
Stalling could indicate that your transmission is low on fluid or leaking fluid from the lines. You should get the transmission fluid lines looked at as soon as possible. This will be a lesser expense than repairing or replacing the entire transmission.
4. Cloudy transmission fluid with a burnt odor
If your transmission fluid isn’t the normal red color and it smells as if it’s been burning, there is definitely a problem. It could mean the gears are overheating from excessive friction, and it’s a possible indication that the transmission is going bad.
5. Leaking transmission fluid
If you start seeing red fluid under your vehicle after it’s been sitting, you probably have a leak in the lines. Low fluid levels can also signal a leak. This may be a sign that the transmission is going bad, but it could also mean that the lines just need to be replaced. Either way, don’t neglect these subtle indications.
6. Check engine light
Most vehicle owners simply ignore the frustrating “Check Engine” light after they’ve owned a car for a few years. But today’s newer vehicles have computer sensors, and that indicator light may be alerting you to a problem in the transmission before you even start having trouble with it.
Since transmission rebuilds, repairs or replacements can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to remedy, you don’t want to ignore the indicator light. It’s better to pay to have the transmission inspected for any trouble while the fix may still be cheap rather than wait and run into costly repairs later on.
Bring Your Vehicle in For a Full Inspection
If you listen to your car and pay attention to what it’s telling you, you can stay on top of regular and preventative maintenance to ensure that your vehicle will always get you where you need to go. If you feel your car’s transmission may need a checkup, contact our service department for a free estimate.