As with any part of your car, early detection can save you money and prevent further, more serious damage to your vehicle. Learn to recognize the warning signs of transmission trouble, and visit an auto repair shop as soon as possible if you experience any of these telltale signals.
Transmission Failure: 10 Warnings Signs
- Refusal to Switch Gears
If your vehicle refuses or struggles to change gears, you’re more than likely facing a problem with your transmission system. Low transmission fluid or the wrong kind of transmission fluid is oftentimes to blame in this situation.
- Burning Smell
When you notice a burning smell coming from your car, visit an auto shop right away. This odor is often an indication that your transmission is overheating or the transmission fluid is old and burning.
- Neutral Noises
Weird noises coming from your vehicle when your car is in neutral is a sure sign of transmission trouble. At best, the noises might indicate that your car is ready for new transmission oil, or it could also mean that your car requires a costly part replacement due to mechanical wear.
- Slipping Gears
Not only is it scary and alarming if your gears impulsively slip in and out of place while your driving, this scenario is also highly dangerous while you’re on the road. If your gears slip, make sure to let your auto repair mechanic take a look.
- Dragging Clutch
A dragging clutch fails to disengage the clutch disk from the flywheel in your vehicle when you press the clutch pedal.
- Leaking Fluid
Leaking transmission fluid is one of the easiest transmission problems to identify. If you notice a red, sweet-smelling fluid underneath your car in the garage or in a parking lot, let your mechanic know they need to check the transmission fluid level.
- Check Engine Light
A lit up check engine light on your dashboard can indicate a variety of car issues – both minor and serious. But make sure a local technician takes a look in case the source of the problem is imperative.
- Grinding or Shaking
More common in a car with automatic transmission, a grinding or shaking that occurs when the gears change is often a sure indication that your transmission has a problem.
- Humming Sounds
Humming, whining, or clunking noises—none are good sounds to hear in your car. Let a local mechanic take a look.
If your car doesn't respond when you attempt to change gears—especially from park to drive—it’s most likely caused by a problem with your transmission.