Car repairs can be a pain in the neck, especially when it’s something big. No one wants to hear that they need a new brake system or that their car has a bad transmission. Transmission replacement is not a cheap and easy fix. If you need a new transmission, it can end up costing a lot of money and if you don’t recognize the warning signs, you may not be prepared to pay that. Here are some things to look out for that will tell you if you are going to need to start saving for a new transmission:
A failing transmission will make your car seem to hesitate before going into gear. On a normally functioning vehicle, when you shift from park to drive, the car should start moving almost immediately. If you drive an automatic transmission then pay attention if it takes a second for the gear to engage when going from park to drive. If you drive a manual transmission vehicle then the tell tale sign of a bad transmission is when you switch into gear, the revs per minute will shoot up but the car won’t be going nearly as fast as the engine is revving up.
Cars tend to whine about it when they need a new transmission. Each care will make a different noise but it’ll be concerning once you notice it because you won’t have heard it before. An automatic transmission will make a sort of humming or buzzing sound while a manual transmission may sound louder and mechanical, more of a clunking as well as a whining sound coming from the underneath of your car when you change gears.
A leak is probably the easiest one to notice because when you move your car, you’ll notice spots on the ground where you were. While a leak is a good sign that you need a new transmission soon, if the leak is because of something else and you don’t take care of it, it could actually lead to needing a new transmission even if you didn’t in the beginning. Especially if the leak is coming from the automatic transmission fluid, you’ll need to have that fixed as soon as possible. This fluid keeps the transmission clean and lubricated. If it gets to low the engine could seize up and die completely. The transmission fluid is fairly recognizable because of its bright red color and sweet kind of smell. It should regularly be flushed or changed.
Your car should not shake or grind while you are driving. It should be a smooth ride if everything is functioning properly. If you hear grinding sounds, this indicates that your gears have an issue. On an automatic car, you will probably feel the car shake every time it tries to change gears and the shaking will just get worse as the problem worsens. Manual transmissions will grind when you shift gears.
If you ever smell burning while you are driving and it is coming from your car, this is never a good sign. One of the main causes of a burning smell is that the transmission fluid has overheated. If this fluid breaks down the whole system will run very hot and cause friction and corrosion as well as debris and sludge build up. Eventually, if not taken care of, the transmission itself will entirely break down. Low fluid can cause this but also not using the right brand or fluid type can also be a problem.
- Check Engine Light
If your check engine light comes on this a good indicator that there is a problem. Don’t automatically assume it is the transmission because the check engine light could account for many different issues but it should not be ignored. Most car repair shops will run a free diagnostic test to find out why the light is on. The transmission has sensors that will trigger the light if there is something out of the ordinary happening.
Regular maintenance can help to keep you informed about the condition of your car. You should be getting oil changes about once a month so a good rule of thumb is to have an all over check every time you get an oil change.