Your vehicle’s transmission directs the power created by your engine to rotate your wheels. There are many intricate parts that all work together to keep your transmission functional and if one goes bad, the whole system is affected. If your transmission seems to be acting up, it is important to get it checked immediately before you are left stranded on the side of the road. Here are a few signs you should look for that indicate your transmission may be on the decline.
Both automatic and manual transmissions have a clutch system with gears that can wear down over time. This can cause the gears to slip when changing from one gear to another. Low fluid pressure from low fluid, clogged filters or a bad pump can also cause your transmission to slip. Eventually, these issues can worsen and prevent your transmission from engaging.
Strange Smells or Leaking
When a vehicle begins to reach higher mileage, the transmission fluid can either leak or start burning inside the transmission. This clear red or brown fluid is designed to keep your gears spinning smoothly. If you see any transmission fluid leaking under your car or smell anything strange coming from underneath your car, make sure to service it. Dark thick fluid or a sweet burning smell indicate burning and you should change your fluid immediately. If transmission fluid issues are not addressed, it can lead to a blown transmission.
Checking for a warning light may seem obvious but you should make sure to act on it right away. Any illuminated check engine lights may indicate that your transmission fluid is running low or burning out, which causes the temperature in the transmission to rise to an extreme level. This results in the transmission seizing, affecting the handling of your vehicle. You may notice vibrations, slippage or different shift pattens while driving.
Sound and Feel
There are specific sounds unique to both an automatic and manual transmission. With an automatic, you will hear a humming, whining or buzzing sound and the gears may seem to wobble into place. A manual transmission problem sounds and feels more like grinding into each gear. If you feel a jerk or a shake every time your vehicle shifts, it is time to inspect your transmission.