Common Warning Signs of a Failing Transmission

The transmission in your car is one of the most important and complicated components in the entire vehicle. The sophisticated hydraulics and computer controlled electronic portions work together to change gears within the engine. The engine transfers power to the wheels in order to move your car. While this kind of repair can be costly, routine service and fluid changes can help maintain your manual or automatic transmission. This is why it’s important to pay attention to any warning signs your transmission is trying to give you. Check out the most common signs below:

Car Maintenance

Leaking Fluid

Have you looked at your driveway or parking spot lately? It’s easy to forget to check as you pull in or pull out but this can be the easiest way to detect a leaky transmission. Let your car sit for the night and then check under your spot. If you see some discoloration or a puddle you may want to bring your vehicle to your local shop or check your fluids. Fluid leaks can lead to big and expensive car problems quickly. Transmission fluid is essential to car’s shifting capabilities. Without the correct amount, you are putting extra ware and tear on your transmission which can diminish it’s lifespan significantly. How do you know if your transmission fluid? Transmission fluid is a bright red fluid and should be easy to spot.

Strange Smells

As we’ve described above, Transmission fluid is super important as it is responsible for keeping the transmission parts lubricated and temperature regulated. While you can always check for a leak, transmission fluid has a unique odor that you can also identify it by. This fluid has a slightly sweet or tart odor and often attracts animals. If you start to notice a burning odor, this is the time to schedule (quickly) your next fluid change.

Warning Light Activity

Most cars nowadays have sensors that will pick up irregularities and trigger your car’s computer system to let it know there is an issue. In terms of your transmission specifically, sometimes sensors can pick up problems that you aren’t able to see or smell. One in particular is your transmission temperature which will tell you if your the fluid is burning hotter than it should. If this light engages, check the fluid level and engine coolant* level right away.
*Note: never check coolant if your car’s engine is warm/hot.

Dipstick Inspection

An easy way to check your car’s transmission fluid is to check the dipstick. If your unsure where it is, the best resource is to check your owner’s manual. With your car in neutral or park, let your engine run until it is warm before pulling the dipstick out (do not turn your engine off). To check the fluid color, first rub between your index finger and thumb- the fluid should be pinkish and almost clear. A brownish or burnt smelling fluid means it can no longer dissipate the heat the transmission generates and needs to be changed.

Movement Delay

Lack of response or a delay in movement could mean issues. Since your car is designed to go into the correct gear every time, a hesitation is a definite sign something isn’t right. This can be jolting with every change in gear or having your engine rev up unusual before allowing you to change. This is a serious safety concern because you may not be able to shift gears up or down. It can also become a costly repair if it isn’t fixed sooner than later.

Your transmission is a vital piece of your engine and needs to be checked and maintenance like other aspects of your car, especially if you are showing any of the warning signs above. Not sure what’s wrong or what to do? Bring your car in today so that we can help you keep your car in tip-top shape.

Written by Spiteri's Auto Service

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