No one wants to hear those dreaded words, “You need a transmission repair.” Luckily, there are signs to look out for that can help cushion the blow by giving you warning. Every car’s transmission is complex and essential to keep your car functional. Without the transmission, you aren’t going anywhere. So – what signs may signal it’s time to schedule a transmission service?
Your Transmission is Slipping
Pay attention while you’re driving. When you’re cruising down the road, does your engine suddenly rev, jerk, or stutter? This can indicate you need to have a mechanic take a look at your transmission. It can be easy to pass this off as “no big deal,” especially if it’s presenting as a more minor symptom. But you want to avoid putting off a service appointment whenever you notice changes in how your car drives, especially with issues like this.
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It’s Hard to Shift Gears
Has it become difficult for your car to shift into reverse? Whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, shifting into reverse is the most difficult. If your manual transmission has trouble shifting gears, it could signal a clutch or transmission repair. With automatic transmissions, you’ll have to pay attention to when you shift between drive and reverse. Because your transmission essentially has to reverse the direction of force, any car having difficulty shifting into that gear can take it as an early sign of transmission trouble.
You Notice Delays with Changing Gears
Similar to having difficulty shifting gears, you may notice a delay between changing gears and the new gear taking effect. Imagine a sudden lag in power when your automatic transmission should be shifting up in gears. Or if you have a manual transmission, imagine shifting up to third gear, cruising down the road, and suddenly there’s no power behind your acceleration anymore. This is a sign you may need to schedule a transmission service soon to prevent transmission failure.
There’s a Burning Smell While Driving
No one wants bad smells while driving. If you notice a burning smell, pay attention to timing. A burning smell while braking can signal a problem with your brake system. However, if you notice the burning smell while driving, not while applying the brakes, it could be your transmission. Over time, your transmission fluid accumulates dirt and debris that can thicken the fluid, even causing your transmission to overheat due to lack of lubrication. If left alone, the friction from metal parts can cause a burning smell while the engine is running.
You Hear Grinding when Changing Gears
Any time you hear grinding coming from your car, it’s a sign to pay attention. If this grinding sound happens when you’re changing gears, it likely means your car’s transmission or clutch needs attention because metal parts lack lubrication and are rubbing together, causing damage to the parts. If left for too long, it can mean major transmission repairs that are both time-consuming and expensive.
There’s Transmission Fluid Leaking
Take a look under your car or pay attention whenever you pull away from your parking space. Are there spots under the car where fluid has been leaking? The most common cause if you do see spots under your car is engine oil. However, depending on the color of the fluid and where it’s coming from, it could also be transmission fluid. Like your engine, the transmission is a closed system, so any fluid under your car means there’s a leak that can cause significant damage. You may be able to check your transmission fluid level at home but it’s best to have a mechanic take a look to accurately diagnose and repair the problem.
Your Check Engine Light Comes On
This one’s easy. Everyone knows that anytime the Check Engine light comes on, it’s a signal your car needs attention from a mechanic. This light could signal a variety of necessary repairs or car maintenance, but one possibility is a problem with your transmission. If you notice any of the above problems in addition to your Check Engine light, don’t wait to schedule an appointment.
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