Nothing is more heartbreaking than hearing the news that your transmission has died. Your initial thoughts might be “I have no reliable vehicle” or “this is going to cost me a lot of money.” If you don’t have a mechanic, it may seem like an impossible task to figure out what went wrong with your car.
Think of your vehicle like the human body. For example, if our stomach begins to feel upset, we usually start to think of the last thing we ate. This is similar to diagnosing cars. When your car seems to be doing something unusual, you need to diagnose the problem and find a way to fix it.
The transmission controls the application of power from the engine to the driveshaft. It experiences more wear and tear than any other part of the vehicle because of the heat and friction from its many moving parts. If you believe something is wrong with your transmission, don’t wait to contact a mechanic! Transmission repairs and replacements can be inconvenient, stressful, and pretty expensive. The sooner you see a professional, the better off you’ll be.
When determining if something is wrong with your vehicle’s transmission, take note if your car is experiencing any of these common transmission problems:
Low Fluid or Fluid Leaks
If your transmission is leaking, this a sign your transmission needs attention ASAP. The transmission fluid lubricates, cleans, and conditions the seals and acts as hydraulic fluid. If you neglect it, it can cause irreparable damage to your transmission from continuous leaking. The engine could seize up and stop working completely. To identify if your leak is from the transmission fluid, it will look red, clear, and smell a little sweet. If it is dark or smells burnt, your mechanic will need to drain it and replace it with new fluid.
To check your fluid levels, take your car for a quick drive around the block to warm up the engine. Then, park your car at level ground. Lift the hood and read the dipstick. If you notice the fluid level is low, you probably have a leak somewhere because transmission fluid does not burn off.
Grinding or Shaking
Your car is designed to run smoothly. Once it starts to shake or grind, you know there’s something wrong. If you drive a manual transmission, it could be a problem with the gears. For automatic transmissions, the problem is a little different. Usually, you won’t hear a grind, but you will feel the car shake when it switches gears. Then, it might return to a smooth ride. The problems could worsen over time, so you should have it inspected and serviced at your earliest convenience.
Check Engine Light
When the check engine light turns on, there could be a number of different problems other than the transmission. However, you shouldn’t ignore it. There are sensors throughout the car that will alert the computer if it notices something is wrong or is going to go wrong soon. These sensors can even pick up the slightest vibrations that you can’t feel.
The best option is to take your car to be inspected. You can also diagnose the problem yourself by purchasing a diagnostic scan tool. You will plug it into the instrument panel near the driver’s seat, and a code will pop up with the part that needs attention.
Smell of Burning
If you smell burning, take your car to get checked IMMEDIATELY. Burning fluid is usually due to low fluid levels or using the wrong fluid. The smell of burning is coming from transmission fuel that is being overheated. When the fluid breaks down and becomes dirty, the system runs too hot. The friction and corrosive activity will increase, along with a build-up of sludge and debris. If you continue to keep driving your car, you might end up with a bad transmission and will need to replace it.
Clunking, Humming, or Whining
Sometimes our cars will make noises that we know we have never heard before. Depending on different makes and models, the noise will sound different – so there’s no way to describe the noise exactly. If you drive a manual, you will probably hear a slightly more mechanical noise that sounds loud and abrupt. Usually, a clunking sound when you shift gears means transmission problems.
The problem might be the torque converter or planetary gears (the “hard parts”). Torque converters can be replaced, but if the planetary gears are damaged, you will need a new transmission. It’s best to take your car in when you hear the noises. You will be saving yourself more money by taking it in rather than by waiting.
Contact Transmission San Antonio
If you’re in San Antonio, contact Sergeant Clutch Discount Transmission Shop. We specialize in car and truck transmission repairs for automatic, standard, and manual Transmissions. Sergeant Clutch will perform a FREE transmission performance diagnostic check! Just print out this coupon. Call 210-239-1600 for more information.