Most Common Transmission Problems & How to Fix Them
The transmission of your car is a complicated mechanical system that regulates the transfer of power from the engine to the drive shaft. It suffers more wear and tear over time than any other section of the vehicle due to the heat and resistance created by its many moving and engaging parts.
Transmission repairs or replacements are troublesome, frustrating, and normally very costly, so it’s a safe idea to pay attention to every occurrence that appears odd. Strict adherence to the necessary maintenance practices and plan designed to avoid complications would make your transmission run longer, work smoother, and entail fewer repairs throughout its lifetime.
1) Lack of Response or Shifting Delay: Do you ever find that when driving, the car hesitates or struggles to get in gear? If you do, there’s probably something wrong with it. The moment the driver shifts from park to park to drive the vehicle, he can switch to the right gear immediately. For automatic transmissions, you might find that there is a pause when you turn to the drive or park until you feel the gear is on. Typically this is a transmission-based problem.
Manual transmissions may have the same lack of reaction, but after switching to gear, the engine’s RPMs can spike, but the car won’t go as quickly as the engine sounds like it’s moving. This is typically triggered by a clutch that needs replacing but may sometimes point to a more serious issue.
2) Leaking/Low Fluid: A leak is perhaps the most recognizable indication and should be fixed as quickly as possible. Letting the fluid escape is one of the most frequent triggers of the failure of transmission. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is the lifeblood of the transmission by lubricating, washing, and cooling the seals and serving as a hydraulic fluid. Without it (or sometimes if it gets too low), the engine will seize and stop operating entirely.
The ATF is bright red in color, translucent, and smells a little sweet if all is functioning correctly. If this is what you see on your street, the void is what you need to repair. If the fluid is dark and/or has a burned scent, so it’s time for the fluid to be replaced or flushed and fixes will be needed.
To confirm if you’re running low on fluid, take the car for a quick drive to warm it up, and then raise the hood and read the dipstick (be sure the vehicle is on level ground). Unlike engine oil, the transmission fluid can not flame or kill a vehicle, but if the volume is poor, there is a hole anywhere that needs to be patched. It is advised to top up the fluid anyway, even though the leak already persists, to make sure that enough fluid is for the transmission to work correctly before it is repaired.
3) Burning Smell: Any burning scent that comes from your vehicle is a cause for alarm. The excessive heat of the transmission fluid is one of the sources of a burning smell. Transmission fluid helps maintain the components lubricated and cooled so they don’t get worn out and harmed.
If the fluid breaks down, the device operates too hot, resulting in increased friction and corrosive behavior and also the build-up of excess sludge and debris. If it is not taken care of, the transmission may inevitably do enough harm to itself to break down entirely. The end product is a pricey substitution. Popular factors involve a low fluid level or improper usage of the brand/type of fluid.
4) Whining, Clunking, and Humming: It’s hard to tell precisely what your car is going to sound like when there’s a malfunction with your transmission, so one thing is for sure, you’re going to get an “I haven’t heard that sound before” sensation when you experience it. The noises that are created vary greatly between various makes and models, but the easiest way to explain them is to hear a buzzing, humming, or whining noise.
Manual transmissions can produce noises that can be represented as being marginally more electronic, louder, and abrupt. The clunking noises as you change gears almost often lie inside the motor, whilst the steady velocity or differential might be the cause when the clunking emerges from the bottom of the vehicle.
As already stated, it is often better to have the issue diagnosed and fixed as quickly as possible and not delay for later when you “have the money,” or have money for it. If you delay the fix for later, what might have been a comparatively cheap fix might quickly become a far more costly one.
5) Grinding or Shaking: A car is meant to drive easily and without shaking or sucking, and there’s no grinding tone. They all say that there is an issue with the gears. Manual transmissions usually show difficulties by creating a grinding noise or sensation as you turn to a gear. If the grinding continues after the clutch is activated and moved, this may be an indication that the clutch will need to be changed or modified. That said, it may also point to a variety of other problems, including broken or worn gear synchronizations.
Automatic transmissions are behaving a bit differently. Instead of creating a scraping noise, you’re apt to find that it needs some time to wiggle into gear at first instead of the usual smooth transitions. As the issue worsens, changes to the next gear get more jarring and require more shaking. There are a couple of other explanations for grinding or shaking, but the best course of action is yet to be inspected and serviced.
6) Refuses to Go Into Gear: If the vehicle doesn’t shift when you activate the clutch and attempt to move the lever, take a glance at the fluid and make sure it’s at the correct amount. Other triggers involve insufficient fluid thickness (type) and clutch connection or shift cables that need to be changed. The vehicle’s computer system may also be the cause of the problem.
If you have already tested the fluid, you should attempt to reset it. To do this, disconnect the battery and leave it to stand for thirty minutes. Then, reconnect and allow the computer to reboot itself. It normally requires about thirty minutes. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to take it to the technician.
7) Gears Slipping: The transmission continues in the specified gear until the driver (manual) or the machine is turned on (automatic). If the transmission of your vehicle slips randomly out of gear (or just pops to neutral) when you are driving; well, we don’t need to warn you that this is a significant safety risk. If you need to step on the gas to stop a risky scenario, you need control over the wheels at the end of the story. The trigger could be that the link carrying the gears is worn or split. Have the vehicle tested and fixed as soon as you can.
8) Dragging Clutch: The dragging clutch explains the symptom of manual transmission that entails the clutch disk not disengaging the flywheel when the clutch pedal is pushed. The clutch is always rotating with the motor, rendering it tough or hard to shift gears somewhere. This challenge is followed by a grinding noise any time you attempt to shift gears.
Luckily, this dilemma is significantly cheaper to address than many other problems. More frequently than not, this induces too much slackness in the pedal of the clutch. With so much slack open, the relation between the clutch disk and the pedal cannot force the clutch disk away from the flywheel.