Transmission Problems: 6 Common Warning Signs

Transmission issues are something that nobody wants to deal with. 

The transmission is one of the most vital components of a vehicle. The transmission supplies the vital torque that the engine needs to maintain performance, and without it, the car literally won’t be able to move. 

Thankfully, the transmission won’t fail without giving off some clear warning signs of trouble first. Minor transmission repairs are generally affordable and can help prevent the need for major transmission problems that require costly overhauls. 

The good news is that when drivers know and understand the early signs of transmission problems, they have a much better chance of nipping transmission trouble in the bud before the problem becomes serious. It is important to get a vehicle into a specialist in car service in Longmont as soon as possible when these red flags are detected.

Keeping that in mind, here are six common indicators of transmission problems that all drivers should be aware of. This list is not exhaustive, but it will help drivers detect some of the most common signs of potential transmission failure before it is too late. 

1. Unusual Smells

Strange smells could indicate a number of problems, transmission issues being only one of them. Be especially wary of any burning smells coming from the area of the engine as this is a sure sign of trouble. 

A vehicle will often emit a foul odor once fluid levels start running low. If transmission fluid starts leaking, the transmission will overheat and emit an odor. Likewise, if fluid levels are too low or the transmission fluid is dirty, the transmission will end up working harder than it needs to work contributing to unnecessary wear and tear on this vital component. 

Regardless of the source, a vehicle should never be omitting unusual smells, and if it is, it might be unsafe to drive. Likewise, it is always a good idea to get all fluids checked, including the transmission fluids, during regular maintenance appointments like an oil change in Longmont CO.

2.  Clunking Sounds or Other Weird Noises

Clunking sounds in a vehicle are almost never a good thing. 

This could point to a number of issues like flat tires, issues with the wheel bearing or alignment in Longmont or starter problems. Clunking could also indicate a faulty transmission. 

At the same time, unusual hissing, grinding or high-pitched whining noises could also indicate transmission trouble down below. A driver who notices any of these issues while switching gears needs to be especially wary. An unusually noisy vehicle could also be an indicator of more serious problems, especially if it is making bumping sounds in neutral gear. 

That said, any driver who notices strange noises coming from their ride should definitely not shrug their shoulders and pass it off. Call up a local auto repair in Longmont immediately. 

3. The Check Engine Light Comes On

Yet another indicator that should never be ignored is the Check Engine Light. All too many drivers ignore this common dashboard warning light only to end up dealing with serious problems later down the line. 

True, the issue might be something as simple as needing an oil change in Longmont, but why put this off when it will help improve the performance of the vehicle in the long term? The warning light works as an early detection signal for early transmission tremors that drivers will probably not be able to detect, so it is always a good idea to get a vehicle checked out promptly when the Check Engine indicator pops up. 

Most importantly, always be sure to react right away if the check engine light turns red or starts blinking. If this is the case it is a good idea to pull safely off the road as soon as possible and call up a local car service in Longmont immediately. 

4. The Vehicle Isn’t Responding Normally

When a driver pushes on the gas pedal, the transmission will respond accordingly by sliding the vehicle into the right gear so that it can produce a surge of engine speed. If the vehicle isn’t responding as it normally would when the gas is pushed, the transmission is often to blame. 

As transmission function begins to fail, drivers will start to notice that their car doesn’t speed up as quickly or seems to hesitate before accelerating. A vehicle that is experiencing transmission issues will probably also have a difficult time maintaining speed while climbing uphill. 

Meanwhile, drivers with manual transmissions will notice delayed shifting and strange engine or rpm surges. If this is the case, don’t wait to take that vehicle to a professional to get it checked immediately. 

5. Fluid Leaks Under the Vehicle

Transmission fluid does not burn off, so if a vehicle is losing transmission fluid, a leak is always to blame. 

Thankfully, most automatic drivers will be able to notice this red flag quite easily because the fluid is literally red and will tend to appear under the vehicle wherever it is left parked. Transmission fluid also has a distinctly sweet smell that will become noticeable if there is a fluid leak.

Like the engine, the transmission has a dipstick that makes it easy to check fluid levels if a leak is suspected. Just warm up the vehicle a bit with a short drive and then make sure it is fully turned off and parked on level ground before opening the hood. 

If the oil is low, there is a leak somewhere, so take the vehicle in for car service in Longmont right away. 

6. Difficulty Shifting Gears

A transmission that is in good working order will always shift smoothly. Cars should never shake, jerk or vibrate excessively when the gears shift. If this is the case, it’s time to get that vehicle checked out pronto. 

Likewise, a vehicle should never shift from one gear to another without input from the driver.

Standard drivers will experience a dragging clutch accompanied by a telltale grinding noise. It will feel more difficult to get the car into gear than usual and they might even get totally stuck in one gear. 

The Takeaway

When drivers learn to recognize the early warning signs of trouble with the transmission, they are much less likely to have to deal with major transmission issues later down the line. 

Keep in mind that none of the above red flags should ever be ignored. Even if the transmission isn’t the problem, it is important to get a vehicle to a local specialist in auto repair in Longmont so that they can diagnose the problem and help save money in the long term.

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