We all love to get from A to B as quickly as possible, but when was the last time you thought about how it worked? Or, more importantly, what do you need to be doing to ensure your vehicle is always in perfect health? We're going to take a look at one of the most expensive parts of any car to replace: the transmission.
What Is a Transmission?
The transmission — also referred to as the gearbox — is the connection between the engine and the driveshaft. It determines how fast you go and how quickly you can accelerate. If it breaks, you don't go anywhere at all.
Why Can't You Ignore Transmission Issues?
Replacing a transmission can only really be done by a skilled mechanic. This means that, along with potentially having to spend several thousand dollars on new parts, you'll also have to pay high labor costs to get the new transmission fitted to your car. Not such good news for those of you who want to be on the road rather than at home waiting for your vehicle to be repaired.
How Do I Know if My Transmission Is Faulty?
Good question. To make things easier for you, we've compiled a list of the six most common warning signs that you need to look out for. Let's take a look at each in a little more detail.
1) Constant Noise, Even in Neutral
If you hear a constant whining or humming sound when the engine is running, this is a warning sign that your transmission needs some attention. If you're not sure if what you're hearing is normal, shift to neutral to see if the noise goes away. If it doesn't, book your car for a service appointment as soon as possible.
2) Leaking Transmission Fluid
Your transmission needs to be lubricated for it to work, so make sure to keep an eye out for any puddles or drips coming from the underside of your car. They'll be an early warning sign that your car may need a trip to the garage.
3) Grinding or Shaking
This is a critical sign that something is drastically wrong with your transmission, particularly if it happens when you switch gears. The problem with ignoring this type of symptom is that you won't just be damaging the transmission — you could also be doing all sorts of unseen damage to the rest of the engine system.
4) Burning Smell
If your transmission is struggling to perform adequately, then it may start to overheat. No amount of topping up the fluid will cure this type of overheating. It's likely due to a more complicated issue that has to be remedied. Listen to what your vehicle is trying to tell you and get it checked out by a professional.
5) Delayed Performance
If it takes too long to accelerate, or if shifting from Park to Drive is slow, it's likely a transmission issue. The transmission governs how quickly and efficiently you can shift up or down, so make sure you get it inspected by a professional as soon as possible.
6) Slipping Gears
When a gear slips, you'll find yourself in a lower gear than you intended. This will make the engine suddenly sound harsher because it needs more revs to reach the same speed. Alternately, it may slip to a higher gear. If this happens regularly, chances are it's the transmission that needs a closer inspection.
Now that we've covered the key warning signs, we want to give you a few hints and tips that will help you extend the lifetime of your transmission.
Transmission Maintenance Tips
- If the Check Engine Light comes on, this could be a sign there's an issue with the transmission — take it to the nearest garage for a closer look
- Make sure you have your transmission serviced by a professional every 30,000 miles.
- Regularly check the cooling system for damage and speak to a mechanic about adding an external filter to take the stress off the cooler lines.
- The most common transmission issue is low fluid. Knowing how to check your transmission fluid level can save you time and money.
- Your transmission fluid should be red. If it's dark brown or black, then it's burnt and needs replacing. Ask your local garage about synthetic fluid, which is less likely to degrade and break down.
Deciding Whether to Replace or Rebuild
Replacing vs. rebuilding your transmission is a decision you may have to make. The best course of action will depend on the current state of the transmission. Make sure you ask your mechanic which option they would advise. If a simple repair gets you another 30,000 miles, then choose that. However, if a complete rebuild costs you nearly as much as a new transmission, you might want to think about swapping it out.
Now that we've told you all there is to know about the six transmission issues you cannot afford to ignore, you'll know the warning signs to look out for — just what you need when you want to avoid costly repairs and breakdowns.
Visit Our Shop!
We’re here to help you stay on the road. The best way to do that is in a properly serviced, safe car. If you think your car’s transmission may need an inspection or if you have any other concerns about your vehicle, contact us today to set up an appointment.