Just like humans predicting a problem in the car’s body can be difficult and require thorough analysis. For example, without any warning, when your stomach starts hurting, you think about the last meal you ate to understand the cause of the pain. Similarly, when you notice something unusual in your car, you need to start diagnosing the problem, i.e., transmission issues, and finding a possible fix to the issue.
Mechanical auto problems usually produce distinct sounds and sensations that can be a warning sign for the driver that something isn’t functioning the way it was designed to. But how do you know if your transmission went out? In this article, experts from SPN America towing and roadside assistance will outline all the signs of a bad transmission and cause the transmission to go bad.
Clunking, Humming, and Whining sound
When a vehicle makes a sound, it isn’t easy to pin down the exact cause. But what’s clear is that it doesn’t sound right when you hear it and possibly is a sign of transmission failure. Each car is made differently, and thus the sounds they produce can vary. However, suppose you have an automatic transmission vehicle. In that case, you might hear a humming, whining, or slight buzzing sound when faced with a transmission problem.
In a manual transmission, the sound will be more abrupt and mechanical in sounding. Suppose you try to shift gears and hear a clunking sound; you should immediately have the transmission checked by a professional. However, the clunking sound from underneath the vehicle may not always point to a transmission issue. And the CV joints or differential might be causing the clunking sound.
Lack of Response
Transmission systems are intended to enter the correct gear every time. Still, when the system refuses or hesitates to go into the right gear, it’s a clear sign of a transmission problem.
Even after going to a higher gear, a manual transmission system problem won’t transmit the engine power to the wheels and won’t be moving as quickly as the engine is running. Here, a worn clutch may be the cause, or a more severe transmission issue might be looming.
Automatic transmissions also have the same unresponsiveness issue. Still, they will only manifest the problem while engaging the “Drive” or “Park” options. Suppose your car transmission hesitates or have difficulty going into either of these modes. In that case, it is likely an issue with the car’s transmission.
When your car’s transmission works normally, it stays in the gear you or the computer designates for a given RPM range unless you or the computer shift the gear.
However, on a slippery gear transmission, the car can spontaneously pop out of gear while driving. While in manual transmission, force the stick back into the neutral. This can be frightening and possibly dangerous. When you beat the gas pedal to avoid an unchecked vehicle, the last thing you’d want is a transmission that doesn’t get power to the wheels. There’s no need to be confused. It’s serious trouble. It would be best if you got your car examined by a professional auto mechanic.
If you can whiff of burning transmission fluid, it isn’t a good sign. The smell might indicate your transmission is overheating. The transmission fluid helps in lubricating many moving parts. It prevents the unit from burning itself by offering the required cooling.
Few vehicles also have their mini-radiator for cooling the transmission oil. The oil circulates the heat away from the transmission unit. However, suppose the fluid is leaking or dirty. In that case, it can result in low or inadequate transmission fluid in the unit that needs changing or leak fixing. Don’t panic when you sniff a burning smell from your vehicle’s transmission system, but stop driving and get it checked as soon as possible.
Leaking transmission fluid should get your attention immediately. In automatic transmission vehicles, the transmission fluid is vital for your car’s gear shifting capabilities, so a little leak on the driveway can cause real problems on the road. When in good condition, the automatic transmission fluid is bright red and clear, with a sweet aroma. Also, unlike motor oil, the transmission oil doesn’t burn up or consume during regular use. So, if you notice you’re running low on fluid, it means there’s a leak somewhere. If you check the transmission fluid, make sure it’s not murky or dark color and doesn’t give off a burnt smell. Otherwise, please take it to the nearest auto mechanic and have it replaced.
However, if you have a manual transmission, examining the fluid levels might not be as simple as lifting the hood and reading a dipstick. In manual transmission vehicles, the transmission fluid must be checked at the transmission case – generally via fill plug. Again, if you suspect your car’s transmission fluid is leaking, have a professional mechanic locate and fix the leak.
The grinding or crushing gears manifest differently for manual and automatic transmissions. This troubling sign haunting the manual transmission vehicles is known as a dragging clutch. The clutch’s problem is when the driver presses the clutch pedal, and it fails to disengage the clutch disk from the flywheel. And when the motorist tries to shift the gear, it will not allow because the clutch is still intact and spinning along with the engine. The driver is jolted out abruptly by the grinding noise that ensues with each attempt to shift a gear.
Luckily, the cause of this problem is not that severe or costly on the pocket to fix, compared to other transmission problems. Usually, a lot of slack is stuck in the clutch pedal that can be removed with good service.
Noisy in Neutral
Hearing a sound from your car might not necessarily mean trouble unless it comes when the vehicle is neutral. It seems reasonable that when you hear weird noises during gear shifting, that means the transmission is faulty. If the sounds come when the vehicle is neutral, not everyone would suspect it to be the transmission.
Though, such sounds generally have an easy and inexpensive solution. That is adding or replacing the transmission fluid. Remember, similar to the engine oil; different vehicles perform better with a specific transmission oil formulation called in the owner’s manual. However, suppose the noises persist from the transmission in neutral. In that case, it’s the sign of more severe problems like the mechanical wear of parts.
The “service engine soon” or “check engine” light on the vehicle’s dashboard can be an indicator of an ensuing problem. The engine indicator can be a sign of a transmission problem or, for that matter, any other issue in the car engine.
In modern cars, numerous sensors spread throughout the engine that picks up any irregular behavior and notifies the computer that something is wrong with a particular part. In our case, the embedded sensors can perceive the abrupt vibrations and problematic movements that the human eye might miss. To be more precise and identify transmission problems, connect a unique diagnostic scan tool that can fit into the car underneath the driver’s side. However, visiting a nearby mechanic shop and letting the experienced auto mechanic look at your vehicle are the ultimate methods to identify potential transmission problems.
Identifying a problem with your car isn’t always an easy feat. Especially if the question is, “What are symptoms of a bad transmission?” Keep in mind, if you feel or hear something peculiar that doesn’t feel right; don’t wait to see if the problem goes away. Ensure to get your car checked by a professional before any further damage occurs. It will not only save you time and money but can save you from the potentially troubling situation on the road.
If your car transmission is in trouble, call us now to order fast and affordable towing near you.