8 Early Signs of Transmission Problems, causes, and fixes.

A Driver’s Guide to Early Warning Signs to Transmission Problems.

  So I’ve seen plenty of vehicles with transmission problems. Often, the owners are unaware of the problem until it becomes severe. In this article, I  will be sharing with you some early signs of transmission problems you should look out for which could mean problems for your vehicle. When you identify these signs early, you can avoid damaging your car transmission which could result in hefty repair costs, and instead extend your vehicle’s transmission life. So, we’ll cover the common early symptoms, explore the potential causes, and offer solutions to ensure your transmission does not get damaged. So let’s get right to 8 Early Symptoms of Transmission Problems to look out for.

8 Early Signs of Transmission Problems, causes, and fixes.

1. Transmission Fluid Leaks

One of the first things I always recommend looking out for as an early sign of a transmission problem is a fluid leak. If you find a bright red or sweet-smelling fluid under your car, that’s your transmission fluid. When the transmission fluid is leaking, you will be left with no transmission fluid to lubricate and cool the internal parts of your transmission in no time, and this could damage your transmission. So Let’s say you spot a small puddle of the transmission fluid in your driveway. Your immediate action should be to identify the source of the leak, usually, this could be due to a loose pan bolt or a damaged seal. You need to have it fixed promptly by either replacing or tighten the mean cause. Ignoring transmission fluid leaks as an early sign can lead to serious damage to your transmission due to a much quicker low and no fluid level, causing your transmission to overheat or internal parts to wear out faster.

2. Unusual Noises

If you notice a humming, buzzing, or whining sound when your car is in neutral, these sounds can be an indication or symptom of a transmission problem, especially for manual transmissions. Let’s say, for example, you’re in traffic sitting it out, at a red light, and you out of the blue hear a whining sound from under your car. These noises and sounds usually will mean that your transmission fluid is 1, dirty, or 2, low. And best action to take here is to check the fluid level and condition. If you notice that the fluid is dirty or smells burnt, then know that it’s time for a transmission fluid change. You have to take your car for maintenance for transmission fluid change or you can do it yourself. Here is an article or Vedic below on how to change your transmission fluid. This simple maintenance can prevent bigger issues like bearing or gear wear that will cost you a fortune to get fixed.

3. Problems with Shifting Gears

When you experience difficulty in shifting gears,  this is an Early Sign of Transmission Problems, whether you’re driving an automatic or you are driving a manual. When you find that your car hesitates whenever you try to put it in gear, or if your shifting feels rough, it’s a signal that you need to act. This is mostly caused due to a miscommunication in your vehicle’s computer system or a blockage in the transmission’s hydraulic system.  Also, a worn clutch (in manual transmissions) can also cause difficulty shifting.  So what you should do in the instance, where you try to accelerate on a highway on-ramp, but your car struggles to shift into a higher gear. Well, resetting the transmission module or cleaning the valve body often solves the problem, and for a manual car, a clutch change.

4. Slipping Gears

If your transmission slips in and out of gear while driving, this poses a significant safety risk and a sign of a transmission problem. Imagine you’re passing another vehicle, and your car unexpectedly slips out of gearwhich suggests severe transmission wear. Not only is this dangerous, but it can lead to fatal accidents. The usual common cause here is internal wear of the car clutches or bands. And on other occasions, an extremely low transmission fluid level can also cause slipping issues in your vehicle. Fixing and repairing this problem will involve replacing the worn parts to restore proper gear engagement which is either clutches or bands replacement. Or adding more transmission fluid to the appropriate level will help solve these specific Symptoms of Transmission Problems.

5. Delayed Engagement

A noticeable delay between shifting gears and the vehicle’s response time is another red flag and a sign of a transmission issue. So say you shift from “park” to “drive” and there’s a delay before the car moves, accompanied by a revving engine. This often indicates a problem with the transmission pump or a blocked filter, which affects the transmission fluid pressure. Changing the transmission filter and fluid usually resolves this issue, improving response time and preventing further damage. Also, it is vital to know that sometimes, a failing torque converter can also cause delayed engagement, so it’s your job to identify which one is the main cause of the problem.

6. Transmission Warning Light

And yes, when the transmission warning light comes on on your dashboard, of course, it means a problem with your transmission. This is the most obvious one because the transmission dashboard warning light just simply tells you that the transmission is the problem. However, before this light comes up, the problem is not in most cases, at its early stage, and in other cases; it is. 

And a transmission dashboard warning light, in most instances usually is due to overheating or electrical issues. This signals that the transmission is overheating, or, is having an electrical issue.  A malfunctioning solenoid can also be a trigger for a transmission warning light and that is because, in automatic transmissions, solenoids control gear changes by regulating fluid flow. When a solenoid malfunctions, it disrupts smooth shifting. The transmission control module (TCM) detects this abnormality and triggers the dashboard warning light to signal a potential transmission problem

Your course of action should be to pull over and let your transmission cool down as a temporary fix, and then when you have time, check your fluid level and the quality. And if those are not the case or the cause of the problems then, it is an electrical issue, please take a vehicle to an experienced mechanic. Also sometimes, installing an external cooler can solve overheating issues permanently.

7. Burning Smell

A burning smell from your car is an early warning sign of transmission issues. Overheated transmission fluid,is responsible for this smell and can cause significant damage to your transmission. when driving, if you perceive a burning odor during a long drive, it’s essential to stop and check it out. Changing the transmission fluid can prevent and stop the small while preventing further damage and restoring your transmission to health.

8. Erratic Shifting

If your vehicle shifts erratically or doesn’t respond when you try to shift gears, it can be disconcerting. This could be due to a failing sensor or a problem with the transmission control module. Often, replacing the faulty sensor or reprogramming the transmission control module can fix this issue. And there you have it on the early signs and symptoms of transmission problems slash issues?

Recognizing these early signs of transmission problems can save you money and from a lot of headaches down the road. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to take your car to a mechanic for each applicable solution. 

Related: How to Change Your Transmission Fluid in Automatic Transmission Cars

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