Keep an eye on your vehicle’s automatic transmission!
People tend to be intimidated by their vehicle’s transmission system. It is often the punch line of jokes in regards to how expensive and complex of a system it is to repair. Even though we don’t want to think about the possibility of our vehicle breaking down, we do need to be mindful of the signals it gives us. To this end, we have compiled this list of signs that may indicate a problem with your automatic transmission. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call a professional for further discussion and evaluation.
If your vehicle seems to shift into a lower gear or into neutral gear at random points, won’t upshift when needed, or your engine gives off a strange sound or burning smell this could be what is known as “slipping”. This can be an indication of trouble with your transmission fluid, bands, or clutch. Routine checks and maintenance can prevent slipping from occurring.
This problem occurs when a driver starts their vehicle and shifts from park to drive and a long pause is noticed before the engine kicks in, moving the vehicle forward. It can be most noticeable during the first drive of the day. This can be caused by low fluids, worn or hardened internal seals, or clogged filters. If you are uncomfortable checking these items yourself, now’s the time to contact a professional.
When moving between gears, this symptom is recognized as a noticeable “thud” sound. The shifting itself may also not feel very smooth, almost feeling like the car is refusing to shift at all. This can also be indicated by a vehicle having difficulty accelerating.
Transmission systems are closed by nature, meaning that your transmission fluid should not decrease with use like your motor oil or antifreeze. That doesn’t mean that leaks cannot occur, however. If you notice bright red or dark reddish-brown spots on your driveway or garage, that could indicate that your vehicle is losing transmission fluid.
Costs for repairing a transmission range all across the board, so preventative maintenance and catching issues early on is vital. If you notice these symptoms in conjunction with your check engine light, contact a transmission specialist to have your vehicle inspected more closely.