The car's transmission is second only to its engine in creating the force needed to make a vehicle move. Transmissions harness the power created by the combustion engine and transfer it through the drivetrain to the wheels. In addition to being second only to the engine in moving the car, it is also usually second only to the engine in the cost of repairs, should it fail. This is why every driver should know the early warning signs that their car's transmission is struggling and in need of repair. If you are one of the many drivers who do not yet know the signs of transmission trouble, this short primer will give you a head start.
Smells and heat
A transmission that is struggling often begins to experience higher-than-normal operating temperatures. While this can be caused by simple problems like fluid levels falling below normal due to a leak, higher than normal operating temperatures can also be caused by friction damage when gears and other moving components have fallen out of adjustment.
Noises and vibrations
Transmissions that are working correctly shift effortlessly from gear to gear, often without the driver even knowing when it happens. Drivers who suddenly find that they are hearing noises or feeling vibrations when their car's transmission shifts up or down should never ignore these signs or put off having the transmission evaluated by a qualified transmission technician.
Some of the most commonly noted noises made by struggling transmissions include high-pitched whining, low humming, and clunking noises when shifting in and out of park, reverse, and neutral, as well as when the car is shifting as it gathers speed while being driven.
Likewise, any new vibrations that are not explained by issues with the tires or other components should also be taken as a warning that the transmission may be in need of service or repairs.
Hesitation and warning lights
Another common sign of transmission trouble is when drivers begin to notice a slight hesitation between gears, either when they are manually shifting the car into drive, reverse, or park or when the car is automatically shifting between gears while being driven. This hesitation is often a sign that the belts inside the transmission have begun to stretch or slip, causing them to lose tension as well as interfering with the speed at which the transmission can respond to requests to shift.
Newer automobiles have warning lights to alert drivers to possible transmission issues. If you are driving and note any of the symptoms above or see the transmission warning light appear on the dash, scheduling the car for immediate service with a local transmission repair shop like B G & S Transmissions is necessary to avoid the high cost and inconvenience of a total transmission failure.