Person Having Car Transmission Problems
Automobile Maintenance

The Warning Signs of a Bad Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission is a critical component for safe operation. Many vehicle owners start to panic when the transmission starts to go. This feeling of dread comes for good reason.

Replacing a failed transmission is one of the most expensive vehicle repairs. For a manual transmission, a replacement could cost up to $3000. Automatic transmissions typically result in repair bills ranging from $2000 to $4000.

The most effective way to limit repair costs is by recognizing failure symptoms early. Read on to learn how to spot a bad transmission. Explore the various warning signs so your transmission can be treated before it gets worse.

Transmission Slipping

The most notorious warning sign is when the transmission slips. This often happens while traveling on the highway.

You are cruising at a moderate to high speed and the vehicle suddenly slips into a lower gear. The transmission slipping may be accompanied by unusual sounds from the engine. These engine noises may sound like whining or a change in pitch.

Leaking Transmission Fluid

Leaks are never a good sign for vehicle owners. However, not all leaks are created equal.

A transmission leak is problematic because this component is not the easiest to access. You should take swift action to get the leak sealed before it leads to more serious transmission issues.

If you see red fluid under your car, take it in for diagnosis and repair. You can also identify a leak if there is a strange odor underneath the vehicle.

Rough Shifts

Your transmission does not need to slip for an indication that trouble is brewing. Another warning sign is when your vehicle shifts roughly from one gear to the next.

When you hit the accelerator, you may notice the vehicle does not smoothly transition into the next gear. Also, you may hear a thud or clunk when shifting gears.

Check Engine Light

Many newer vehicle models have powerful diagnostics systems to warn drivers of pending failures. For these cars, the vehicle manufacturer integrates sensors into the transmission system.

When these sensors are triggered, it sends a message to the vehicle’s central computer system. The end result is that the check engine light will turn on. If you get a check engine light, schedule an appointment with a transmission specialist immediately.

What to Do Next

In some cases, transmission repair does not make sense. If your vehicle has high mileage, a transmission replacement may cost more than the value of the car.

There are some options if this occurs to you. You may need to pursue cash for junk cars in lieu of selling. It is difficult to sell a vehicle that has a failed transmission.

A Recap of Warning Signs for a Bad Transmission

A failing transmission is one of the worst things that can happen to a vehicle owner. If you feel the transmission slip or hear strange noises when shifting gears, it is time to schedule an appointment.

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