The first step in solving any problem is to correctly identify its cause. The same is true for transmission problems. But how can you tell transmission problems apart from other car problems?
We have pointed out in countless other articles on this blog that transmissions are incredibly complex devices. They are made up of multiple components and any one of them can malfunction or underperform. This is true for transmissions, but it’s even doubly true of automobiles as a whole, which contain transmissions. A lot of things must go right for an internal combustion engine vehicle to go from Point A to Point B. And because a lot of things must go right, a lot of things can go wrong. But how do you know if the problem you’re experiencing is one to do with transmission, your engine, or some other part of your vehicle?
The transmission transfers power from the engine to the wheels, via the axles and drivetrain. A driver uses the gearshift to change gears in the transmission, e.g. from park to reverse, from reverse to drive, etc. These gear changes should be a smooth process. But this isn’t always the case.
You might notice that you get resistance when you shift gears. Maybe it takes too much force to do or you experience a grinding sensation as you shift. Sometimes, you get the opposite problem to resistance. Sometimes your transmission can slip out of gear all on its own. This often happens when you change gears yourself and then shortly thereafter it falls into neutral on its own. This can be scary and dangerous. If you experience grinding or slipping, you can be pretty sure you have a transmission problem. You should get it checked out immediately.
Automatic transmissions use transmission fluid for lubrication and to keep everything working smoothly. Manual transmissions use a similar substance, commonly called “transmission oil”. The only time you should see your transmission fluid is when you check its levels with your dipstick (which you should do monthly). If you’re having problems, top up your fluid and see if that helps. If you see patches of reddish fluid underneath your parked car, that is transmission fluid and you have a leak.
There are also various noises transmissions make when they are in distress, but it can be hard to differentiate these from engine noises. If you suspect you’re having transmission problems, please visit one of our many locations.