Top 16 Symptoms of Bad Transmission

Symptoms of Bad Transmission

The transmission is more likely to experience wear than any other component of your car during its lifetime.

A properly functioning transmission is just like the engine of a car. It's up to the transmission to multiply the vehicle's power to its wheels at varying gear ratios.

Early detection of transmission problems can help you avoid costly repairs and prevent further damage to your vehicle.

Unfortunately, many people don't realize they have a transmission problem until it's too late. This means that knowing how to respond to any signs of transmission failure is essential.

In this article, we will discuss the various symptoms of bad transmission!

Symptoms of Bad Transmission

The following are the warning signs of bad transmissions. They can help you identify potential problems before they get worse:

1. The "Check Engine" Light Is On

The Check Engine Light is an incredibly early warning sign that something is wrong with your vehicle's transmission. Do not ignore it, and do not assume it automatically came on.

Specific sensors inside the vehicle trigger the light on your dashboard.

These sensors can detect slight vibrations that you might not be able to detect while driving.

If the Check Engine Light continues to light up, you must immediately take your vehicle to a repair shop.

A diagnosis might indicate that a minor repair is needed, which could prevent a costly and potentially major overhaul.

The diagnostic code can also indicate that a significant repair is required. This could mean that a transmission rebuild or replacement is required.

2. Strange Sounds

Depending on the issue, different sounds may be coming from the under-hood of your vehicle.

Some of these could be caused by broken transmission pumps or transmission filters. You might hear a gentle hum or whining when the vehicle is in good condition.

If you hear strange noises, you must take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible to have it evaluated and repaired.

3. Slipping Gears

If the gears are not moving smoothly or the car doesn't stay in gear as you drive, then your transmission might be experiencing issues.

Gear shifting can sometimes be affected by external inputs in the car. Both automatic and manual transmissions have external inputs that control the movement of the gears.

The driver can shift gears in manual transmissions by depressing the clutch pedal. Drivers can also choose between drive, reverse, neutral, and park in automatic transmissions.

If you're experiencing issues with your vehicle's transmission, you must take it to a car repair facility with the necessary equipment and resources to perform proper repairs.

4. Leaking Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid helps keep the car's engine cool and working correctly. It also acts as a hydraulic fluid to engage the gears.

Some of the possible causes of transmission fluid leaks include damaged pan gaskets.

The transmission fluid is also vital to keep the engine cool and work properly. If there's a fluid leak, it could cause the transmission to overheat.

Identifying a transmission fluid leak is easy, thanks to the vibrant red color and the pleasant smell.

If you notice any liquid under the hood, then the level of transmission fluid may have dropped.

5. Burning Smell

If you perceive a burning smell coming from your car, it could indicate that your vehicle is experiencing issues with its transmission.

The degradation of the internal components or the use of harmful chemicals could cause the issue.

If you perceive a burning smell coming from your car, it could indicate that your vehicle is experiencing issues with its transmission.

The degradation of the internal components or harmful chemicals could cause the issue.

6. Lack of Response

If you notice an absolute refusal or hesitation to shift gears while driving, your vehicle's transmission may be experiencing issues.

Various factors, such as mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical issues can cause these.

There might be a delay when shifting from drive to park in an automatic transmission before the gears engage.

The limited response that vehicles receive when using manual transmission may be a mismatch between the vehicle's speed and its engine's revolutions per minute.

If this happens, the vehicle's acceleration might be lower than it should be. This issue can be referred to as transmission slipping.

7. Noisy Transmission in Neutral

If you're experiencing excessive noise while the car is in neutral gear, it could signal that your vehicle is experiencing issues with its transmission.

Sometimes, the cause of this issue might be the lack of transmission fluid. In most cases, the issue can be easily solved by replacing the wrong type of fluid.

8. Dragging Clutch

The low-engagement clutch pedal might be caused by a connection or hydraulic system issue. If there are no hydraulic leaks, a simple bleed or modification might be enough to fix this issue.

On the other hand, if the clutch pedal seems high-grabbing, it could be an adjustment issue, a clutch disc, or a pressure plate.

9. Lack of Power

If you're experiencing issues with your vehicle's power or limited power while the engine is running, it could be a result of internal transmission issues.

The issue could be caused by a faulty brake or hose or your car's computer not protecting the engine adequately. Having the vehicle's problem codes verified can help identify the issue.

10. The Car Refuses To Go Into Gear

If you cannot move your vehicle while the engine is running, it could be a sign that your car is experiencing issues with its transmission.

Some of the possible reasons why your vehicle won't shift into gear could be related to the wrong type of transmission fluid, a faulty sensor, or a blocked filter.

Other potential issues include faulty clutch connections, a faulty sensor, and a dysfunctional computer system.

11. Grinding, Jerking, or Shaking

A bad transmission can cause various issues, such as a lack of responsiveness, shifting, and shaking.

The typical response of vehicles equipped with manual transmissions is to have their gears progressively go through a series of revolutions.

However, if the gearbox of an automatic transmission fails, this issue can lead to the transmission slipping.

If your vehicle is starting to vibrate or shake whenever you shift gears, it could be a sign that your transmission is experiencing issues. The easiest way to determine the cause of the issue is to take it to a mechanic.

12. Dragging Clutch in a Manual Transmission

Most cars equipped with manual transmissions have a dragging clutch whenever there's an issue with the transmission. This issue can make it challenging to shift gears.

Sometimes, the clutch disc and flywheel won't release even when the vehicle is depressurizing the clutch pedal. This issue can also affect the movement of the manual transmission.

The loose clutch pedal can also prevent the disc from fully releasing. This issue can make it difficult for the engine to move the power to the vehicle's drivetrain.

13. Transmission Hesitation

The unnecessary delay before the next gear's engagement is usually an indicator of a faulty transmission.

If this occurs, it could signal that something is wrong with your transmission. A mechanic inspecting the system is also essential to ensure everything works properly.

When the Automatic Transmission does not Pull Properly

The damage to the torque converter could cause the vehicle not pulling correctly or taking on gas. It could also be that the clutch plates are worn out.

14. Delayed Shifting

When shifting into gear, the transmission might take a long time because of a low fluid level, which could be caused by contaminants, a leak, poor maintenance, or water infiltration during off-roading or flooding.

Even though this might not seem like a big deal, overheating can occur if it happens.

15. Emergency Mode

Modern cars use a limp or emergency mode to minimize the risk of transmission failure.

This feature works by detecting a problem and switching to a single gear to prevent it from happening. This means that you can't drive in any other gear.

16. The Automatic Transmission Only Goes Backward

If the vehicle refuses to move when you try to shift into drive, or it only moves backward, it could be due to several reasons.

A mechanical issue could cause it, or it could be that the clutch plates are worn.

How to Prevent a Bad Transmission

If your transmission has problems, there are various steps that you can take to avoid costly repairs. Even though the damage done to the transmission is permanent, you should still take precautions.

Knowing the condition of your vehicle's transmission can help you identify potential problems.

Make sure that your vehicle is regularly checked for fluid leaks. Also, avoid ignoring the check engine light or when strange noises are detected. If you notice any signs of a problem, take your vehicle to a mechanic.

Even though it may seem like a minor issue, you should never drive a car if it has a transmission problem. Failure to shift gears could cause severe problems. Owners should immediately contact a professional repair shop.