Auto repair for transmission problems can seem intimidating, especially if you are unfamiliar with the inner workings of your vehicle’s transmission. Sometimes the most difficult part of auto repair is determining what is causing the problem. One symptom could mean a variety of problems on its own, but if you are noticing multiple issues then they may all be related. Focusing on the problems and their relation can help you more easily determine what the root cause of the issue is and help you with your auto repair.
Diagnosing Problems for Auto Repair
Many vehicle problems will reveal themselves with distinct smells or sounds or vibrations that can help you recognize when something is not working as it should. The moment that you notice something with your vehicle seems to be “off” or different than it has been in the past you will want to find out what is causing the issue and do the proper auto repair before the situation becomes worse. With vehicles and their complex machinery, it is always better to fix the problem sooner than later.
Diagnosing vehicle problems for auto repair may seem daunting, especially if you don’t have much experience in this field. However, thinking of your vehicle as being alive and having its own organ systems like your body may be able to help you develop a better understanding of the various components and problems that could lead to needing auto repair.
The most important thing to remember is that time is of the essence for auto repair. If you notice a new noise, smell, or vibration that you didn’t notice before you will want to investigate as soon as you can. If there is a problem with one system of your car it could quickly result in problems with other systems as well. This can lead to a much more difficult and costly auto repair than if you had addressed the problem right away.
Your vehicle’s transmission is a very complex mechanical system that controls the power from engine to driveshaft in your vehicle. Due to the number of components and the friction and heat caused by their numerous moving parts and interactions, the transmission in your vehicle tends to experience more wear and tear over a shorter period of time than the other systems in your vehicle. If you do not take care of your vehicle’s transmission and perform regular auto repairs as needed then major issues will arise. If you do notice an issue but don’t address it immediately or take it to your mechanic for auto repair then the issue can become much worse very quickly.
Auto repairs to your vehicle’s transmission can be difficult, stressful and expensive. By maintaining proper care of you vehicle and your transmission you can avoid these costly auto repairs or at the very least, keep them to a minimum.
To protect your vehicle and your wallet, it is important to follow the recommended maintenance procedure schedule that is intended to prevent problems from arising as well as help your transmission perform at its best. Following this schedule will help your transmission last longer and require fewer auto repairs over the years.
These common transmission problems will help you easily diagnose your vehicle and get the proper auto repairs done before they become an even bigger issue.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Lack of Response
If you are driving down the road and you notice that your car hesitates or will not switch gears then you have a problem. As soon as you shift gears, the car should immediately go into the selected gear. If your vehicle has an automatic transmission and you notice a delay when you shift from park to drive or vice versa, this typically indicates that you have a transmission-based issue. This can also occur with a manual transmission, however with a manual transmission you may notice that the engine’s RPMs will surge. This may point to a problem with your clutch, but can also indicate a problem with the transmission. Taking your vehicle in for auto repairs can keep this issue from becoming worse.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Whining, Clucking or Humming
There are a number of sounds that are typically associated with transmission issues. These sounds can vary from vehicle to vehicle. The most important thing is not the sound itself, but the fact that it’s a new noise. If you start hearing a new noise that you haven’t heard before it probably means that there is a problem with some part of your vehicle that may require auto repair.
Manual transmissions tend to emit a sound that is described as being mechanical, sudden and loud. This could mean a clunking noise from under your car. Regardless of the nature of the noise or the location or sound itself, if it something you don’t typically hear when driving your vehicle you will want to take your car to your mechanic for possible auto repairs.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Leaking Fluid or Low Fluid
A leak is a good indication that something is wrong with your vehicle and it should be taken in for auto repairs right away. Allowing the leak to continue is one of the most common causes of a transmission breaking down. Automatic transmission fluid is essential to your vehicle’s transmission. ATF keeps your transmission lubricated while cleaning and conditioning the seals and acting as a hydraulic fluid. If your transmission does not have enough of this fluid then it can cause your engine to seize up and stop working. ATF is bright red and smells sweet if everything is working properly.
An ATF fluid leak could mean you simply have a hole that needs to be fixed. However if the ATF is dark or has a burnt smell then you will need to get your ATF changed and possibly flushed. This could also indicate that additional repairs need to be made.
To check your ATF level for a vehicle with an automatic transmission you will want to drive your vehicle a short time to warm it up, and then check the dipstick on level ground. To check the fluid level for a manual transmission you will want to check at the transmission case. Remember that transmission fluid is not burned off or consumed by the car like motor oil is. If the level is low then this most likely indicates that there is a leak that needs to be patched. You will want to top off the fluid to make sure that there is enough in the system to prevent it from breaking down until you are able to get the auto repair completed.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Grinding or Shaking
A vehicle should run smoothly. If you start to notice any shaking, jerking or grinding then it can indicate that there is a problem. If you have a manual transmission and notice a grinding noise or feeling when switching gears this could point to a problem with your clutch or damaged gears.
Automatic transmissions will sometimes feel like they have to work into gear instead of having the typical smooth transition. If the transition becomes more and more jarring and involves more shaking this indicates that the issue is getting worse. You will want to seek auto repair as soon as possible to avoid having a bigger and more costly issue.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Burning Smell
Any time you notice a burning smell coming from your vehicle you should be concerned. One of the causes for a burning smell is from overheating transmission fluid. If the fluid is overheated and breaks down then it will run too hot. This results in increased corrosive activity, friction, and a build of up sludge and debris. If you do not seek auto repair quickly then your transmission will eventually break down completely. The cost to replace a transmission is very expensive so you will want to address this issue right away.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Check Engine Light
The check engine light on the dashboard of your vehicle can be a great indicator that something is about to, or already has gone wrong with your vehicle. This helpful warning sign can indicate a number of issues, including problems with you transmission. This light can be an early warning system for minor auto repairs before they develop into bigger problems.
The sensors that cause your check engine light to turn on are placed in many different areas of your vehicle’s engine. They can pick up jerks and vibrations that you may not yet be able to feel or sense. When this light is engaged you will want to take your vehicle in to have it inspected. Diagnostic tools will allow your mechanic to tell you what is happening and what triggered the light. You can also purchase a diagnostic scan tool to use for yourself. It is important that you do not ignore this light as it can save you a lot of auto repair time and money.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Excessive Noise in Neutral
If your transmission makes unusual noises outside of the normal noises when your vehicle is in neutral then this could indicate a problem. The solution could mean adding some transmission fluid or changing it if it needs to be replaced. However, if that does not correct the issue then it may mean that there are parts of your transmission that may be worn out and need to be replaced or taken in for auto repair. Typically a thud type of noise beams that the bearings or gear teeth may have an issue.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Slipping Gears
Your vehicle’s transmission should stay in the designated gear until shifted into another gear by either you or your automatic transmission. If your transmission is randomly slipping in and out of gear while driving then this indicates a very big problem. You will want to get your vehicle inspected and in for auto repair as soon as possible because this is a very dangerous safety risk. If your gears are slipping then this places you into a very dangerous situation while driving.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Refuses to Go Into Gear
If your vehicle is refusing to shift into gear after you engage the clutch and try shifting then you may want to take a look at your vehicle’s transmission fluid levels to make sure that there is an appropriate amount of transmission fluid. You will also want to be sure that you are using the correct type of transmission fluid. The problem could also be due to the clutch linage or shift cables if they need adjustment. Your vehicle’s computer may also need to be restarted. You can do this by detaching the battery and allowing your vehicle to stand for thirty minutes. After that time, reattach the battery and allow the system to reset. The reset will typically take another thirty minutes. If this does not solve the issue then you will want to take your vehicle into your mechanic for auto repairs.
Auto Repair Diagnosis – Dragging Clutch
If the clutch for your manual transmission is failing to disengage when the clutch pedal is pressed then this can make it impossible to change gears. This problem is typically accompanied by a grinding noise each time you attempt to shift into another gear. You will want to get your vehicle in for auto repairs as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or problems.
Caring for Your Vehicle to Limit Auto Repairs
It is very important that you always follow your vehicle’s and your mechanic’s recommended maintenance schedule. This will ensure that you have fewer issues and will require fewer auto repairs. Also, getting minor auto repairs done as soon as you notice a problem can help prevent minor issues from developing into bigger and more costly problems. Often times you can avoid expensive repairs just by keeping up with scheduled maintenance.
If you have any questions or concerns about transmission auto repairs, please call us at Lorentz Automotive.