Your transmission has a big task to perform. It is a fundamental, critical component which converts the engine’s combustion into momentum. Consider this: if your car had a heart it would be the transmission. It is, without a doubt, the powerhouse of your vehicle. Since a majority of car owners will not experience any issues with a transmission, it can be difficult to identify the warning signs that something may not be working properly. Fortunately, there are some universally recognized problems that point to your transmission being the culprit.
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Keep these signs in mind…
The good news is that transmission failure rarely happens without warning. There are quite a few ways to determine if something concerning is taking place under the hood.
Your check engine light is on.
Contrary to popular belief, the check engine light should not always be on. This light may be easily triggered but it is the most efficient way your car can communicate that something different is happening somewhere in your car. The point is not to annoy you, but to allow you ample time to address a potentially small problem before it becomes a fiasco.
If you are seeing a check engine light that is flashing, it is important to get to your mechanic right away. This flashing or blinking indicates there is a significant issue occurring and your car needs immediate attention. We aren’t suggesting you panic, but you should CALL US now!
Abnormal or inconsistent shifting.
Have you ever found yourself cruising along at one speed, but when you go to accelerate it feels like your car hiccupped? Any change in the shifting performance, like a jerk or chug, is an indication that something is happening with the transmission. If your vehicle is jumping gears, slipping in or out of gear, or refusing to shift entirely, your transmission has likely already failed.
Unusual sounds, vibrations, and changes in performance.
Every driver should have a general “feel” for the way their car handles on city roads, highways, country roads, etc. When you drive a vehicle consistently, it becomes an extension of you – you will notice when something is different. This includes any new sounds, like grinding, whining, or humming, or significant, sudden changes in performance. Transmission repairs can seem intimidating, but if you suspect this is a problem, you don’t need to tackle it alone.
Check the transmission fluid and look for leaks.
Checking the transmission fluid is as easy as checking oil levels. Refer to your vehicle’s user manual for the exact location, but next to your engine you’ll find a transmission fluid reservoir. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, return the dipstick, and remove it again before assessing the fluid. Be sure to confirm:
- The transmission fluid is at the proper level. Too much fluid can be as detrimental as having too little.
- The fluid is a healthy color. New fluid is red, brown indicates it should be replaced, and black means it is burned and ineffective.
- There is no fluid accumulation on the ground beneath your car. If you’re starting to see a spot on the ground where you park, you should schedule an appointment today.
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