Transmission Trouble Ahead? Learn the Warning Signs

Other than your engine, the transmission is probably the most complicated, and certainly the most costly, part of your vehicle. The failure of a transmission could set you back thousands of dollars in repairs, and even a minor component could cost hundreds of dollars to fix.

As with so much of automotive care and maintenance, eternal vigilance is the best way to protect your vehicle and its transmission. Paying close attention as you drive and looking out for the warning signs could save you a ton of money and a lot of trouble. Here are some transmission warning signs you should never ignore.

Slipping Gears

When you shift gears, your vehicle should transition smoothly, with no jerking or slippage. If you notice slipping gears or hear a grinding noise, it is time to get your transmission checked right away.

If you address these types of problems now, you could avoid a big repair bill later. So do not assume that an occasional grinding sound or small sip is normal – it is not. These warning signs are trying to tell you something, and you should not ignore the message they are sending.

Adding Fluid

It is important to check your automotive fluids on a regular basis, preferably every time you get gas. The next time you fuel up, take a few minutes to lift the hook and check the fluid levels.

If you find yourself adding transmission fluid every time you fuel up, chances are you have a leak. Allowing that leak to go unaddressed could spell big trouble, and a huge repair bill, down the line. Even if you only suspect a leak in your transmission, you should have it diagnosed right away.

A Burnt Smell or Discolored Fluid

Even if your fluid level is holding steady, you could be looking at a looming problem with your transmission. The look and smell of the transmission fluid is an important indicator, and you should be monitoring it closely.

The next time you check the transmission fluid level, hold the dipstick to your nose and evaluate the smell. If the fluid smells burnt, you should have your vehicle checked carefully.

You should also schedule an appointment with your mechanic if the transmission fluid is discolored – brown or black coloration should be cause for concern. Flecks of metal in the fluid is also a serious indicator – and one you should never ignore.

If you want to keep your car running smoothly, you need to take good care of your transmission. Knowing the early warning signs now could save you a ton of money later.