While some people prefer to go for manual transmission cars as they believe that these cars give the ultimate driving experience, for others it is pure economics with manual transmission cars being less costly as compared to their automatic transmission counterparts. Even though there is no questioning the durability of manual transmission systems used in cars, even they are vulnerable to certain problems as with any other machine.
In fact, most of the transmission problems that you are likely to experience with your car are either traced to the clutch (a worn out clutch most likely) or some worn out component of the transmission system). Even though most of these problems require some expert to work on them, you can do your bit by diagnosing the underlying problem and taking the car to the workshop for repair at the earliest so as to make sure that these minor problems don't snowball into some major problem.
Diagnosing Manual Transmission Problems
You can diagnose these problems by keeping an eye for various symptoms of these problems when you suspect that your vehicle is behaving in a weird manner. After a certain period, you get so used to your vehicle that you can easily identify if something is wrong with it. Unusual noise, difficulty in shifting, transmission slipping, fluid leakage,.... the signs and symptoms of transmission problems exist in plenty, and identification of these symptoms can help you diagnose the underlying problem with immense ease, thus making sure that you initiate repair on time.
One of the most common symptoms of transmission problem is unusual noise coming from the transmission of the vehicle. Even though this noise can be attributed to a number of underlying problems, some worn out transmission part is the culprit in most of the cases. Worn out shaft bearings, damaged gear teeth, damaged synchronizer, etc., can cause a lot of noise.
Similarly, these worn out parts can also result in transmission slipping and hard shifting transmission - which happen to be the most common manual transmission shifting problems that you are likely to experience. Other than worn out parts - worn out clutch linkage in particular, these problems are at times also attributed to low transmission fluid in the vehicle as a result of which transmission parts are not well lubricated.
Excessive wear and tear of transmission parts to an extent wherein they make so much of noise can be attributed to bad maintenance of vehicle. Transmission fluid which acts as a lubricant and coolant in the vehicle is very important for smooth functioning of the transmission system. If the various components of transmission system are not lubricated properly, they are subjected to severe wear and tear - which eventually shortens the lifespan of transmission parts by a significant extent.
Add to it the fact that transmission fluid also doubles up as coolant, and the lack of this fluid can cause the transmission parts to overheat - and make them vulnerable to corrosion. If your car jumps out of gear again and again, the chances are that it is because of the broken vehicle transmission which is attributed to excessive wear and tear of transmission parts.
What Causes Low Transmission Fluid?
While low transmission fluid triggers a series of problems in the vehicle, what causes the levels of transmission fluid to go down now and then. One of the most likely reasons for low transmission fluid in the vehicle is transmission leakage, which in turn, can be attributed to lose drainage plug, cracks in transmission case, etc.
One of the easiest methods of transmission fluid leakage is to check for puddles of oil beneath the vehicle. While that will work if the leakage is major, it may go unnoticed in case of minor leaks and hence, a better option is to lay a newspaper beneath the vehicle for an entire night, and check if there are any signs of transmission fluid leakage in form of oil stains on the same. Bad transmission fluid - which is typically characterized by a dark color and burning odor emanating from it, can be as bad for the vehicle as low transmission fluid.
Other than these manual transmission problems, there also exist some manual transmission clutch problems which you need to take into consideration when diagnosing car transmission problems. A worn clutch plate can result in frequent clutch slips and make a lot of noise. Similarly, you are also likely to notice clutch drag when the clutch linkage is not adjusted properly. Most of these clutch problems are attributed to low transmission fluid and poor driving habits wherein the driver resorts to rapid engagement of clutch.
If the problem is traced to low transmission fluid or bad transmission fluid, you can simply resort to transmission fluid change and do away with it. On the other hand, if the underlying problem is traced to worn out transmission parts, the worn out part in question will have to be replaced - and that's something which will require professional expertise. As we mentioned earlier, the chances of all these problems snowballing into major problems cannot be ruled out, and if you are to make sure that they don't - the rule of the thumb is to diagnose the problem and initiate the repair as soon as possible.