A problem in the transmission could spell trouble, and could even permanently damage your car. There is no cause for panic though, as this can be avoided by checking for signs which signal transmission slipping, and understanding the possible causes behind it.
The transmission or gearbox is an innovation of engineering that is central to the smooth running of any car. The transmissions may vary from manual, semi-automatic, to automatic. Anyone who has had an experience with transmission problems will tell you that it’s not cheap replacing or even repairing it. Thus, it’s always better to take good care of the transmission, checking the oil, filters and getting them cleaned regularly. It also makes sense to get your car serviced especially if you have been using it quite frequently or after a long trip. There are a lot of things your car will ‘tell’ you if you are willing to listen and observe. Most of the problems in cars can be felt in the way they drive during daily use.
Signs of Transmission Problems
- A delay of more than a second in shifting from the neutral to drive or reverse gear could mean that there is a problem with the transmission. If on changing from a neutral or park position to the drive or reverse gear, the car does not immediately catch the gear and move forward or backward, it indicates a problem.
- If you change gears and you hear a sudden clunk, sudden jolt or shudder, then the shifting is not smooth and there could be a problem with the gearbox.
- The engine rpm keeps increasing but there is no increase in the speed; this is another indicator you should watch out for.
- Look for leakage of oil or automatic transmission fluid (ATF). This is damaging for the transmission.
- If your car has suddenly started sounding noisy, you should check the gearbox.
- Most automatic transmission systems these days have a check engine light or an OD light, which flashes if there is a problem with the engine. You will need a code reader to diagnose the problem.
If your transmission slips only when it’s cold, then there could be three possible reasons. The first one could be that your engine is low on transmission fluid and could use some more. The reason it works fine once it’s warmed up, is because the oil expands with heat. The second reason could be that the fluid has become old and denatured, and needs to be changed. Remember to use only the genuine transmission fluid when you replace it. The third reason could be that the oil has become dirty or contaminated, which again needs to be changed. If it’s dirty, then you could also check your filter and replace it, if needed. You could go for a transmission flush, but make sure you have all the details before you do that.
Sometimes the transmission may work fine when cold, but you might notice it slipping when hot. This means that after you have been driving for sometime the gears may not change smoothly. A transmission that slips when hot, could mean that the level of transmission fluid may be low, or it could have worn down and needs to be changed. Also, check your filter and see if it needs to be replaced. There could even be a problem with the wiring and ignition.
Is It Slipping Out of Gear?
If your car transmission is slipping out of gear, and you have checked the fluid levels and filters, and they all seem fine, then your gearbox might need replacing or extensive repairs may be needed.
If your car is showing any of these transmission trouble signs, then you should get your car serviced. Make sure you always check the fluid levels in your car and look for signs of dirt, and if your filters would need to be replaced. A regular inspection done once in a while, will always help keep your car safe from any major damage.