Most people take their vehicle in for regular oil changes, tire rotations and other common maintenance. But less common issues can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t get them repaired quickly. That’s the case with transmission problems. They may not come up as often as an oil change, but when they do, it’s essential that you get your vehicle to a mechanic right away. It’ll ensure your safety on the roads and cost less to repair if you catch it early.
Why Your Transmission Matters
A complex part of your vehicle’s drive system, the transmission transfers power from your engine to your car’s driveshaft, allowing the car to shift gears as you speed up, slow down and steer. It generates a lot of heat, and its many moving parts experience great amounts of friction. As a result, the transmission suffers more wear and tear than most other parts of your car.
Basic Transmission Maintenance
There are some simple ways to keep your transmission running well. Warm up your car for a few minutes before you begin driving and come to a full stop before shifting gears. Check the transmission fluid regularly, and have the system inspected at the regular service intervals listed in your owner’s manual. If your engine’s cooling system is showing signs of problems, have it repaired before it causes systems like the transmission to overheat.
The Most Common Signs of Trouble
Still, even with regular maintenance, problems can arise. So, what are some common warning signs that your transmission needs some loving care from a trusted mechanic?
1. Gear slipping
When your transmission is working properly, the gears shift only when you shift manually or when your engine’s computer tells the car to shift. An example of a normal shift is the smooth acceleration to highway speeds as you merge onto the interstate. One sign of a problem is the feeling that your vehicle is suddenly shifting gears for no reason. The car may not accelerate as it should, or it may seem like you’re not getting the proper power from your engine. You may hear a change in the engine’s pitch or a whining sound too.
2. Rough or delayed shifts
Similar to problem number one listed above, rough shifts don’t feel right. But instead of gears shifting for no reason, the issue here is that the gears are not shifting as they should. This warning sign presents itself as a failure to shift, a shift that isn’t smooth, or a delayed switch from park into drive, even after you’ve hit the gas pedal. You may hear or feel a distinct clunk or thud as your car reluctantly shifts gears.
3. Burning smell
Whenever your car smells as though an engine part is burning, it’s important to get it checked out and diagnosed. One of the most common causes of that burning smell is an overheating transmission. This problem can occur if the transmission fluid isn’t flowing properly to keep the system lubricated and cooled. If not dealt with, the whole system will run too hot until it breaks down entirely.
4. Fluid leak
One common cause of an overheating transmission is a fluid leak. It may be caused by damaged seals, low amounts of fluid or other causes. Fortunately, fluid leaks are often easy to spot if you’re paying attention. If you see leak spots in your driveway or garage, test them with cardboard underneath the car to see if the leaks are active. Bright red, dark red or even brown leak spots can be a sign that the transmission fluid is in need of maintenance.
5. Transmission warning light
Any warning lights on your dashboard should be checked by your mechanic. But if you see the warning light that is specifically associated with your transmission, then it’s important to get your vehicle in for a check as soon as you can. Chances are, the engine’s computer has caught a problem for you, and you don’t want to delay in having it diagnosed and repaired.
Contact Us for Transmission Help Anytime
Here at RC Auto Specialists, we know how stressful transmission problems can be, and we want you to feel safe and secure anytime you’re behind the wheel. Our friendly, knowledgeable, reliable mechanics will help diagnose any transmission issues you have. Call us today at (918) 872-8115 or visit our shop to request a comprehensive evaluation and estimate.