Nine Signs Your Transmission Is Going Out

You’re driving along and all of a sudden your engine revs and you lose power. Then, you hear a clunk and the engine engages again. This is just one sign that your transmission is going out. Advantage Automotive is going to list nine signs of automatic transmission failure below, all of which we can help you with by repairing or replacing your transmission.

1. Won’t Shift Gears

Another sign of a dying transmission is a refusal to shift gears. This can happen initially when you try to put your vehicle into park or reverse, or it can happen as the vehicle attempts to go through the gear cycle. This problem can be caused by low transmission fluid or the wrong type of transmission fluid.

2. The Gears Slip

The scenario we described in the introduction is the gears slipping. Your automatic transmission will put your vehicle into gear and begin to shift through the gear cycle, but once it is in gear, it will slip out of it. This causes the engine to rev and your vehicle will lose power because it’s forced into neutral.

3. Noise When Shifting

You should not hear clunking or grinding when you put your car, truck, or SUV into drive or reverse, or when it shifts between gears. Even though you drive an automatic transmission, it has an internal clutch mechanism. This could be going bad, or the clunking or grinding could be caused by other worn parts.

4. Neutral Noises

You might also hear sounds when the vehicle is in neutral. The most common sign there’s something wrong with the transmission when the car is in neutral is a whining sound. Some people also describe the sound as a humming sound. Either way, you shouldn’t hear strange noises when in neutral.

5. Shaking or Vibrating

When you learn to drive a manual transmission, the gear shifts can be pretty rough. You should never have a problem with rough shifting from an automatic transmission. The gear shifts should be seamless, and your vehicle shouldn’t lurch, shake, or vibrate as the automatic transmission shifts the gears.

6. Burning Smells

Burning smells should signal an alarm inside your head to pull off the road right away and cut your engine. Old or low transmission fluid can overheat the automatic transmission and you will smell hot odors. When something smells hot, it is, and in a combustion engine, this can cause a fire.

7. Fluid Leaks

Transmission fluid is bright red and will leak underneath your car toward the center of it. If you have red fluid leaking from the front of your vehicle, it’s probably power steering fluid or coolant. Transmission fluid is also translucent and smells kind of sweet. It can leak from the pan, pan gasket, or hoses.

8. Pink Fluid

If the transmission fluid is pink, we have very bad news for you. Transmission fluid turns pink because it’s being diluted by engine coolant. This means you have a breach in the transmission that is allowing the coolant into the system. This seriously damages the transmission, i.e. we’ll have to replace it.

9. Check Engine Alert

Finally, the check engine light will come on if the automatic transmission is going bad. This alert covers many vehicle systems that do not have their own light on your dashboard. Any time the check engine light comes on, it’s important to have the reason diagnoses ASAP to avoid significant damage.

Stop by Advantage Auto Service’s auto shop in Marietta, GA, if you experience any of the nine signs listed above. We’ll inspect your transmission and fix the problem right away.


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