How Do You Know If Your Automatic Transmission is Going Bad

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How Do You Know If Your Automatic Transmission is Going Bad

How Do You Know If Your Automatic Transmission is Going Bad : You’ve been driving your car for years without a problem, but lately you’ve noticed some odd sounds, jerking movements, or that your transmission is suddenly slipping. Uh oh. Could your automatic transmission be on the way out? There are some common signs that your transmission may be having issues, and it’s important to know what they are so you can get the problem diagnosed and repaired before you’re left stranded on the side of the road. In this article, we’ll walk through the most likely symptoms of transmission trouble.

We’ll cover what’s happening inside that complex system when you experience things like transmission slipping, strange noises, problems shifting gears, check engine lights coming on, and issues with your fluid levels. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to look and listen for so you can catch transmission problems early.

Warning Signs Your Automatic Transmission May Be Failing

Warning Signs Your Automatic Transmission May Be Failing

If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your transmission checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. Early detection of transmission problems can save you money and prevent further damage.

  • Your transmission is shifting roughly, slowly, or at the wrong times. If your transmission hesitates or clunks when shifting gears or shifts at significantly different RPMs than normal, that’s a red flag.
  • You notice leaking fluid under your vehicle. Automatic transmission fluid is bright red, and spots or puddles of it on the ground indicate a leak in one of the transmission seals or gaskets. Even a small leak needs to be addressed immediately.
  • A warning light comes on. If your check engine light or transmission temperature warning light illuminates, that signals an issue with your transmission that needs diagnosis and repair.
  • Your vehicle won’t shift into gear. If your transmission won’t shift into reverse, drive, or other gears that indicates a malfunction in the transmission valve body or pump and requires urgent repair.
  • Increased transmission noise. Grinding, whining or squealing sounds from under the vehicle, especially when shifting gears, point to a failing transmission component like bearings, gears or the torque converter.
  • Loss of power. If your vehicle feels underpowered or sluggish, especially going uphill, that could indicate your transmission is having trouble shifting properly to access all available power.

The bottom line is if your faithful vehicle starts showing symptoms of a worn out or damaged transmission, the best course of action is to have it checked out right away by a trusted mechanic. It’s not worth risking further damage or breakdown by continuing to drive if your transmission needs repair or replacement. Early diagnosis and service can help get your vehicle back on the road and save you from expensive transmission work down the line.

Strange Noises Coming From Your Transmission

Uh oh, is your transmission making some unfamiliar noises? That’s usually not a good sign. As your automatic transmission ages, strange sounds can start to emerge that indicate it may need servicing or repair soon.

Grinding or scraping

If you hear a grinding, scraping or rattling sound, that can be a sign that parts inside your transmission are worn or damaged. The pump, clutch plates, gears, or other parts may need replacement. It’s best to have the transmission checked by a mechanic as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

Whining or humming

A constant high-pitched whine or humming sound, especially noticeable when accelerating, can indicate a failing transmission pump or other hydraulic component. The sounds are caused by worn or broken parts that need fresh fluid or replacement. It’s a warning that you should have the transmission serviced right away.

Knocking or thumping

Loud thumping, knocking or clunking noises mean there are likely loose or broken parts rattling around inside your transmission. This can damage other components if left unrepaired. Have the vehicle towed to a repair shop to diagnose and fix the problem before costly damage is done.

Squealing or squeaking

High-pitched squealing or squeaking sounds usually mean your transmission belt or pulley needs replacement or adjustment. The sounds are caused by a loose, worn or damaged belt that’s slipping. While not an urgent repair, it’s best to have the belt checked and replaced soon to avoid overheating or reduced performance.

If you notice any strange noises coming from your transmission, don’t ignore the warning signs. Unfamiliar sounds often mean worn, damaged or broken parts that need servicing. Have the vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible to diagnose the problem and perform necessary repairs or replacement to get your transmission humming happily again.

Issues Shifting Gears in Your Automatic Transmission

If your automatic transmission is acting up, you may notice problems shifting between gears. Here are some signs your transmission may be going bad:

Hard Shifts

Does your transmission jerk or slam into gear when shifting? Hard shifts mean your transmission is having trouble smoothly transitioning between gears. This can damage internal parts over time.

Delayed Shifts

Do you notice a pause or delay before your transmission shifts into the next gear? This could indicate worn out solenoids or other components that control gear changes. Delayed shifts reduce your acceleration and fuel economy.

Failure to Shift

The worst-case scenario is when your transmission fails to shift into higher or lower gears altogether. You may be stuck in one gear, unable to go faster than 25 mph or slower than 65 mph for example. This requires immediate attention to avoid further damage. Check Engine Light If your check engine light comes on, it could indicate an issue with your transmission control module or other related components. Have the code scanned to determine the exact problem. It’s best to have it checked as soon as possible.

Strange Noises

Listen for unusual noises like grinding, whining or squealing sounds, especially when shifting between gears. This could signal damage to gears, bearings or other internal parts. Strange noises mean it’s time for a transmission fluid change and inspection by a mechanic.

The best way to avoid costly transmission repairs down the road is through regular maintenance. Check your transmission fluid level and condition every 30,000 miles and consider a flush every 60,000 miles. Catching problems early on can help prolong the life of your automatic transmission. If you experience any of the issues above, have it checked by a mechanic right away. It’s better safe than sorry!

Problems Accelerating or Loss of Power

Problems Accelerating or Loss of Power

If your automatic transmission isn’t shifting properly or seems sluggish, it could indicate issues that need attention. Some signs that your automatic transmission may be going bad include:

  • Hesitation or jerking when accelerating. If your vehicle hesitates or jerks when speeding up, it could point to a problem with your transmission. This can happen when the transmission is having trouble shifting gears smoothly.
  • Loss of power. If your transmission is failing, you may notice your vehicle seems underpowered or struggles going up hills. This occurs because the transmission is unable to transfer power efficiently from the engine to the wheels.
  • Delayed engagement. When you shift from park to drive or reverse, do you notice a delay before the vehicle moves? This could indicate worn out or damaged parts inside your transmission that need replacement or repair.
  • Unusual noises. Strange sounds coming from your transmission like grinding, whining or squealing noises usually mean trouble. These sounds are a sign that parts are worn out or damaged and need attention right away before the problem worsens.
  • Leaking fluid. Check under your vehicle for dark red or brown spots on the ground. Leaking transmission fluid is a sign that your transmission needs repair or service to prevent permanent damage. Be sure to get any leaks checked out and fixed as soon as possible.
  • Warning light illuminated. If the “check engine” or transmission warning light comes on, have the codes scanned right away to determine the cause of the problem. It could indicate an issue with a sensor or other component in your transmission that needs diagnosis and repair.

The best way to diagnose problems with your automatic transmission is to have it checked by a trusted mechanic. They can scan for any diagnostic trouble codes, test drive your vehicle to experience the problems firsthand, and perform a visual inspection to determine what repairs or service may be needed to get your transmission shifting smoothly again. The sooner you have transmission issues addressed, the less chance of permanent and costly damage.

Checking Your Transmission Fluid Level

Checking Your Transmission Fluid Level

Checking your transmission fluid level regularly is one of the easiest ways to monitor the health of your automatic transmission. Low or dirty fluid can lead to serious damage, so it’s important to check it at least once a month or every 3,000 miles.

Pop open the hood of your vehicle and locate the transmission dipstick—it’s typically near the engine block and will be labeled “transmission fluid.” Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, and reinsert it fully into the transmission tube. Wait a few seconds, then pull it out again.

The fluid level should be within the “full” range markings on the end of the dipstick. If it’s low, add fluid through the filler tube using a funnel. Only add fluid if the level is at or below the “add” marking. Overfilling can also cause damage.

What’s the fluid look like? Fresh, clean transmission fluid will be pink or red. Dark, smelly fluid could indicate it’s time for a fluid change. Fluid that looks milky or foamy could mean you have water or air in your transmission lines, which requires attention from a mechanic.

Along with checking the fluid level, look for any signs of leaks underneath your vehicle. Even small leaks can significantly lower your fluid level over time and should be addressed immediately. It’s also a good idea to have your transmission fluid flushed and refilled by a mechanic every 30,000 to 60,000 miles based on your vehicle’s recommendation.

Keeping a close watch on your transmission fluid level and condition is one of the best ways to catch any issues early on and help keep your transmission running smoothly for the long haul. Staying on top of this simple maintenance task can save you from costly repairs down the road.

Conclusion

So there you have it, folks – a rundown of what to watch for if you suspect your automatic transmission is failing. Listen for unusual noises or changes in how the transmission shifts. Watch for leaks and low transmission fluid. Test the transmission when the car is warm and cold. And if you’re still unsure, have the transmission checked out by a mechanic. We know repairs aren’t cheap, but catching transmission problems early can save you money down the road. And remember, if you take good care of your ride, it’ll take good care of you. Stay safe out there!

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Automation Technology

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