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Top 10 Most Common Transmission Problems You Have To Know

Transmissions are intricate assemblies that make use of a lot of mechanical motions. The gears inside it are always at work. If your car has a manual transmission, then the clutch disk is always on the move towards the pressure plate.

Every time you shift your gear stick, whether you’re driving an automatic or manual, your transmission is always at work. The heavy workload that your transmission receives on a daily basis can lead it to experience a lot of transmission problems. Below, we’ll list down top 10 common transmission problems so stay tuned to find out more!

10 Transmission Problems That You’ll Encounter

#1. Engine Light is on

engine warning light

The engine light is an indicator that something is wrong with your car. This is one of the most common problems which is why it’s first on our list. However, always remember that just because your engine light is on, doesn’t mean that your transmission is at fault.

Many things are connected to the engine light, and your transmission is one of them. There are a set of sensors located in your transmission that transmits a signal. Thus, once the engine light is on, do a thorough inspection of your car. Of course, don’t leave out the transmission and engine.

#2. Clunking and Humming sounds

Earlier, we talked about how the car’s transmission is full of mechanical actions. These mechanisms are supported by hydraulic power coming from many sub-parts such as the torque converter. However, this change in energy can lead to some problems along the way. Since the transmission’s interior is always in motion every time you drive, unwanted friction may happen.

One reason for clunking sounds in your transmission is due to poor gear shifting. More common than not, the gears shift smoothly. Thanks to the help of fluids acting as lubricants and cooling agents. However, an overflow of transmission fluid will backfire, resulting in foaming. Thus, the foams’ thick texture hinders smooth gearshifts inside the transmission.

#3. Low Fluids

If the previous item on our list is a result of too much fluid, then there’s also a problem with low fluid levels. This usually happens as a consequence of a leak. Your transmission keeps all that liquid inside thanks to the help of sealings.

pouring transmission fluid through funnel

Should these sealings break as a result of wear and tear, then it’ll eventually drain out the liquid inside. Another thing that can further complicate things is your transmission’s gasket. The gasket is also responsible for preventing leaks, so check it if it’s damaged. A damaged gasket usually needs replacement, which is pretty cheap.

#4. Torque Converter damages

To reiterate, the transmission is simply an assembly that consists of numerous other assemblies. One good example of an assembly is the torque converter. It’s arguably the most complex component of not only the transmission but the car in general.

The torque converter is responsible for leveling the acceleration of your vehicle. This is done by multiplying torque power so that there’s a smooth rotation of the turbine and the impeller every time you step on the gas.

Since it makes use of heavy mechanical and hydraulic rotations, this component can have problems with its bearings. It’ll usually generate noise if this happens, so stay alert. Keep in mind that torque converters have other problems that you should be further aware.

#5. Ineffective clutch

If you have a manual transmission, you’ll easily know when there’s something wrong with the clutch. If your clutch is feeling draggy, for example, then that means that there’s a problem with the clutch disc and flywheel.

These two circular components engage and disengage every time you shift gears and use the clutch. So should the clutch be cranky, then check the clutch disc and flywheel immediately.

#6. Gear slippage

lever manual six-speed gearbox

Number 6 in our list is arguably the most problematic, and it’s something that requires professional help. Gear slippage is when you’re driving, and you notice that the gear has shifted in another even though you didn’t do it.

For example, in a manual transmission, your gear might be at two, but then it might shift to 2 without you knowing. It can happen even in an automatic, as the drive gear might change to reverse. This is an extremely urgent safety issue should it happen.

Usually, it has something to do with faulty gear linkages, things that are quite complicated. Thus, you should turn off the engine and seek a professional immediately.

#7. Overheating

Similar to the engine, the transmission is subject to overheating if not maintained properly. This is usually spotted after smelling a burn in your car. As we previously mentioned, this assembly heavily relies on transmission fluid for different areas. Among these areas is for it to act as a cooling agent.

If your transmission is low on fluid or if it has formed, this could be the reason. Also, overheating can happen if the fluid is dirty and full of sludge. The reason for this is that sludge doesn’t cool the transmission, unlike smooth liquids.

#8. Slow or no response

Whenever you shift gears, it always has to change immediately. That’s a golden rule for any car manufacturer, especially those that produce racing and sports vehicles. If your car is slow to change gears, then there’s something wrong, and it can point to severe problems.

You can notice this by shifting to reverse. If you shift to reverse and immediately step on the gas, a faulty transmission would still move your car forward. This is another problem the requires professional help, since the problem may be rooted in the car’s initial production.

#9. Grinding feeling

This problem is usually more common to manual transmissions. If you engage the gear stick and feel a grinding sensation as you shift, then that indicates a problem. For some older models, the gear stick itself would show that it’s shaking.

When this happens, immediately check the clutch to see if it needs adjustment. Some clutch problems can be so severe that it will need replacement, so consider that as well.

#10. Noise while in neutral

The last on our list is probably the least problematic. An unnecessary noise in your transmission while in neutral means that your machine lacks fluid. Thus, just get transmission fluid and add it correctly.

The last on our list is probably the least problematic. An unnecessary noise in your transmission while in neutral means that your machine lacks fluid. Thus, just get transmission fluid and add it correctly.

In a Nutshell

So there you have it, transmission problems can be as simple and as challenging. Always be aware of the potential damages that your transmission can sustain. A responsible car owner should be aware of the symptoms of each problem.

Remember, safety is your number one priority when handling a vehicle. So to prevent accidents, take the initiative to inspect the transmission and engine before driving. These two are crucial parts that malfunction easily.

Steven K. Galloway