When a car is new, everything works perfectly. You start the car, and the sound can be magical. It purrs as you put the car in gear and head off down the highway.
Over time, starting the car becomes an automatic process. Get in. Turn the key. Think about your day ahead. Ignore the little changes going on underneath the hood.
And that works well … for a while.
Eventually, you can no longer ignore the noise. Something’s wrong.
The question then becomes: What are you going to do about it?
Today’s modern combustion engine is a complex array of components. One of the most critical parts is the transmission.
In short, a transmission is a vehicle’s gearbox. It’s what allows the car to move through the various gears as you drive. Without it, you could never move away from a stop sign, accelerate on the highway, or climb the hill near your home.
The typical car transmission has between five and six gear sets and trains (the belts and chains that connect the gears together.) The transmission’s job is to ensure that your engine runs at the proper rate without moving too fast or too slow for the road conditions. It ensures the right amount of power moves from the engine down into your wheels, so your vehicle can move safely down the road as you move through your days.
Today’s vehicles have two types of transmissions: manual and automatic. Manual transmissions are fading from most car lines as automatics are more precise in their movement, and have a lower error rate. By having an automatic transmission, a driver can focus on the act of driving, rather than worrying about when is the right time to change gears.
Regardless of whether your vehicle is manual or automatic, the transmission works in the same way. As the driver accelerates, a gear lever moves from one gear to another as the road conditions require. While manual transmissions require the driver to push and hold a clutch control while moving the gear shift, an automatic transmission does it automatically. When engaged, a clutch maneuvers the clutch plates into place to connect with larger gears. As the gear lever moves, different gears shift and connect, which in turn controls the amount of power delivered to the engine and wheels.
There’s a lot of power behind this movement. Over time, these connections can start to fail, putting you and your vehicle at risk.
Luckily, total transmission failure doesn’t happen without warning signals. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to bring your car in for maintenance to stop the problem before it worsens.
As you drive along, you can take in a variety of smells. If you pass a restaurant, it might remind you it’s time for dinner. But if you notice a strong odor that doesn’t dissipate as you drive, it might be time for a visit with one of our mechanics. If the smell seems to be coming from the engine compartment, if it has a strong burning smell, it’s a sure sign there’s a problem with one or more of the parts.
As transmission fluid runs low or degrades, it overheats and can create a burning smell. This allows your engine to run hot, which can allow other engine components to wear down as well. Burning smells are never good for your vehicle; have them checked out, especially if they continue over time.
Remember that purr from when you first bought your vehicle? If you pay attention to the sounds your car makes over time, you can easily notice problems by the different sounds it makes.
Clunking, humming, whining, rattling, or grinding is never good for your vehicle. Your first step is to determine where the noise is coming from, and when you most often hear it. A clunking noise when your car changes gear is a telltale sign that your transmission is experiencing problems.
Check engine light
Today’s vehicles are a complex array of technological parts, all coming together to create the modern day car. If any one component isn’t operating correctly, it can have adverse effects on other parts.
Most cars today have a variety of dashboard lights designed to signal when something is wrong. These lights illuminate the moment the ratios fall beyond manufacturer’s suggested guidelines. They light up in plenty of time for you to bring your vehicle in and get it inspected. Don’t ignore the little light on your dashboard. If you pay attention and take action quickly, you’ll save money on larger, more detailed repairs.
There are several main fluids in your vehicle, each designed to lubricate, cool, and help you maintain your car.
If any of these fluids break down or leak, they can alter the way your vehicle operates.
A transmission fluid leak is easy to spot because it shows up as a red color with a sweet smell. It can darken over time if it’s compromised and has dirt particles in it. It can also take on a burnt smell when it has broken down.
An automatic transmission should provide you with a smooth ride. Have you started to notice your car shaking as it changes gear? It’s a sign one or more of your gears may be wearing down, or one of the chains or belts needs replacing.
Don’t ignore the shaking. It will only get worse over time.
Won’t move into gear
Sometimes your car gets stuck in one gear and refuses to move to another. This is often a fluid issue.
When transmission fluid is clean and topped off, the gears move freely as you drive. But as the fluid becomes compromised, it might affect the way the gears move. It might also be a problem with the computer system, not instructing your vehicle to move properly.
Instead of having a vehicle that won’t change gears, you might notice the gears occasionally slip between gears without any instruction from you. This is dangerous for your car and can put you in a dangerous situation. This can be caused from a variety of things, including a worn transmission, or low fluid levels.
Are you experiencing any of these transmission symptoms?
If your vehicle is experiencing any of these transmission symptoms, it’s time to bring your car in for repair. Don’t ignore unusual smells, noises, or a car that doesn’t drive as usual. It’s a sign your car has a problem, and the sooner you fix it, the quicker you’ll be back on the road without worry. Small problems can escalate into expensive repair bills if not acted on quickly.