Updated at: 24-06-2022 - By: Lucas

One of the parts of your car that gets the most wear and tear is the transmission. Most of the time, we pay a lot more attention to the engine and change the oil on time. But what about getting the message across? Do you change the oil in your transmission on time?

Most of the time, a car’s gearbox doesn’t just break down one day. Long before it breaks completely, it gives strange signs that something is wrong. Let’s look at what these signs are:

1) Slipping Transmission: Whether you drive a car with a manual transmission or an automatic one, this can happen. Slippage in the transmission or clutch can be felt when the rpm goes up in a way that doesn’t make sense while accelerating. Some people call it the “rubber band effect,” too.

In most automatic transmissions, the link between the gearbox and the flywheel is kept by hydraulic pressure. Low oil pressure inside the transmission or a worn part can cause it to slip.

When the clutch pack on a manual transmission has worn out, the rubber band effect is clear. In some rear cases, the gear teeth themselves can wear out and slip. But this happens very rarely.

failing transmission signs-2

2) Vibrations got worse: We all want to drive smooth, well-made cars that feel like they will last. But most people don’t give it much thought when they feel more vibration. Should we really make that trade-off as the car gets older? I don’t believe that. We should fix whatever part is making the car shake more.

There are a lot of moving parts that all work together to make the transmission work. Even if one thing goes wrong, it will cause other parts to wear out faster because of a chain reaction.

The transmission mount could be worn out, the transmission oil could be low, or there could be another mechanical problem inside the gearbox.

3) Weird noises: Does your car’s gearbox make a thud-like noise when you put it in drive? Does the transmission tunnel make a grinding sound? Or does it make a whining sound all the time (worn bearing)? If the transmission makes a sound that isn’t normal, that should be a sign that something is wrong.

4) The check engine light is on: Almost all cars today will flash a check engine light on the dashboard if there is a problem with the transmission. When there is a problem with the transmission, the warning light may be different. But it could also be a general check engine light. Now, you would need an ECU Scan tool to find the exact problem area. Even if you don’t work in a shop, you should have at least one basic diagnostic tool.

5) The engine revs too fast. An engine that revs faster than it should is often a sign of a worn-out clutch pack. Because the clutch is slipping, the gearbox can’t send power to the wheel. This is easy to figure out in a car with a stick shift. But the same thing could also happen in a car with an automatic transmission. So, if you hear the engine revving up more than it should, you should have the transmission checked.

6) Whining noise from a failed bearing: The throwout bearing on a manual transmission or the thrust bearing on an automatic transmission can wear out over time. A whining sound coming from the transmission tunnel is a common sign that something is wrong. In a manual transmission, a bad throwout bearing will also make the clutch pedal feel worse. This is because the throwout bearing helps connect and disconnect the transmission from the clutch pack.

7) Suspicious oil leak in your driveway: If you see a pool of oil under your car, keep in mind that it could also be transmission oil. Red is the most common colour of transmission oil. If not, it might be brake fluid, engine oil, or power steering fluid (for hydraulic steering). If the leak is coming from the transmission, you might not have enough transmission fluid. Driving a car with too little transmission fluid can cause the transmission to wear out too quickly.

Find out why changing your car’s transmission fluid can hurt it.

8) Won’t go into gear: If the car won’t go into gear, it’s clear that there’s something wrong with the transmission. Automatic cars are pretty complicated, and this problem could be caused by a hot transmission, a broken hydraulic system, a problem with the mechatronics, or an electrical or mechanical problem.

If a car with a manual transmission won’t go into gear, it could be because the clutch pressure plate, clutch disc, or synchronizers are worn out. Also, make sure that neither the clutch cable nor the linkage is broken. Find out how to choose gear oil for a car with a manual transmission.

9) Smell of burning: If you get out of your car after driving and smell something burning, you should check it out. A burning smell could be caused by low oil level or transmission oil that is too hot. If there isn’t enough oil, adding more should fix the burning smell and stop any damage that could happen. But if the oil level is right and the oil is still getting too hot even when you drive slowly and carefully, you should have a professional check the transmission.

10) Shifting that is slow or hard: Your automatic transmission should shift smoothly between gears. Unless you drive a Lamborghini Aventador with a single-clutch gearbox, it shouldn’t be jerky or loud. It’s best to have a professional look at it as soon as possible because even a small problem can start a chain reaction that makes things worse if it’s not fixed.

What’s the most common transmission repair?

Most transmission service is done because the transmission fluid level is low or because the level is low because of a leak. Leaks often happen due to gasket or seal rupture.