A failing transmission will almost always give you a warning before it completely gives out on you and leaves you high and dry. If you pay attention to the signs, you’ll be able to get it repaired or replaced without getting stranded.
Here are four common signs your transmission might be on its way out.
One of the earliest signs of a failing transmission is that it slips, as Angie’s List explains. This means that when you give the vehicle gas, it doesn’t go anywhere until you hit a higher rpm. You can check the fluid to see if it’s low, but if not, you should take the vehicle to the shop right away. In most cases, this happens when you put the car in reverse before it happens in the forward gears.
2. Rough Shifting
If it seems like your vehicle is shifting harder—you feel it shifting into gear more than you normally do—then it’s time to get it checked out, noted Autotrader. If you hear a clunk or a thud when you put it in gear, go directly to your automotive technician. Do not pass go and do not collect $200, unless you want to be stranded somewhere sooner or later.
3. Leaking Fluid
If you see the transmission fluid leaking, chances are it can be repaired and you won’t have to replace the transmission. However, this should be repaired as soon as possible. If you don’t notice it and let the transmission run without the fluid, you have a higher chance of damaging the internal components.
4. Failing Parts
Most conventional automatic transmissions have a pump, clutches, and planetary gears. They also have a valve body and a filter. The parts that are at risk of failing are generally the pump and clutches. The planetary gears and valve body are considered “hard parts,” and they rarely fail. However, if the planetary gears fail, it’s usually less expensive to just replace the entire transmission. The clutches, valve body, and front pump are all replaceable without too much labor. You can choose to buy a new transmission, or one out of a used vehicle that has been wrecked or disabled.
If you notice any signs of a failing transmission, bring your vehicle in to your mechanic and have it checked out right away. It’s always best to have repairs made before the transmission has a chance to fail completely.