7 Symptoms of a Blown Transmission

What Does a Transmission Do?

The transmission is there to ensure that you have enough power when you need it. The principle is similar to the gears on a bike. Lower gears mean that more power is produced. Higher gears allow you to drive at a higher speed.
There are two types of transmissions in a car—manual and automatic. Manual models have you change the gears yourself. Automatic models use the vehicle to do the shifting for you.

Top 7 Signs of a Bad Transmission

How do you know that your transmission is slipping, or that you have transmission failure? Let’s go over seven of the most common blown transmission symptoms.

1 – Stain on Garage Floor or Driveway

Another way to check for leaks is to place some sturdy paper or cardboard under your car when you park it for the night. If it is stained by the morning, you’ll be able to see whether it’s oil or transmission fluid.

If possible, take the paper or cardboard to your mechanic, too. They can then confirm what the leak is if you’re not sure.

2 – Unusual Noises

If any part of your car makes a new type of noise, you must have it checked out. The transmission going out is serious, but it might be nothing more than a whining or buzzing sound at first. Get to a mechanic and have them check out the transmission. If you catch it soon enough, it may not be as bad as it could get.

3 – Gears Are Unresponsive

Your gears should change easily. It is something that you shouldn’t have to think about, much less struggle with while driving. Gears that are unresponsive could point to a transmission fluid leak, a serious issue that you must address quickly.

4 – Burning Smell

If you smell something burning, it could be that the transmission fluid has overheated or you are low on fluid. It’s not the end of the world if you notice it soon enough, just pull over and let the car cool down and/or buy a quart of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) at a nearby gas station or auto parts store and top it off.
Often this is enough to allow you to limp home or to a repair shop. You’ll want to diagnose the issue right away before a completely blown transmission requires an expensive rebuild or replacement.

5 – Grinding Gears

A manual transmission that’s grinding is easier to notice. You’ll hear the noise and feel the gears sticking. It could be a simple matter of replacing the clutch (which isn’t actually that simple but better than the alternative).

An automatic will only emit a noticeable sound—a grating sound. If you’ve been driving a manual car for a while, you’ve probably grated the gears before, so you know the sound. What we’re talking about here is the grating noise that occurs regularly.

6 – Noisy in Neutral

If your car’s making funny sounds when you’re in neutral, it’s time to have a look under the hood. You can often sort this issue out by adding new transmission fluid so it is full. If it continues after you’ve done so, consult your mechanic to see if more severe transmission damage has occurred.

7 – Check Engine Light

We know how annoying those warning lights are for servicing your car. They’re particularly troublesome if you’re having a bad month financially. If you don’t want things to go wrong, have it checked out earlier.

Proper maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in expensive future repairs.

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