Shop Talk Logo

A Closer Look at Transmission Troubles

Your transmission is a vital component of your vehicle. It is responsible for ensuring the proper amount of power is transferred to your car’s wheels so it can drive at the speeds you desire, and it does this by shifting gears like a bicycle. Some cars do this automatically, depending on the conditions they encounter, while other cars have manual transmissions and require the driver to switch the gears by hand. When your transmission is no longer working properly, it can lead to costly problems for your vehicle.

Where Transmission Problems Begin

Many of the most common transmission problems begin because a leak occurs somewhere in the system. A leak can occur for many reasons, including a damaged transmission oil pan, a deteriorated pan gasket or a loose or damaged oil cooler line. Resulting low fluid levels can lead to slipping, hard shifts, overheating, or shifting into the wrong gear, all of which can be serious problems that warrant immediate attention.

Transmission Fluid: What It’s Saying

One of the best ways to know what your transmission is up to is by closely monitoring your fluid. The fluid color and odor can indicate that your vehicle needs a transmission flush well before it causes a problem.

  • Clean fluid with no odor – Fluid that is completely clean and has little to no odor means your transmission is probably working great and should be serviced at the regularly scheduled time.
  • Slightly brown with slightly burnt odor – A deepening color and burnt odor indicate the fluid is starting to burn and needs to be serviced. A complete fluid exchange is recommended as soon as possible.
  • Brown with deeply burnt odor – Your fluid is burnt and you will likely experience transmission problems soon if you are not already. A transmission repair is likely in your future.
  • Black and an awful burnt odor – The fluid is completely burnt and your transmission may be in deplorable condition. It is highly likely your transmission is in need of repair, as it is too late for a preventative maintenance service.

Manual-Specific Problems

Many of the most common problems manual transmission drivers face deal with the clutch. Hard shifting is one of the top three problems with transmissions or it can almost always be narrowed down to a problem with the clutch. If a clutch slips or sticks, or if you have trouble getting into gear, it may indicate that your clutch needs to be replaced. In some cases, the clutch master or slave cylinder may need to be replaced instead, which is a smaller, more cost-friendly job. Additionally, just like with automatic transmissions, fluid leaks can cause serious problems with the entire system.

If you ever notice leaking transmission fluid or difficulty switching gears, do not hesitate to bring your vehicle to our expert transmission technicians at Sun Devil Auto. With a thorough check, you can have peace of mind that all is well, and we can help to prevent any transmission troubles before they become a serious repair.