The transmission in your vehicle is what makes your car go. Without a well operating transmission, your vehicle will be little more than a large piece of stationary metal. Given its significance, it's important that owners be aware of the signs and signals that often are the result of a transmission malfunction. Recognizing these signs early can save you time and money on expensive repair costs, so keep your eyes and ears open.
Keep your nose open for burning transmission fluid. This is generally an indication your transmission is running hot, or overheating. If you notice a burning, smoky smell coming from your vehicle, stop driving. After you've given your car a few moments to cool off, remove the transmission dipstick and smell it. Transmission fluid generally smells sweet. If it smells burnt, you know your transmission is overheating.
This fluid is designed to keep the transmission's internal components lubricated. When it's burnt, this means your fluid level is too low or is in dire need to be changed. Don't ignore this issue. Have the matter addressed right away. Continuing to drive the vehicle could burnout the internal components of the transmission, causing your vehicle to lockup. This outcome doesn't just come with costly repairs, but you will likely also find yourself stranded on the side of the road somewhere, so take action soon.
Shaking or Grinding
An automatic transmission is designed to be smooth. When your vehicle changes from gear to gear, this is meant to be both an effortless and silent action. If gear changes in your vehicle come with a shaking or grinding like feeling, you have a problem on your hands. With an automatic transmission you might feel that it's harder to shift your gears or that your vehicle seems to jerk each time you move between gears.
This is often an indication that the synchronizing mechanism inside the transmission is damaged. This mechanism is designed to respond each time you change gears by delivering torque to your wheels. Particularly in an older vehicle, regular wear can cause the synchronizing mechanism to malfunction. Generally, the best way to repair this issue is to replace the mechanism altogether. Failing to make necessary repairs could eventually cause your transmission to get stuck in a gear, so make certain you have this matter repaired.
Keeping your transmission working begins with you. Make certain you are making auto maintenance a priority and have any suspicious activity checked out by a licensed mechanic.