When you are driving your car and start having trouble shifting gears or hearing strange noises from under the hood, you might start to suspect you are having transmission problems. However, you might not be sure what visible signs you should be looking for to support your opinion. Here are some things to look for when you think your transmission is failing.
Wet Spots Under Your Car
One of the immediate signs that your transmission needs to be repaired is that there will be a wet spot on the ground that you notice when you pull out of your garage or away from a parking spot. If you notice a wet spot on the ground where your car had been sitting, check it out. Be aware that transmission fluid is reddish in color; if you dab the spot with a tissue and see a reddish liquid, it could very well be that your transmission fluid is leaking and you need some kind of repairs done.
While it is normal for you to see a little smoke when warming up your car on a winter day, smoke coming out from under your hood generally indicates some kind of problem. A problem with your transmission will generally appear as a light gray smoke, which might indicate that the transmission fluid is leaking onto hot engine components. If you see gray smoke coming from the engine, turn off your car and pull out the transmission dipstick to see if the fluid level has dropped, indicating a leak.
Even if the gray smoke isn't coming from the hood and seems to be coming from the tailpipe, it could still indicate a problem with your transmission. Transmission fluid could have seeped into the engine itself and then expelled through your car's tailpipe.
Damaged Transmission Bands
The metal transmission bands that hold various components in place can themselves start to wear down over time. When your car is cooled down, it's a good idea to check out the bands to get an idea of their condition. You may see signs of rust which could mean they need to be replaced before they are damaged further. Try to pull or stretch them; if they seem loose, they may very well need to be replaced before they fail completely, leading to gear problems and other transmission trouble.
Now that you know some of the things you should be looking for when you suspect transmission trouble, consult a local mechanic. They will be able to verify your suspicions and address any automotive repairs right away.