AAMCO Centers of the Tristate area


AAMCO Centers of the Tristate area

Signs You May Have a Transmission Problem

Early detection of transmission issues can help you save money and avoid more serious problems down the road.

AAMCO NY/NJ/CT  | 10/10/2022  | Transmission Advice

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Signs You May Have a Transmission Problem

Is your transmission having difficulty changing gears in your vehicle? Is there a strange burning smell or funny noises when driving along? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, it may indicate that you are experiencing issues with your transmission. 

We regularly help our Tri-State drivers get back on the road quickly and safely after vehicle issues, especially ones involving their transmission. This article explores some of the most common signs of transmission trouble. 

What Is a Transmission? 

Before we look at some of the most common signs of transmission failure, it is important to understand its role in your vehicle. Your transmission, whether a manual or an automatic, helps convert your engine’s power into the momentum that propels it. It is designed to keep your engine’s RPM low, decreasing overall fuel consumption and harmful emissions, and reducing stress and strain on your engine. 

While transmissions are designed to be long-lasting and durable, normal wear and tear and inconsistent maintenance over time can cause your transmission to fail. However, other factors can accelerate its deterioration, including:

  • Lack of regular maintenance 
  • Heavy loads
  • Severe weather
  • Poor driving habits 
  • Leaking transmission fluid

Replacing your entire transmission can be incredibly costly, but catching issues early will allow you to have it repaired before it becomes too bad. That is why whatever the cause might be, understanding the symptoms to watch out for is essential in helping you to keep your vehicle on the road and reduce the likelihood of facing an expensive repair bill. 

Common Symptoms of Transmission Problems 

Your transmission is a crucial part of your vehicle; without it, your vehicle won’t move. Many different symptoms can warn you of a transmission in trouble. Some of the most common include:

Slipping gears

Gears slipping is very common in a struggling transmission, which involves abnormal shifting. This can be very dangerous while driving and stresses your engine considerably. While the word “gears” is commonly used, it may be a case of internal clutches slipping or a valve body issue causing the trouble.  Unless an actual gear is stripped or broken, gears will not slip. You will know your important transmission components are slipping when you hear your engine suddenly rev during a gear change or when trying to start out, or it feels like you have no power when trying to accelerate or pull away from a stop on the road. 

Concerning sounds 

Hearing strange noises such as grinding, clicking, whining, clunking, or humming while driving should always be considered a warning sign for something going wrong. If you hear them when driving, get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible.

Burning smell

Noticing any strange burning smell from your vehicle suggests something is wrong. You should immediately seek help from a specialist such as your local NY Tri-state AAMCO Center. 

Leaks under the vehicle 

Discovering signs of a leak can be incredibly problematic and worrying, and if you have noticed any fluids under your vehicle, don’t wait. You should visit your local auto technician as soon as possible for advice. 

Noisy when in neutral

Hearing noises while driving is a significant warning sign, but so is hearing noises when you are in park or neutral. A grinding or mechanical noise from your ride while in neutral clearly indicates that something has gone wrong with the engine, the transmission pump, the torque converter, or the flywheel.

Transmission warning light 

Modern vehicles come with an array of warning lights to give you insight into your vehicle’s health. Some of these warning lights will relate to your transmission. When you see any warning lights or maintenance due indicators, you should visit your local NY Tri-State AAMCO transmission center to have it checked out. 

Check Engine Light (CEL)

One of these important warning lights that are watching your transmission health is your Check Engine Light (CEL). Research has shown that just 36% of drivers will take their vehicle to their local automotive service center when the check engine light comes on. While it can often be a simple problem, it can also be a warning sign of something major failing, so as soon as yours illuminates, visit your local technician that specializes in diagnostics. 

Delayed engagement when shifter placed in drive or reverse 

Are you finding that there is a delay in gear engagement when you place your vehicle in drive or reverse? This is often a common sign that something is beginning to go wrong with your transmission that could be caught early if you act quickly. 

Top Maintenance Tips for a Healthy Transmission 

While catching these signs of problems early can save you money, making sure you are keeping on top of your maintenance will reduce the risk of issues occurring. Some of the best tips for a healthy transmission include:

  • Routine maintenance 
    One of the best ways to ensure a healthy transmission is by keeping up with your maintenance schedule. Following the guidelines in your owner’s manual and changing your transmission fluid when recommended will help keep your vehicle performing at its best and for the longest amount of time. 
  • Never ignore symptoms 
    Another major tip is to pay attention to all warning signs of vehicle distress, no matter how small. It can be very tempting to put off that necessary visit to an auto repair center, but the longer you ignore these symptoms, the more likely you will face serious—perhaps even dangerous—repairs that are costly and time-consuming.
  • Visit a specialist 
    When it comes to your transmission and driveline, you want to ensure that you have it maintained and checked out by a trained professional. As one of the leading specialists in transmission care in the NY Tri-State area, our AAMCO team will be able to thoroughly review your vehicle and quickly get your vehicle back on the road. 
  • Don’t attempt temporary repairs 
    When it comes to your vehicle’s transmission, unless you are a trained specialist, you should avoid attempting to repair it yourself. Fixing a leak using unconventional or temporary methods might seem like an excellent way to save yourself some money, but this can lead to a multitude of further complications that will only cost you more money in the long run. 
  • Practice good driving 
    How you use your vehicle can impact your transmission, and things such as aggressive acceleration, heavy loads, rocking in snow, climbing steep hills, or daily stop-and-go traffic situations can cause yours to deteriorate faster. The less stress you can place on your engine, the less stress you put on your transmission, and the longer your transmission will last, so practice good driving techniques every time you are behind the wheel. 

Transmissions Are Our Specialty

Noticing signs that your transmission is beginning to fail can be worrying and troublesome, but the sooner you act, the more likely you will be able to avoid larger, more time-consuming, and much more expensive repairs. However, looking after your transmission regularly is more than just about saving you money. It will also improve your vehicle performance and reduce the risk of a breakdown or accident. 

We know how stressful it can be to discover that your vehicle is not working and typically at the most inconvenient time. That is why our highly experienced technicians are on hand to properly diagnose and repair your vehicle quickly. AAMCO transmission shops cover the entire NY Tri-State area, ensuring close-by assistance when you need it most.

Expect the Best

AAMCO has over 55 years of experience delivering total car care, from the transmission to tune-ups, for more than 20 million vehicles. Customers depend on us for:

  • Exceptional customer service
  • The latest technology for diagnosis and repair
  • Expert technicians who “fix it right the first time.” 
  • Best warranty coverage available
  • Convenient payment options with up to 12 months of interest-free payments and plans for less-than-perfect credit 

AAMCO Centers of the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State Area represent trust, quality, and value. If you’re having an issue with your vehicle, call us today!

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