Most Common Problems with an Automatic Transmission


Your automatic transmission system is critical for your vehicle to run well and requires proper maintenance and attention to keep it running. Most people don’t realize that their automatic transmission could cost more than the engine if it needs to be replaced. Therefore, it is essential that you listen, smell, and see if any of the following symptoms are present and get them taken care of before they turn severe.

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Shaking/Grinding Sensation While in Gear

Usually, the automatic transmission should operate smoothly when you shift between the gears. You should not feel slipping, grinding, or shaking when the car shifts gears. However, if your transmission is having problems, it’s easy to ignore these seemingly insignificant symptoms. However, it’s best to pay close attention right now because it’s just going to get worse the more you use the vehicle. If you already experience jarring sensations while shifting, you should take it to a trusted mechanic. If the gears are damaged, it’s just going to get worse.

Vehicle Doesn’t Respond/Engage While in Gear

When you initially put your vehicle into reverse or drive, it should respond quickly without delay. Sometimes, the transmission doesn’t engage at all if you put it into reverse or drive. These issues signal that there is a problem. It might indicate that the fluid has degraded and is too thick, which means you should visit your auto repair shop for a fluid exchange.

However, the delays and no shifting at all can indicate a computer system issue. Sometimes, it is possible to reset the vehicle’s computer to solve the problem. You can easily do this yourself. Just disconnect your vehicle battery for about 30 minutes. Reconnect the battery, and the computer should reset. Of course, this means you’re likely to have to reset the time and possibly your preset radio stations, but it’s a quick fix. If that doesn’t work, you should talk to a mechanic who specializes in transmissions.

Whining, Clunking, Humming While in Neutral

If you start hearing humming, clunking, and whining noises under the car, it could be the transmission. In most cases, it means that a minor issue is present, but it can indicate something more serious. Along with such, these noises can be indicative of a different system of the car altogether.

Sometimes, the noises coming from the transmission are caused by the transmission fluid breaking down too much. This fluid has to do a lot to keep the mechanical components and gears lubricated. Over time, the fluid loses some protective properties, so it doesn’t stop friction as effectively. Friction damages the automatic transmission over time.

Along with such, clunking noises that appear to come from your transmission may indicate that an internal part is going out. If that happens, it’s essential that you talk to a mechanic with transmission knowledge immediately.

Noises coming from the transmission might be relatively easy to fix, such as fluid issues, but can be more serious. It’s best to check the transmission fluid first. If it is low, add more and go to an auto repair shop to discuss the issue with a mechanic. Likewise, if you are unsure and require peace of mind, it’s always helpful to go to a mechanic.

Burning Smell While Driving

Your vehicle should never have a burning smell emanating from it, and this indicates that something is very wrong. The most common cause of that burning smell is fluid that has overheated. The transmission fluid has a vital role in protecting the complex and expensive system and helping it run properly. Primarily, the fluid is lubricating.

When the lubrication abilities diminish (which happens with mileage and time), friction is allowed to happen, which damages the parts. Friction breaks down the parts and can also cause debris and sludge to build up.

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Most Common Problems with an Automatic Transmission

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