Modern cars and trucks are incredibly durable and with the right care and maintenance can provide many years of dependable service. Yet, like all of us, they eventually start needing some major repairs as they age. Most of the time it’s easy to know when you need some repair or replacements. Your transmission is one of the most important components of your vehicle, yet many car owners are uncertain of how to tell when their transmission is telling them that it’s time for a rebuild or a complete replacement. Here are some indications that your transmission might be getting ready to bite the dust.
How To Know If It’s Time For A New Transmission Or Rebuild
- Your warning light comes on: This is the simplest and most obvious way to spot problem. Yet too many people tend to ignore it or hope it goes away when they light up. That’s just asking for trouble. Always have a trained technician run a test to diagnose the issue.
- Listen to your transmission: Although they may be subtle, when a transmission is ailing, you’ll notice the symptoms if you pay attention. Listen for any grinding or rumbling as the gears change, or for a high whistling sound from the engine compartment. Any type of unusual sound coming from the transmission is a sign it needs to be checked out.
- Hard shifting or slipping: With a manual transmission, you may start to notice that it becomes harder to change gears, or that the shifter pops out of gear. With an automatic transmission, you might experience a slipping of gears while you’re driving, when you’re suddenly not in gear for a few moments, or a loud thunk when you put it in drive. These signs might indicate a low fluid level or another drive train problem, but they need to be addressed immediately.
- Check for fluid leaks: Any time a car or truck is leaking fluid it’s not good. Pay attention to any puddles or stains underneath your car and try to ascertain where it’s coming from. Often it can be hard to determine where a leak is coming from because the fluid can travel across parts and the frame and seem to be coming from somewhere else. Place a pan underneath the leak overnight and take the result to your mechanic to have it analyzed.
- Check your transmission fluid: You should be doing this on a fairly regular basis to ensure the level is correct. When you do, take notice of any burnt smell or if the fluid appears cloudy or brown. Healthy fluid will be a transparent bright red and have a syrupy thickness.
All of these indicators are signs that something is wrong with your transmission. It might not be a problem that requires a rebuild or a replacement, but it’s vitally important that you address the issue as soon as possible to avoid costly damage.