Of all that can go wrong with a car, transmission issues elicit the most fear of drivers. They imagine thousands in repair costs, weeks driving a rental, and more than a few headaches along the way. Since a vehicle’s transmission is one of the more elaborate components, this panic is not without merit, and while you should never ignore signs that your vehicle is in distress, here are a few of the more serious symptoms to look out for.
The Check Engine Light Comes On
Okay, this one’s a no-brainer. When this light comes on, your car wants you to know something is amiss. However, many people brush this off as a casual suggestion and go about driving for days or weeks until one day the car won’t start. Since any mechanic can run a quick diagnostic test, there’s no reason not have it checked out.
You Notice a Fluid Leak
With the transmission consisting of more than 800 parts housed in a tightly sealed case, a leak means trouble. If you see bright/dark red or brown fluid on the ground under your car, it may mean a transmission leak, and you should see a mechanic immediately.
The Transmission Slips
When the transmission slips, you’ll notice a sound change in the engine. For example, it may start at a low rumble and shift into a high-pitch cry or suddenly increase the RPMs while driving the same speed. On the other hand, you may feel too little power when upshifting. No matter the change, the vehicle will feel off. If this happens, take it in for service as soon as possible, as transmission slippage can pose immediate danger.
It Becomes Difficult to Shift
If an automatic transmission is in distress, it might seem like your car has to fight to run. Gears might refuse to shift; acceleration may prove difficult. Pay attention to any strange sounds during a gear shift, as they usually mean trouble.
Delay in Shifting
You may not hear the noise while shifting but instead feel hesitation. For instance, there may be a delay when you go from Park to Drive. When you hit the gas, the engine might rev while the vehicle strains to move forward. This hesitation could indicate a transmission malfunction.
As a crucial component of your vehicle, the transmission must be kept in prime shape. At the first sign of dysfunction, don’t hesitate to call a professional.