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4 Signs Your Transmission May Need Repair

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Your transmission is one of the parts of your vehicle that is most susceptible to wear and tear as you constantly shift gears on the road. Fortunately, many of the problems that can occur with a vehicle transmission will have noticeable symptoms before the transmission fails. Here are four signs that your transmission may need repair that every driver should be aware of.

Transmission Fluid Leaking

Your transmission is a closed system, which means that you should never have to add new transmission fluid under normal circumstances. If you see red fluid leaking under your vehicle, this is transmission fluid. It is likely that the leak is coming from a failed seal around the axle, a failing transmission pan gasket, or a transmission line or hose. Even if there is no apparent leak, you should check your transmission fluid level regularly to make sure there are no hidden leaks.

It is a good idea to inspect the quality of your transmission fluid at the same time you are checking the fluid level. If your transmission is still in good shape, the fluid will be bright red and clear. Dark, murky, or burnt-smelling fluid can indicate a problem with your system, and you should have a mechanic flush the transmission and look for signs of damage.

Rough Shifting

A healthy transmission is one that shifts smoothly through every gear. If your vehicle is difficult to shift, or you hear grinding or clunking while shifting, it is a clear sign of a problem. Rough shifting typically occurs when the clutch does not disengage completely from the flywheel, causing it to continue spinning while changing gears.

Rough shifting is always alarming, but it doesn't always mean that your transmission will need to be replaced. One of the most common fixes for this problem is replacing the clutch only. The new clutch will detach from the flywheel properly and allow your transmission to shift smoothly. However, if a new clutch does not fix the problem, your transmission is likely suffering from serious wear, and replacement may be the only option.

Delay Before Shifting

In addition to smooth shifting, quick shifting is the most important indicator of your transmission's health. Your transmission should respond immediately when you attempt to change gears in a manual vehicle, or when the computer changes gears in an automatic. A delay in changing gears can be detected if you hear your engine revving up, but your vehicle does not accelerate. Like rough shifting, shift delay can sometimes be repaired by replacing the transmission clutch.

Slipping Gears

Gear slipping is one of the most dangerous things that can go wrong with your transmission. If you find yourself in a situation where you need power to the wheels quickly to avoid an accident, a slipping transmission can prevent your vehicle from responding quickly enough. If you notice slipping gears while driving, it is essential that you have your transmission inspected as soon as possible.

It can be difficult to estimate the cost of repairing a slipping transmission because this problem can occur due to a number of different issues. The cause may be as simple as low or burnt transmission fluid, in which case the leak will need to be patched and the transmission will need to be flushed and refilled. In other cases, slipping may occur when one or more of the links that hold the transmission gears together breaks. These links, known as transmission bands, will need to be individually replaced.

If you understand the symptoms that accompany common transmission problems, you can have your vehicle repaired before more serious damages occur.