What are the signs of a bad automatic transmission?
What is a Transmission?
Another name for a car’s transmission, is a car’s gearbox. A transmission is the component that helps to turn the engine’s power into something the car is able to use on a regular basis. Without a transmission, you would basically sit in your car with the engine running and you headed nowhere.
The Different Kinds of Transmissions
A manual transmission, also has the name of manual gearbox. Others may refer to it as a standard transmission, gearbox or a stick shift. This kind of transmission is utilized in motor vehicle applications. A manual transmission also uses a driver-operated clutch, generally engaged by a hand lever or a foot pedal.
Automatic Manual Transmission
An automatic manual transmission has an automatic clutch. The driver can change gears without operating a clutch pedal. Instead of a clutch pedal, actuators, sensors and processors do the job.
The dual-clutch transmission is a variation on an automated manual transmission. Not only does it look after the operation of the clutch but the gear changes too. Each clutch takes care of either even or odd-numbered sets. The entire objective is to pre-select the next gear, own up as the driver activates the previous gear. This means that when a driver initiates the next change, that changes happens instantly without any interruption in progress or even power.
Signs of a Bad Automatic Transmission
A bad automatic transmission normally presents a series of signs and symptoms that can be easily identified with careful attention. What follows is a brief description of some of the most common signs of a bad automatic transmission.
An automatic transmission that slips in and out of gear while driving is a classic sign of a bad transmission. An automatic transmission has a series of gears(normally between 4 and 5) designed for various engine speeds and loads. An automatic transmission that slips between gears affects vehicle performance and is a sign of impending transmission failure.
A bad or faulty automatic transmission will often spin without providing any forward vehicle movement. This normally happens when an automatic transmission clutch fails to properly engage the transmission gears with the engine crankshaft, resulting in a spinning or freewheeling condition.
Transmission lag is defined as a delay in transmission action or engagement. When a vehicle is accelerated, a transmission that lags will fail to engage for a few seconds before “kicking” into gear. Transmission lag normally happens during acceleration from a complete stop.
Burned Transmission Fluid
Normal transmission fluid is pinkish in color and almost transparent. A bad automatic transmission will often burn and/or char automatic transmission fluid and turn the fluid almost black; many times there will actually be a burned, smoky smell to the fluid as well.
Severe Transmission Fluid Leaks
An automatic transmission that leaks a large amount of transmission fluid, whether during normal vehicle operation or when a vehicle is parked, is a sign of a bad automatic transmission.
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
It seems intuitive that if you hear weird noises when the car should be shifting, that the transmission is acting up. But would you suspect it if things were going “bump” in neutral? Yes, it could be the transmission.
Such sounds could have a simple and inexpensive solution — as with many of the problems on our list, adding or replacing the transmission fluid sometimes does the trick. Bear in mind that as is the case with engine oil, different vehicles do best with the specific formulation called for in the owner’s manual.
Alternatively, lots of noises from the transmission while it’s in neutral could signal something more serious, like mechanical wear that will need the replacement of parts. In this case, common culprits are a worn reverse idler gear or worn bearings, possibly coupled with worn gear teeth
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Believe it or not, there are still quite a few people out there who practice the fading art of shifting manually, with a foot pedal and a “stick” gearshift, and who do so willingly.
Despite their somewhat simpler operation, manual transmissions nonetheless have their share of things that can go wrong. One potential problem is that the transmission refuses to budge when you depress the clutch pedal and attempt to move the stick shifter.
It may happen when trying to get into first gear from a stop, or at any point up and down the assorted gears. Common causes include low transmission fluid, wrong viscosity (thickness) of fluid, or required adjusting of the shift cables or clutch linkage.
Checking your car’s transmission fluid with the dipstick is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways you can help prolong the life of your transmission. If you have rear-wheel drive, it is located toward the rear of an in-line engine. If your vehicle has front wheel drive, the transmission fluid dipstick will be sticking out of the transaxle. Please refer to your owner’s manual guide for further help. With your car in neutral or park, let your engine run until it is warm before pulling the dipstick out (Do not turn your engine off). To check the fluid color, rub in between your index finger and thumb. The fluid should be pinkish and almost clear. If the fluid is a brownish color and has a burnt toast smell it can no longer dissipate the heat the transmission generates and needs to be changed.To check fluid level insert dipstick, wipe it clean, and examine level marks and then insert it again. The fluid should be between two marks labeled either “full” and “add” or “hot” and “cold”. If the level is not full, you will need to top off your transmission fluid. Be careful not to add too much. If the level is too high it will cause the fluid to churn and aerate, creating air bubbles, that can trap heat and make the fluid run hotter.Not sure what type of transmission fluid to choose? Come to Pep Boys and choose from a variety of products or make an appointment.
Manual and automatic transmissions respond differently when they are malfunctioning. It is important to recognize any odd sounds your transmission might be making to avoid further complications. If you have a manual transmission, a common warning sign is a very abrupt grinding noise or feeling when you shift into a new gear. Experiencing a grinding noise after fully engaging a clutch and shift may mean you have worn clutch or might have to get it adjusted. Also, your transmissions gear synchronizers may be worn out or damaged.