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The Warning Signs of a Transmission Slipping (And What To Do About It)

Being one of the most important components of your vehicle, understand the signs and causes of a transmission slipping that shouldn't be ignored.

AAMCO Garden Grove  | 12/04/2019  | Transmission Advice

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The Warning Signs of a Transmission Slipping (And What To Do About It)

The transmission of your vehicle is like the brain of a human body. It makes sure that the car only puts out the necessary power to drive at a particular speed. 

Needless to say, it's a very important piece to the car and should be given the proper amount of care to maintain its function.

What you may not realize is that there are several warning signs of a car's transmission slipping away. It's important to know what they are and to keep an eye on them when you start to see signs.

Here are several warning signs that your transmission needs to see a mechanic right away!

What's That Smell?

To the untrained nose, a car has many different smells to it. The new car smell, the smell of gasoline, the smell of diesel, etc. Many of those are good scents, but there are bad ones as well.

Generally, if your car has a bad-smelling odor in it, it's a sign that something is wrong. You should bring it to your mechanic as soon as possible anytime this happens.

However, if you're looking for a definition of what a faulty transmission smells like specifically, it's often a smell of something burning.

Granted, that smell could be happening for several reasons. Things like an electrical short circuit or gasket oil leak could also be the culprit.

If you don't have much experience with cars, assume the worst and run to a trusted transmission repair shop.

If the smell is pertaining to the transmission, it could be a sign of burnt transmission fluid, lack of transmission fluid or your car could need the transmission fixed as a whole.

Lagging

If you choose to ignore all of the other indications on this list, the one you can't deny is when a car's natural movement is being hindered.

The transmission's sole purpose is to create a smooth drive by shifting the gears as fast and efficiently as possible. If the car is lagging behind for a moment when the gears shift, it's obviously not working up to its capabilities.

Your transmission isn't the only culprit involved in a car delaying its movement, but odds are that it's involved somehow.

Get yourself set up with a bi-monthly checkup to keep a close eye on the transmission and its surrounding parts. The entire engine is a fickle thing and needs all hands on deck when operating!

Warning Lights

You may be thinking to yourself I have zero experience with vehicle parts, how am I supposed to know what to look for?

Thankfully, you live in a time where your car's software will do a majority of that surveillance for you. If it detects something is awry, it will alert you in the form of a warning light on your dashboard.

The tricky part is, it may not always know how to properly identify the source of the problem. It also may not have the proper light on it to specify the transmission as the main dilemma.

The most common light associated with transmission trouble is your check engine light. It will alert you that something is off and needs to be tended to.

If your check engine light doesn't automatically send you running for the hills, consider this — transmission replacements can cause up to $3,400. If you don't get the problem fixed soon then you'll pay the price down the line.

Did You Hear That?

Fitting that 4 of the 5 basic senses (sight, smell, touch, and hearing) can all be used as key indicators of what's wrong with your car.

If you've just purchased your new vehicle, you may not be as familiar with how it normally runs and the smells associated with the car, especially if it's used.

However, you can always tell when the car makes a sound it isn't supposed to.

These sounds range from chalkboard-scratching sounds that pierce the ears of all civilians that you drive by on the road to almost silent "whirring" sounds.

Nevertheless, they're all signs that something is wrong. The transmission sounds are especially noticeable since they're gear grinding sounds that you can also feel as it switches gears.

The sounds will start off gradual but eventually worsen if you don't get it taken care of as soon as possible. It's not one of those situations where you'll be unsure ... you'll know that something is wrong.

Puddles of Fluid

Have you been noticing small puddles under your car when you drive away for work in the morning? 

Obviously, a puddle is a sign of a leak, which won't ever happen unless something is wrong with a part of your car.

A leak from the transmission is especially harmful because its fluid acts as a lubricant for all of your gears. Take your car to a transmission expert right away.

Most importantly, do NOT fill the car with more transmission fluid. You may cause more harm by overfilling it when the amount of fluid isn't the problem. Don't try to shortcut it, schedule an appointment instead.

Solve Your Transmission Slipping Issues

Every driver deals with the transmission slipping at some point during their years of owning a vehicle. It's just part of the car circle of life.

Be sure to read this article on the details of automatic transmission service for an in-depth look at what to expect for your servicing needs.

For more inquiries, please reach out via our contact us page and we'll be happy to talk through our service more in-depth.

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