Your vehicle’s transmission plays a crucial role in its operation. Without a properly functioning transmission, your vehicle won’t be able to shift gears smoothly, so your wheels won’t get the power they need to achieve the speed you want—pretty important stuff. Common symptoms of transmission issues include a delayed vehicle response after shifting gears, shaking within the car, grinding or slipping when the car shifts gears, and burnt smells coming from under your vehicle’s hood. If your vehicle is experiencing transmission problems, it’s important to get to the root of the issue. While there are dozens of potential causes, these are some of the most common reasons for transmission problems.
Low transmission fluid
One of the most common causes of transmission problems is low transmission fluid, which may be the result of leakage, lack of maintenance, or age. Common symptoms of transmission issues caused by low transmission fluid include grinding gears, a delayed response when shifting gears, the transmission overheating, and the premature wearing down of the vehicle’s transmission.
If your vehicle is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to check your transmission fluid immediately. While low transmission fluid is typically an easy problem to fix if you catch it early, it can become a more serious issue if left untreated. In severe cases, when vehicles continue to drive with low transmission fluid for an extended period of time, the transmission can become dangerously overheated. As a result, internal transmission parts may sustain damage and cause total vehicle failure.
Poor quality or contaminated transmission fluid
In addition to low transmission fluid, contaminated transmission fluid is another common cause of transmission problems. Even if there is plenty of fluid in your vehicle, it won’t be able to do its job properly if it isn’t in good condition.
If the transmission fluid has started to degrade or has become contaminated, the transmission will eventually stop working entirely. As such, it is important to check and change your vehicle’s transmission fluid regularly. In addition, you should also ensure that your vehicle’s transmission fluid filter is free from clogs, so it can effectively remove impurities from the fluid.
Another common reason for transmission problems, unique to cars with a manual transmission, is a worn clutch. Over time, the clutch in a vehicle with a manual transition may wear down as a result of leaks in the clutch, mechanical error, or a driver who shifts gears without removing their foot from the clutch. Whatever the cause, a worn clutch will often result in transmission issues.
Common signs that you have a worn clutch include a high-revving engine, transmission slipping, grinding gears when shifting, and the clutch pedal grabbing very low or high. If you notice such symptoms, make sure to get your vehicle’s clutch checked out and replaced to prevent dangerous and costly transmission problems.
Torque converter issues such as damaged roller bearings
When torque converter issues occur, they can lead to several other vehicle problems, such as transmission damage or failure.
Often, an improperly functioning torque converter will cause the needle bearings in a vehicle to become worn or damaged. A vehicle’s needle bearings are responsible for preventing gears from grinding in an automatic transmission. As such, a common sign of worn or damaged needle bearings is the sound of grinding or brushing noises from the transmission of a vehicle that is in a driving gear. Such sounds will likely cease when your vehicle is in neutral.
When you hear grinding or brushing sounds, it often indicates that your transmission gears are wearing down. As such, you should take measures to determine if torque converter issues, such as damaged roller bearings, are the cause and take measures to prevent further damage.
Worn manual transmission synchronizers
If your vehicle has a manual transmission system, your transmission issue could be the result of worn manual transmission synchronizers.
A manual transmission synchronizer is a component of the transmission that ensures that the gear a car is about to shift into spins at the same speed as the gear it was shifting from. In other words, they are responsible for allowing your vehicle to transition quickly and smoothly between gears.
When these manual transmission synchronizers become worn, they may result in transmission failure if left untreated. Common signs of a worn manual transmission synchronizer include a sticking gear shifter when trying to change gears, a delayed vehicle response or sputtering when changing gears, or an otherwise rough gear shifting experience. If you notice such symptoms, it’s important to get your vehicle’s manual transmission synchronizers checked to prevent transmission failure.
Transmission solenoid issues
Other vehicle components that could be the source of your transmission issues if they aren’t operating correctly are transmission solenoids, electro-hydraulic valves that control the flow of fluid into and throughout a vehicle’s automatic transmission system. Transmission solenoids may be located in the transmission valve body, the transmission control unity, or the transmission control module.
As previously stated, gears in the vehicle’s transmission must be thoroughly lubricated to prevent grinding, transmission overheating, gears slipping and surging, and a host of other transmission issues. As such, if the fluid doesn’t flow properly throughout a vehicle’s transmission system, several transmission issues will likely occur as a result. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that your vehicle’s transmission solenoids are operating effectively.
A common cause of transmission solenoid problems is insufficient fluid levels. Because the transmission solenoid receives power from a voltage or current provided by the transmission controller, electronic problems could also be the cause. Symptoms of solenoid issues will appear similar to those of low fluid levels such, as slipping transmission or a delayed response when shifting gears.
If your vehicle is experiencing transmission issues and needs repair or replacement, Transparts Warehouse can help. Since 1955, we’ve helped vehicle owners resolve their transmission issues—first, by running a local transmission shop, and now, as a leading retail provider of high-quality replacement transmission parts. Our inventory includes a wide variety of automatic and standard transmission parts, such as bearing kits, transmission kits, coolers, and other essentials. For more information regarding our exceptional products, contact our friendly sales team today.