Most people know that a huge grinding noise signals trouble with the transmission. In fact, that may be the only thing that people really associate with transmission trouble. However, there are actually a couple other signs of transmission problems that are considerably more subtle than that tortured-sounding grinding. Read on to find out two early warning signs of transmission trouble that you may not know about.
When Gears Are Slow to Engage
If the vehicle has a delayed response when you shift gears, or if it seems to have trouble engaging when you shift, it is a sign that the transmission may be starting to fail. Your vehicle should always shift cleanly and smoothly, with no hesitation.
The lack of engagement typically means that the parts are becoming worn. In automatic transmissions, this problem may often be serious enough to warrant a new transmission. In manual transmissions, it typically just means that it’s time to replace the clutch.
The second you notice this issue, see a transmission repair expert (such as one from Goodeal Lifetime Transmissions). The earlier you catch the issue, the less expensive it may be to repair it.
That Burned Odor
A burned odor emanating from your vehicle is never a good thing, but many people dismiss it because the smell may come and go. Often, the burned smell may happen only when the vehicle has been running for a while, or when the weather is particularly hot. The reason for this odor is often overheated transmission fluid, especially if the fluid is old.
The main job of the transmission fluid is keeping all the moving parts of the transmission properly lubricated. Over time, transmission fluid begins to break down if it’s not changed, so you should typically change the fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.
Old transmission fluid is very susceptible to hot weather, but even newer transmission fluid may suffer a bit in extra hot weather. The hotter it is, the less able the fluid is to lubricate the transmission smoothly. If a vehicle is run at a high speed for hours on the hottest day of the year, the burning smell may begin even if a vehicle is newer.
When the burning smell occurs, you should stop driving as soon as possible and have your transmission looked at. If you ignore the smell, the transmission fluid will continue to degrade. This will make the whole transmission eventually quit functioning.
If you catch this problem early, it can be very simple to resolve. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a quick fluid change or a top-off of the existing transmission fluid.
There is no reason to take a chance on long-term damage for something that may be easy to fix now. Be sure to call your transmission repair shop as soon as you note either of the early warning signs above.