Transmission Warning Signs

Transmission Warning Signs

Warning Signs You Might Need Transmission Repairs

We work on all makes and models

Your car’s transmission moves the power generated by the engine to the drive wheels. Problems with your transmission can lead to serious issues, so here are a few symptoms of a troubled transmission. There are two types of transmissions, manual (or stick shift) and automatic, and the warning signs are a little different for each.

Let’s get one obvious warning sign out of the way first: the check engine light. Now, the check engine light can come on for many reasons, and only some of those involve the transmission. ACA Auto can use a diagnostic scan tool to get a code from your car’s computer that will reveal what the computer is detecting in your car. Still, if you see the light along with some of the other signs of transmission trouble, it’s probably a good idea to have someone take a look at your transmission.

Physical Signs

There a couple of clues you may notice when you’re outside of the car, specifically concerning the look and smell of transmission fluid. The fluid should be bright red, transparent, and slightly sweet smelling in automatic transmissions, and manual fluid can be red, green, or even blackish. If the fluid is difficult to see through, that can be evidence that the fluid needs to be replaced.

A burning smell coming from underneath your car can also be a sign that you need to change your fluid, or a sign that the transmission is overheating.

Signs You May Notice While Driving

One clear symptom of transmission trouble is having problems changing gears or staying in one gear. This can include having trouble getting your car up to speed, unexpected shifts, delays when shifting between gears, and even the car attempting to move while in park. If you have problems like these, it’s clearly a safety concern as well.

If you notice shaking (in automatic transmissions) or grinding (in manual) when changing gears, it can very often be evidence of transmission issues. The grinding in stick shifts can be a sign of a worn clutch or sometimes issues unrelated to the transmission.


The sounds your car makes can also be a signal of potential issues. If your car is noisy when in neutral, that is a sign that something (though not always the transmission) isn’t working properly.

In an automatic transmission, pay attention to whines, hums, and buzzes, especially when you shift from reverse to drive. In a manual, you should note clunks when you shift gears. Some sounds are to be expected when you’re using your car normally, but the most important thing is to note when sounds change and start to happen more often.

Transmissions have a reputation for being expensive repairs, but many of these issues can be addressed with simpler solutions like adding or changing transmission fluid. Letting these problems go on over time can really damage your transmission, so be sure to give the professionals at ACA Auto a visit or call at 562.421.1905.

Written by ACA Automotive