5 Types of Transmission Problems: What Do They Mean?

The automatic transmission in a vehicle is a critical system that requires proper care and attention to ensure long-lasting operation. Many drivers aren’t aware that an automatic transmission may cost more to replace than the engine. This makes it clear that understanding the signs of a problem and when repairs are needed is essential to keep it working properly for longer.

1. Shaking and Grinding Sensation when Going in Gear

A driver can visit Telle Tire & Auto Centers to learn about transmission issues. However, it is also good to know some of the most common problems. When working properly, an automatic transmission should shift from one gear to another smoothly. There shouldn’t be any shaking, slipping, or grinding sensations when this gear switch occurs.

If a transmission is beginning to experience problems, the symptom may seem insignificant. It’s best to pay attention now because the problem will continue to get worse as the vehicle is driven. If significant jarring sensations are being felt when shifting the car into gear, it’s essential to get it to a mechanic. They can examine the vehicle to see what the issue is.


Usually, if an automatic transmission has gears that are damaged, the problem will only get worse. This is one of the most serious transmission issues, and timely repair is crucial.

2. The Vehicle Doesn’t Respond or Engage When Put in Gear

When putting the vehicle into reverse or drive, notice if it responds right away or if there is a delay. Does the transmission engage at all when it is put into gear? Both are problems that indicate a repair is needed.

The issue may lie with the fluid. If the fluid’s protective properties have degraded, and it has thickened, problems may arise. If this is the case, a simple fluid change may remedy the problem.

In other situations, the issue may be related to the vehicle’s computer system. Sometimes, resetting the vehicle’s computer can fix the issue. This can be done by disconnecting the vehicle’s battery for approximately 30 minutes, allowing it to reset.

If the issue isn’t fixed after that, a mechanic can determine the problem. When an automatic transmission cannot engage or there is a delay when shifting into any gear, seek help right away. While the issue may seem small, it may get worse and cost several thousand dollars to repair.

3. Makes Clunky, Humming, or Whining Sounds

If a driver notices a new, unusual clunking, humming, or whining sound under the hood suddenly, it could be because of a transmission problem. While the issue may be minor, it could signal something more serious is going on.

Some sounds that come from the vehicle’s transmission can be because of the fluid starting to break down. The fluid has a big job keeping many gears and components lubricated properly. As time passes, the fluid will lose the protective properties and cannot stop the friction.

It is the friction that causes damage to the complex parts in an automatic transmission. If a driver hears these unusual sounds and believes it’s the transmission, there could be a problem with an internal component. While the transmission is a sealed system, if the moving parts inside break or malfunction, problems may occur.

4. A Burning Smell

There should never be a burning odor coming from a vehicle. If there is, it’s a cause for concern. One of the most common reasons a burning smell comes from a vehicle is because the transmission fluid has become overheated.

The role of this fluid is crucial to proper operation. Its purpose is to protect the complicated and expensive system and ensure it runs smoothly. This is the lubrication that helps everything work.

If the lubricating abilities of the transmission fluid are diminished, which is something that may occur with mileage and time, friction between all the parts may occur. This friction may cause the parts to breakdown, and the buildup of debris can create a sludge-like substance. Combined, all these issues can cause a total transmission breakdown.

If this happens, drivers have an inconvenient and expensive repair to make. Sometimes, the issue is that the fluid level in the transmission is low. This is usually because of a leak because unlike the motor oil, transmission fluid amounts don’t go down.

5. Slipping Gears

If a vehicle slips out of the proper gear or if it loses traction when it’s needed, this is a safety issue. When gears slip while a person is driving, and they need to give the vehicle gas to go, it can be scary.

It’s the responsibility of the vehicle’s computer to let the transmission know when it’s time to shift from one gear to the next. It also tells the vehicle when to send power to the wheels. If something isn’t working properly, there’s something wrong.

Safety is a top priority for any driver. If the gears in a vehicle have started to slip, getting it to a mechanic right away is best. This could cause dangerous driving conditions and even lead to a serious accident. It’s not worth the risk.

Solving the Most Common Transmission Problems

While some drivers may put off going to a mechanic because they are concerned about the cost of transmission repair, they shouldn’t put it off. Not only is the issue going to get worse, but it will also cost more to have repaired. By taking the vehicle in for repairs immediately, it’s possible to mitigate the damage and have the problem fixed for a much more affordable cost.

Remember, finding the right mechanic is crucial. Be sure to find someone who has experience with automatic transmission issues and who offers a guarantee for the work they do. By doing this, a driver can have peace of mind the issues will be fixed.

The transmission of a vehicle is responsible for making it move. If the transmission is not operating properly, the issue can eventually create other problems, including issues with the engine and other vehicle components.

Leave a Reply