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What are the symptoms of a Bad Transmission Control Module?

How To Sell A Car With A Bad Transmission

The transmission control module in your car is a key component of any car with an automatic transmission system. The automatic transmission is also known as self-shifting transmission, n-speed automatic, or AT, and is a type of vehicle that automatically changes the gear ratio as the vehicle moves forward, meaning that the driver does not have to manually shift gears. 

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A car’s transmission control module you should never need to replace your car if the parts are running correctly and the control module is not damaged. However, if you have signs of a bad transmission control module, then you will need immediate repair or replacement if necessary. This transmission module is basically the car’s computer that is in charge of talking to other computer systems in your car. 


The purpose of the car's transmission control module is to help the transmission choose the best gear at the given time, determining what kind of performance of the car depending on the terrain you are driving. This way, the driving performance and the fuel economy will be working at the correct level and ensure you are driving at the proper miles per gallon and the performance. 


If you're wondering where the transmission control module is located, then the control module can usually be found below the cover at the back of the transmission case, just below the engine control module’s position. The engine control module is the computer that interacts with the engine’s necessary ingredients in order to make enough energy, like fuel, air, and spark. The control unit monitors the sensors in the engine bay to make sure your vehicle is operating at the right level. If this is not working well, you will notice the symptoms of a bad transmission control module. 


If you have any issues with your transmission control module, you will need to bring your car to a mechanic right away to make sure the problems do not get any worse. If you notice symptoms of a bad tiramisu control module you will lack the ability to drive your car at an optimal performance. Fortunately for the diver, there are a few signs and symptoms of a bad transmission control module that you will notice before the problems get any worse. 

Check Engine Light 


Your check engine light can come on for a variety of reasons, like a poor oxygen sensor, the poor transmission control module, or a damaged mass air flow sensor. In this case, the check engine light can indicate the driver to symptoms of a bad transmission control module. If the check engine warning lights come on and you notice any problems with your shifting, then this is generally an issue with the transmission system. 


In any case, get your vehicle checked immediately by a local auto body shop or a mechanic. If you have your own scan tool, you can use the tool to check for any diagnostic trouble codes. Depending on the code that shows up, it could show you have symptoms of a bad transmission control module. 

Unpredictable Shifting


Since an automatic transmission system mainly relies on the transmission control module to do the shifting properly, then the bad transmission control module will cause incorrect or unintended shifting without meaning to, harming the performance. This can prove to be anything from a less serious problem to a severe accident. 


If your car shifts to neutral or another gear that it wouldn’t normally do without warning or without intending to, then your transmission control module will need to be replaced. Unless you have a manual override option, you will need to get your car towed to a repair shop and have the control module replaced if you notice signs of a bad transmission control module. 

Problems Shifting into Higher Gears 


As you gradually increase the speed while you are driving, your transmission should correctly and smoothly shift into higher gears at the right time during your performance. When this does not occur, you will notice signs of a bad transmission, like the engine’s RPMs steadily increasing instead of dropping during an upshift. Since each gear has a maximum speed you can go to, you might not be able to reach the intended speed if the transmission control module can’t shit into a higher gear. 

Problems Downshifting


This problem is similar to the issue of problems shifting into higher gears, but instead means that you can’t slow down in order to park, pass a moving vehicle, or make a turn, and your transmission control module might not be able to shift into a lower gear when you press the gas pedal to accelerate. 


If you notice symptoms of a bad transmission control module, you might still be in a high gear while you are driving – even though you are trying to come to a stop. When it’s time to start accelerating and revving your engine to start again, you will be in a gear that is too high for proper acceleration, preventing the car from even moving. 

Stuck in Same Gear


If your car is having trouble being stuck in the same gear without moving, then you have symptoms of a bad transmission control module. This usually shows itself in your car or your transmission being stuck in neutral or first gear. The transmission won't shift and you will not be able to drive anywhere, since your car is stuck in neutral, or you will be limited by the speed of the first gear, which can be too slow for many performance occasions. The speed of the vehicle usually relies on the gear shifting in order to get appropriate timing, meaning that if you notice the symptoms of a bad transmission control module, the cycle will occur too slowly.

Poor Fuel Economy


Problems with your transmission system usually result in a bad fuel economy and poor miles per gallon. An automatic transmission is designed for the best gear selection and timing to make sure you can have the best fuel economy and present signs of a bad transmission control module. If you have a transmission control module that is damaged and affects the gear timing, then your engine will end up working harder than usual, possibly overheating and causing additional friction. 

Replacement Cost of Bad Transmission Control Module 


The replacement cost of a transmission control module depending on the symptoms of a bad transmission control module usually range anywhere from $500 to $900. The parts cost alone will be around $450 to $700, while the total labor costs will be between $50 to $200. 


If you order a new transmission control module online and ask a local mechanic as to what their hourly labor rates are, you can try to find the lowest price possible for replacing a bad transmission control module. However, the main cost of the replacement job goes towards the cost of the parts itself. 

Repair Cost of Bad Transmission Control Module 


Another option is to repair the transmission control module, with the overall repair cost coming out to much less than the replacement of a new transmission control module. On average, you will pay around $300 to repair the module, which is much less than a full replacement. 

Bad Transmission Control Module Main Symptoms

When your transmission control module is damaged and you are noticing signs of a bad transmission control module, there are many different ways that the car will alert you and tell the driver. Some of the most common signs of a bad transmission are easily noticeable, and we will list a few here.


First, you might have very slow acceleration. It can take a lot longer for your car to pick up speed and get up to a highway speed, limiting the overall speed that you can get to in your vehicle. 


Second, the gears can slip and cause some transmission slippage as well. Your transmission might switch gears without warning or without you actually performing the gear shift manually. 


Third, there might be a complete inability to shift and get into higher gears, with the car not being able to shift out of neutral. Or, the other option is that your transmission can’t successfully shift up in gears while your acceleration on the highway or while you are downshifting when coming to a stop. 


Lastly, the car might have poor fuel economy and the miles per gallon might significantly decrease and be declined for absolutely no reason.  

Is It My Transmission Control Module or My ECM?


As we know, the symptoms of a bad transmission control module can be caused by various things, with one of these parts relating to the electronic engine’ s control module. It is key to know that even when you are having troubles with your transmission system, it is not recommended that you blame the computer right away without knowing the real cause of the symptoms of a hard transmission problem.


Some common signs that you have a bad transmission are a dramatic change in your miles per gallon fuel economy, your transmission solenoid trouble code showing up consistently, experiencing shift lock or random shifts, and getting stuck in neutral while shifting. 


You can determine if the real problem is your engine control module or if it is your transmission control module based on a few diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests could turn up various issues, like a sticky valve, bad transmission speed sensor, or a bad transmission control solenoid. These are all issues that might have to do with your engine control module instead of the transmission. 


To find out if you have any transmission problems or if you have any other problems besides the bad transmission, you might need to bring your vehicle to a dealership or a transmission specialist. 


Your transmission might not be the culprit behind your problems, and when a transmission control module fails to work properly, you might actually have an issue with your engine control module. 

Signs of Bad Transmission


Along with the symptoms of a bad transmission control module, there are also warning signs that you need to know about the transmission. As with any part of your car, early detection of these issues can prevent further and more serious damage to your car. 


Some of the early warning signs are a refusal to switch gears. If your vehicle struggles to change gears, then you might face a problem with your transmission system, such as low transmission fluid or debris in the fluid. 


In addition, there might be a burning smell coming from your car, being a key symptom of a bad transmission control module and transmission system, with the odor often indicating that your transmission is overheating or your fluid is burning. 


Furthermore, you might hear weird noises coming from your vehicle when your car is in neutral, being a key symptom of a bad transmission control module and transmission, with the noises indicating that you might need new transmission oil or a costly part replacement. 


Another key symptom of a bad transmission control module or transmission is your car slipping gears, which can be very dangerous on the road and requires you to bring your car to a local mechanic right away. 


Along with the transmission slipping and the problem with shifting gears, another problem is the dragging clutch. A dragging clutch fails to disengage the clutch disk from the vehicle when you press down on the clutch pedal, being a clear sign of the bad transmission control module and transmission system. 


In addition, the leaking transmission fluid is one of the easiest transmission problems that you can identify and notice in your car. If you notice a red fluid underneath your car in the garage, then this is a sign of a bad transmission control module and transmission system. 


Lastly, if you hear humming sounds coming from your transmission, or whining and clunking noises, these are key and crucial signs and symptoms of a bad transmission control module that you will need to get repaired right away. By noticing these symptoms of a bad transmission control module, you can keep your car working safely for a long lasting time. 


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