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What Are The Symptoms of a Failing Transmission

Symptoms of a Faulty Transmission

Diagnosing and recognizing the signs of a faulty transmission is crucial to determining ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission.’ By being aware of transmissions repairs that can turn into serious issues, you can prevent, catch, or repair these problems before they worsen and damage other parts in your vehicle.

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Lack of Response – Symptoms of a Failing Transmission

If you find that your car is hesitating, stalling, or unable to shift into the proper gear at the right moment, then you may find that your transmission is in trouble. If you have issues with shifting, whether due to electrical, hydraulic, or mechanical system concerns, then you need to start performing regular maintenance. Scheduled maintenance can help you answer the question of ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission?’


The expensive repairs can often be avoided by bringing your car to a mechanic at regular intervals to change the transmission fluid and have the mechanic inspect the internal parts. For example, doing a fluid flush or solenoid replacement is much less expensive than other transmission-related concerns. 


By figuring out the answer to ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission,’ you can stick to scheduled maintenance and pay for less-severe problems, instead of waiting for the transmission issues to worsen over time. 

Strange Sounds

If you hear a buzzing, clunking, or other strange noises coming from under the hood, it is time to get your transmission or engine checked by a mechanic. Although vehicle noises will differ depending on the make, model, and year, you still need to consider these noises as serious signs of a bad transmission.


When trying to answer ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission,’ you need to be able to decipher the noises coming from under the hood in your car. If this is a new sound and you have never heard it before while driving, you should bring your car to a dealership or group of licensed mechanics as soon as you can. While you analyze the sound, determine if this is a humming, buzzing, whining, or clunking.


If you hear any of these sounds, then you have a sign of a bad transmission. These sounds are most commonly attributed to premature transmission failure sounds, since any part that is not working correctly in the mechanism can lead to movement – and, therefore, loud noises.

Leaking Transmission Fluid – Symptoms of a Failing Transmission

Transmission fluid is crucial to the inner workings of the transmission, lubricating, and ensuring the parts can smoothly move without excessive friction and overheating. However, if the fluid leaks or the fluid level is too low to lubricate the parts properly, you will suffer from a lack of gear engagement, bright red fluid pooling beneath your car, or overheating.


As a car owner, you may need to ask yourself ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission’ to keep your car running at a healthy level and prevent any safety issues. By regularly topping up your transmission fluid and preventing burnt fluid, you can keep your engine and transmission working optimally.


If the leaking fluid is dark brown or black, then you may also have the signs of a bad transmission that deal with burnt fluid. In this case, internal failure has already occurred in your car, and replacing the fluid will not solve the problem. In this case, you must replace the transmission altogether. 

Grinding or Jerking Transmission

Shaking, grinding, or jerking are obvious signs of bad transmission that will alert drivers to something off in the transmission mechanism. Gear grinding is a common symptom in manual transmission failure, while hesitating during gear shifting is an obvious sign in automatic cars.


Deciphering ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission’ can help you figure out why your car shakes while you shift gears, accelerate, or decelerate. Engine and transmission mounts typically clunk and jerk while shifting, so the best way to diagnose these signs of a bad transmission is to bring your car to a mechanic as soon as you hear any treacherous noises.

Burning Smell – Symptoms of a Failing Transmission

Along with the low fluid levels and fluid leaking, burnt transmission fluid is one of the most common bad transmission signs. If there is fluid leakage and a burning odor, your transmission is probably overheating due to lack of lubrication, clutch contamination, and breakdown of sludge in the system.


If you have not recently serviced your vehicle for a transmission fluid flush or fluid refill, then the lack of regular maintenance is a common culprit for the burning smell. But ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission’ when it comes to the burning smell under the hood?


All drivers should know that when the automatic transmission fluid is burning, it lets out a strong smell that resembles burning rubber. Although you should pay attention to any strange odors in your car, the burning smell is one of the most noticeable signs of a bad transmission in your car. 

Gears Slipping

One of the most common symptoms of a failing transmission is a grinding or shaking sensation in your gear, gears slipping, or the car not engaging at all when you go to change gears while on the road. Gears slipping is a problematic and serious issue that can cause acceleration concerns and performance problems while driving at high speeds.


If you find that your car loses traction and slips out of gear while trying to speed up or slow down, this is a serious safety concern that all drivers should immediately take notice of. If your transmission is slipping while you are behind the wheel, bring your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.


When looking at ‘what are the symptoms of a faulty transmission,’ you need to be able to tell if something is wrong with your car’s computer or your gears. If the computer in your vehicle, either the powertrain control module or electronic control module, tells your transmission when to shift gears – and it is incorrect – this can cause the signal to not be sent properly and lead to gear change concerns.


If your car’s automatic transmission is slipping, visit a mechanic right away without wasting any time.  

Can you drive with a faulty transmission? – Symptoms of a Failing Transmission

When asking yourself ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission,’ a vehicle with a problematic transmission, should not be driven for various reasons. These reasons range in severity, from a slight decline in performance, to completely failing while driving at high speeds. 


When you notice the signs of a bad transmission, the mechanism could spontaneously shift into various gears. Sporadic shifting can cause your car to either lurch forward or stop moving altogether, increasing the risk of an accident or a crash. These lurches in your car can wreak havoc on your transmission system, helping answer the question of ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission?’

Transmission Repair Cost

To best understand ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission,’ it is imperative that drivers on the road today understand how expensive transmission repairs and replacements can be for their wallets. On the low end of the wide spectrum, paying for a transmission replacement will be around $1,500, while on the high end of the price spectrum, owners can expect to pay around $3,500. 


For easier repairs and services on the transmission, a transmission flush will cost on average around $90. The average price of a fluid change will range between $150 and $250, while a transmission with a higher quart volume can cost upwards of $240 at a mechanic's shop. 


When looking at what are the symptoms of a failing transmission, drivers will find that the sooner they recognize and fix any problems, the better. This way, you can perform routine maintenance and easy fixes, like refreshing the fluid, instead of paying for expensive replacements in your transmission. 


If you wait too long, you may have to pay for a transmission rebuild. In this case, you will spend between $1,100 and $2,800 for a working transmission just to keep your car on the road. The average price is around $2,250, which is thousands more than refreshing your fluid levels!


Furthermore, if you replace your transmission completely, you could pay upwards of $3,400, which is one of the most expensive repairs in the entire car. Even though a remanufactured transmission is a slightly less expensive part, costing around $2,350, the average price could go upwards of $3,400. To keep costs low, adhere to a strict maintenance routine to keep your car healthy and on the road. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the transmission is one of the most important and imperative parts of your car. If you find that your transmission is not working correctly, you will not be able to shift gears, you may find that you are leaking transmission fluid, and the extensive damage will surely lead to premature transmission failure. To prevent this from happening, you need to answer the question of ‘what are the symptoms of a failing transmission?’ 

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