The transmission allows the car to shift between different gears to provide the needed power to move the engine at different speeds. It works by transmitting energy from the engine to the drive wheels. As important as it is, the transmission system is often overlooked, thinking it doesn’t need frequent service or any maintenance. Failing to maintain it may lead to damages of its components and eventually, transmission failure. So what happens when your transmission goes out? You will experience problems such as gears slipping, overheating, transmission fluid leaks, or you won’t be able to change gears or move your car at all.
What happens when your transmission goes out is you might need to spend thousands of dollars on repairs or replacement. Fortunately, the transmission does not fail all of the sudden, it can give off some warning signs that can alert the drivers if it becomes faulty. However, the problem needs to be addressed immediately since the problem can become worse quickly. Early signs of a bad transmission include burning smell, unusual sounds, fluid leak, slow or no response, shaking, illuminating check engine light, and clutch drag.
What Happens When Your Transmission Goes Out? – What are the Signs Your Transmission is Going Out?
If you ask what happens when your transmission goes out, it is most likely that your car will experience some transmission problems like your car won’t shift into gear or harsh shifting. It can happen since it is said the transmission is one of the most overlooked car components. Car owners won’t usually notice it unless it starts to show some issues. Keep in mind that transmissions need some service or maintenance too, just like the engine and brakes.
The transmission needs to be serviced to make sure that it is always in its top condition and to prevent premature failure. Transmission maintenance includes changing the transmission fluid based on the recommended fluid change interval set by your car’s manufacturer. It is usually done every 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the car you own and how the car is used. Transmission service also includes replacing faulty parts due to normal wear and tear.
Failing to do regular services or maintenance can result in damages to the transmission’s different parts and other parts of the car. Aside from that, normal wear and tear can also affect the health of the transmission which can ultimately cause your transmission to go out. So what happens when your transmission goes out? Like mentioned earlier, the transmission rarely goes out without alerting you first that there is something wrong with it. You will know when it is about to go out when you experience any of these symptoms:
- Transmission slipping
Transmission slipping is a more common occurrence on cars with an automatic transmission than the manual ones. This happens when the car engine revs but there seems to be no acceleration during driving. Most of the time, this problem means that the power created by the engine does not get transmitted to the wheels. Transmission slipping might be caused by a low transmission fluid level.
So basically, if you feel that your transmission is starting to slip, it could mean that although the engine is responding, you are not receiving the needed amount of traction from your car. You step on the gas pedal and your engine revs but there is a delay in acceleration. But when you finally get into gear, you will feel that the shift is jerky instead of a smooth one. You may also notice that your car will jump forward.
You will also know that you are experiencing transmission slipping when your RPM reads above 3,500. If this happens on a car with an automatic transmission, it can be caused by a low transmission fluid level. If your car has a manual transmission and this problem occurs, it might be caused by a worn out clutch.
- Leaking transmission fluid
The car’s transmission needs the right amount of transmission fluid since it needs lubrication to be able to function properly. The fluid should never leak since transmissions are sealed units. If you see a red, sweet-smelling fluid underneath your car, it can be an indication that you have a faulty transmission. To check if the leak is active, you can lay down some cardboard under your car. It will be easy to spot the transmission fluid because of its color and its sweet smell.
However, if the transmission fluid is old, it may have a dark brown or blackish color and a toasty smell. The dark color can also mean that the temperature has spiked up and you need to have your transmission checked and repaired immediately. A transmission fluid leak should never be ignored since the most common cause of transmission issues or failure is a low fluid level. The problem can become worse quickly. A simple fix might turn into a very costly repair in no time.
- No response or rough shifting
A transmission that is working properly will just shift into the right gear without any problem. But if you feel it hesitant or not responsive, it can be an indication that there is something wrong with your transmission. When your transmission is about to fail, you might notice that your car refuses to change gears or it might allow you to change gear, but the process won’t be that smooth. If you notice this problem, have it checked by a professional immediately and correct the problem.
- Loud clunking or whining sounds
Whether your car is equipped with a manual transmission or an automatic one, if the transmission is failing, it might present some loud noises that can alert you that it needs immediate attention. What happens when your transmission goes out is you may hear some loud sounds such as whining, clunking, humming, or buzzing.
- Illuminating check engine light
The check engine light found on the instrument panel on your dashboard is there to alert you when the system detects some unusual activity. When you notice that your check engine light is on, it is best that you don’t ignore it. The system might have detected some transmission trouble. Ignoring it might lead to a more serious problem.
- Burning smell
If there is no fluid leak but you notice that there is a burning smell that seems to be coming from under your car, it might be caused by an old, contaminated fluid that is long overdue for a fluid change or flush. The burning smell might be the fluid overheating due to clutch debris, build-ups, metallic component breakdowns, or sludge.
The transmission fluid needs to be changed or flushed regularly for a reason. Failing to do so can cause this problem to occur. You will know that it is a burnt transmission fluid odor when it has an acrid smell that smells like burning rubber. If it becomes too hot, you may see smoke coming out. When this happens and the transmission fluid becomes burnt, it won’t be able to do its tasks. It won’t be able to manage heat, lubricate the components, and help shift gears.
What Happens When Your Transmission Goes Out? – Can You Drive with a Bad Transmission?
What happens when your transmission goes out is something you don’t want to deal with. The problems it can cause might cost you thousands of dollars on repairs and replacements. That is why you need to be aware of the early signs of a faulty transmission so you can detect it before the problem becomes worse.
But what happens when your transmission goes out while you are driving? Can you still drive your car with a bad transmission? Although some problems can still make your car drivable, it is not recommended. It can compromise your safety and the safety of your car, the pedestrians, and other drivers on the road.
Transmission problems can occur such as rough shifting, fluid leaks, or slipping out of gears. It can be dangerous to drive your car in such conditions. If you must drive, just drive to the nearest auto repair shop. You can never be too sure. The transmission might fail any time soon and you will be left stranded somewhere since you won’t be able to drive your car anywhere. Or much worse, be involved in a car accident.
If you insist on driving a car with a failing transmission, know that it involves some risk. Not just the risk of having a crash or an accident, but all also the risk of damaging your car. If you are willing to take all the risk, then you must be prepared to spend thousands of dollars for a transmission replacement. If not, then do not attempt to drive your car with a damaged transmission. It is better to have your car checked the moment you notice any of the early signs of a bad transmission. It is better to fix the small problems before they become too big and too expensive for you to handle.
If for some reason you really need to drive your car with a faulty transmission, you need to take some precautionary measures. You need to check your transmission fluid and make sure that the level is not critically low. Top it up if needed. Make sure the trip will be only for a short time and a short distance then have it repaired after.
But if you are driving and your car’s transmission suddenly goes out, you might not be able to accelerate anymore. It can be dangerous. To make sure that you and your car will be safe, you need to turn on your emergency lights and pull over. Make sure that the path is clear and if your car has stopped completely, put it in the park position. You can then call for help or a towing service right away. At times like this when you don’t really know how serious the problem is, it is better to be safe than sorry.
What Happens When Your Transmission Goes Out? – Is it Worth Fixing a Transmission?
What happens when your transmission goes out? You will most likely experience transmission issues. You won’t be able to change gears or the car will refuse to move. If this happens, you won’t be able to use your car unless you fix the problem. However, repairing the transmission is known to be one of the most expensive car parts to repair. It can cost you thousands of dollars for the parts and labor. When it is the only solution, is it worth fixing a transmission?
To answer the question, you need to consider some factors. Although there are some cases that the repair is just as simple as using the right transmission fluid or by having a fluid flush or change, it can also be as expensive as having a transmission replacement which can cost between $1,500 and $5,000.
To know whether fixing your transmission is worth it, you need to assess your car and know it’s market value. If the value of your car is lower or slightly the same as the transmission replacement cost, then it is better to sell your car and move on. It will be impractical to buy a new transmission that costs more than the car’s value. But if your car is still new and still in great condition, then repairing the faulty transmission will be the better choice.
What happens when your transmission goes out can be prevented if you follow the recommended service and maintenance set by your car’s manufacturer. Transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 to 100,000 miles or every two years depending on your car and how it is driven. This is because the transmission fluid plays a very important role in keeping your transmission healthy. It provides hydraulic power, the needed lubrication, helps keep it cool, and helps prolong the life of the transmission itself. Practicing good driving habits can also help prevent transmission problems and premature transmission failure. Preventing transmission problems is better than knowing what happens when your transmission goes out and experiencing it firsthand.