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Top 4 Signs Of Transmission Failure

Top 4 Signs Of Transmission Failure

Your car’s transmission experiences more wear compared to any other mechanical component throughout its lifetime. Much like the engine, it is equally important that your vehicle has a properly functioning transmission to ensure a smooth driving experience. The transmission plays a vital role in enabling the wheels of your car to spin, which in turn moves your car. However, no car owner wants to deal with transmission problems, so many of them carelessly ignore the symptoms that indicate that their transmission is damaged or quickly failing.

The transmission is the most neglected and underappreciated component in a vehicle. Understanding the signs of a failing transmission can prevent you from having to wait for roadside assistance services on your way to work due to a car breakdown. You can save money and lengthen the life of your transmission by taking your vehicle to an experienced specialty repair auto shop if you notice something unusual.

Whether you prefer the control and engagement of a manual transmission or the convenience and ease of an automatic, it is nonetheless an important part of your vehicle. You can avoid expensive repairs with regular car maintenance or a quick inspection, especially after a long car ride. For instance, the solenoid valve can be replaced today for a fraction of a complete transmission rebuild a few weeks down the road.

Continue reading this blog to find out about some of the tell-tale signs that your vehicle’s transmission is failing.

Lack Of Response

If your car refuses to shift into the proper gear, then this could be a sign that you are having transmission trouble. The inability to shift can be mechanical, electric, or hydraulic. At times, when shifting your automatic gear from drive to spark, you might feel a delay before it properly engages.

For cars with manual transmissions, this lack of response is often in the form of a disconnect between revving your engine’s RPMs and the vehicle’s actual speed. Here, your car’s expected acceleration will be much much lower than what your engine’s sound would imply. This is often described as a transmission ‘slipping.’

Odd Noises

Depending on the make and model of a vehicle, each of them will have different sounds. Consider the following two questions to determine if you need to pay close attention to a specific noise. Have you heard this sound before? If not, then you need to get your car inspected by a mechanic at your local auto shop or by a certified transmission specialist. Is there humming, buzzing, or clunking coming from your car? Then you most definitely have a failing transmission.

A transmission, especially an automatic one, has hundreds of parts, and a worn case or single bearing can produce a troubling noise. These unusual noises are not just a nuisance, in fact, it is a tell-tale sign of a potential transmission failure. It is important to note noises unique to a manual and an automatic transmission. Bad automatic transmissions emit a buzzing or humming sound, whereas manual transmissions produce clunking or other harsher mechanical noises.

Leaking Fluid

TF or Transmission Fluid plays a vital role in decreasing friction and preventing the engine from overheating and the gears from shifting by lubricating the transmissions components. It also works as a hydraulic fluid that allows your vehicle’s gear to engage properly. Leaking transmission fluid can be easily detected.

A transmission fluid leak causes the transmission to operate with low fluid levels, leading to an increased likelihood of transmission failure or overheating. If you notice a pool of bright red fluid under your car, you must take it to a transmission shop immediately. A dark brown or black fluid which emits a searing odor indicates that the TF may be burnt. In this case, your transmission is beyond repair and maintenance.

Burning Smell

As mentioned in the previous section, leaked transmission fluid is a bad sign. However, if the leakage does not accompany a burning odor, it means that your transmission fluid is probably overheating. This is mostly due to the breakdown of a metallic component, clutch debris, or sludge. If you have not taken your vehicle to get its transmission fluid flushed or serviced when your meter goes over 100,000 miles, then your transmission will emit a burning smell.

Upon burning, the transmission fluid omits an acrid smell much like the stench of burning rubber, unlike a burning oil. You might see smoke come out if your transmission fluid gets extremely hot. A completely burnt fluid can no longer complete its function of managing heat, lubricating parts, and hydraulically shifting gears.


Transmission failure is a major threat to the smooth functioning of your car. However, it can be avoided by keeping an eye out for any of the signs of potential transmission failure mentioned above. Ensure you get your vehicle regularly inspected and serviced to detect any issues with its transmission.

At Action Towing, we provide expert vehicle towing services and emergency roadside assistance throughout Edmonton and surrounding areas. For more information regarding our personalized services, contact us today.


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