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Signs of a Failing Automatic Transmission

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Your car's automatic transmission is a crucial component of its powertrain system. The transmission enables your vehicle to shift gears smoothly, deliver power to the wheels and operate efficiently. However, like any mechanical part, automatic transmissions can fail or malfunction over time. The result can be a costly repair or replacement.

You should be aware of the warning signs of a failing automatic transmission so you can avoid potential safety hazards, reduce repair costs and prolong your vehicle's lifespan.

The following are some common indicators that your automatic transmission may be failing.

Shifting Problems

If you experience problems with shifting gears, such as slipping, it's a clear sign that your automatic transmission is failing. 

Slipping is when your transmission changes gears without your input or when it fails to stay in the gear you selected. Slipping can result from low fluid levels, worn or damaged clutches, solenoids, bands or a faulty torque converter.

Delayed Engagement

If you notice a delay between shifting your car into gear and its actual movement, it may be a sign of a failing transmission. You may notice a delay of several seconds before your car starts moving or a jerking sensation when it does. 

Delayed engagement can result from worn-out parts or electronic control issues.

Leaking Fluid

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is vital for lubricating, cooling and cleaning the internal components of your gearbox. If you notice a red or brown fluid under your car, you may have a leak in your transmission. 

Leaking transmission fluid can occur due to loose or damaged hoses, gaskets, seals or cracks in the transmission case.

Burning Smell

If you smell a burning odour while driving, it may be a sign of a failing transmission. You may notice a burning smell from under your hood or the exhaust pipe.

Often, burning fluid occurs as a result of overheating transmission fluid. The cause of burning fluid may be low fluid levels, clogged filters, an overheating engine or severe driving conditions.

Unusual Noises

If you hear strange noises coming from your car's transmission, such as whining, grinding or clunking sounds, it may be a sign of a failing component. The noises can result from worn-out bearings, misaligned parts or low fluid levels.

If you notice any of the above signs, take your car to a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem can make it worse and lead to more damage and expenses. A qualified mechanic can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action. And with regular maintenance and care, you can prevent many problems and extend the life of your transmission.

To find out more, contact automatic transmission services.