TRANSMISSION WARNING SIGNS
Using Your Senses to Detect and Diagnose
It Can Mean the Difference Between a Minor Repair and a $2,500
Feel and Smell
problems, including automatic transmission problems, reveal themselves
in one way or another, e.g., WARNING SIGNS! Whether it's a
subtle jerk when the transmission shifts into a different gear, a
strange smell, the eyesore of leaked fluid on
your garage floor or an unusual noise, learning to recognize these
warning signs can save you a great deal of money and vehicle down
time. In this article, we will explain how to use your senses
to detect early signs of transmission problems.
- Look at your garage floor, driveway or parking spot for
leaks. Transmission fluid leaks are fairly common and they
can cause major problems if allowed to continue. If you have
a leak, the first thing you need to determine is the source of the
leak. It could be transmission fluid, engine oil, brake
fluid, power steering fluid or engine coolant. New or clean
transmission fluid is red in color and old or dirty transmission fluid
is a darker red or dark brown.
if your vehicle is front wheel drive, a CV axles could be leaking
grease from a torn or damaged CV boot. If your vehicle
is four wheel drive (4WD) or all wheel drive (AWD) the source
a fluid leak could also be the front differential.
How to locate and repair a transmission
Another sign of
a possible leak (that may not show up on the garage floor or driveway)
is seeing any signs of smoke when the engine is running.
Smoke coming from the engine compartment or from underneath your
vehicle is likely caused by an overheated engine or fluid leaking onto
the exhaust pipes or other hot surface and burning off.
Again, the leak could be water/coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid,
brake fluid or power steering fluid. Being one of the top
causes of vehicles fires, fluid leaks should be repaired quickly.
Most people drive their vehicles enough to know the different sounds it
makes when starting the engine, shifting the transmission into gear,
driving down the expressway, braking, stopping, etc. These
are the ordinary sounds that you are familiar with. So, when
you hear something different, you need to take notice. By
different, it could be a completely new sound or one of the same sounds
you always hear but maybe its louder than before or it happens more
often than before. The bottom-line is that these sounds may
be a warning that something isn't quite right.
an Estimate online
sounds that an automatic transmission can make include:
Screeching or Rattling Noise
A screeching or rattling
noise coming from underneath the center hump in a rear wheel drive
vehicle or from the engine compartment in a front wheel drive vehicle
while the engine is running and the shifter is in the Drive "D"
position is likely a failing torque converter. A torque
converter going bad makes the most noise when the engine is running and
the transmission is in gear with the vehicle sitting still.
If you move the shifter to the Neutral "N" position and the noise
disappears, the case for a failing torque converter
increases. Also, if the noise decreases as the vehicle begins
rolling, the problem is almost definitely a failing torque converter.
Once a torque
converter begins screeching or rattling it
is only a matter of time before the converter fails.
Sometimes, when a torque converter fails, it literally
explodes. When this happens, bits and pieces of metal are
pushed into the transmission, which can cause catastrophic transmission
failure. Replacing a torque converter can cost between $200
to $250 if you do the work yourself or from $500 to $1,000 or more if
you have a repair shop do the work.