Diagnosing Automatic Transmission Problems

Here are five signs of transmission problems you should not ignore:

1. Transmission slipping

If you’re experiencing automatic transmission slipping, it can feel like you’re driving in a certain gear and then it changes for no apparent reason. The noise from the engine may change in pitch or start to sound like whining.

Your car may also seem like it’s struggling, is suddenly underpowered, or isn’t accelerating like it should.

2. Rough shifts

Your car may feel like it’s refusing to change gears as it normally does, or the gear shifts aren’t very smooth. Sometimes you can feel or hear a noticeable “clunk” or “thud” when the car shifts gears. You may also notice the car has difficultly getting up to speed.

3. Delayed engagement

If this symptom occurs, you’ll notice a delay before the car actually engages into drive and starts moving forward.

When you shift out of “P” and into “D,” there may be a long pause where the car revs the engine as you give it gas, but it’s not moving forward as it should.

4. Fluid leak

Transmissions are generally sealed units that should never leak fluid. If you’ve noticed leak spots on your driveway or garage floor, lay down cardboard under your car in the front and middle to determine if they’re active leaks.

If your transmission is leaking – fluid is bright red, but can also be a dark red or brown – visit your auto service shop.

Before refilling any transmission fluid; factory specifications should be followed because overfilling can create a bigger transmission issue.

5. Transmission warning light

A warning light alone, like the “check engine” light, typically doesn’t mean you have a transmission problem, but if any of the above symptoms are occurring in conjunction with an illuminated warning, have it diagnosed by a professional.

A warning light typically means the computer is generating an error code that can be checked with a workshop’s diagnostic equipment.

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