5 signs of possible shifting problems with your transmission

Article by Christian A., on August 24, 2018

There is one big role that the transmission plays in your car – to send power from the engine to the wheels. Also known as the gearbox, the transmission contains gears that basically convert the speed and torque for the wheels to use.

When driving off, you start in the first gear, which high gear ratio allows for the highest conversion of input torque (from engine) to output torque, with the car moving at its lowest speed. As you shift the gear, the gear ratio and converted torque is reduced while the car’s speed increases. During acceleration from a stop, you need the max torque to get the car moving. But as the car moves, torque is not much required and the vehicle is picking up speed, so you need to change gears.

However, there could be times that you car isn't shifting properly, which indicates problems with the transmission. Before something really goes bad with your car’s gearbox, stay alert for a number of signs that could indicate possible issues. Here are five of them

1. It is quite hard to shift gears

Once you hold the gear stick and the transmission seemingly doesn’t want to shift to the proper gear, an issue might be at hand. This could also be true when the shifting process isn't as smooth as before, or when you hear a thud or clunk while the gears are being shifted.

2. Gear engagement is delayed

The gears of the transmission should engage as soon as the shifter is pushed to the intended gear. However, if there are any delays in the engagement of the gears and the car pauses for while before moving, there could be some problems with the transmission of your car.

3. Sudden gear changes

Gear should only change after the driver shifted the gear lever in a manual transmission. But if you didn’t do anything, the gear suddenly changes (manual transmission) or if the transmission goes into the neutral position in an automatic gearbox, problems could be abound. When this happens, you might hear a change in the typical sound of your engine. A whining sound might also occur.

4. Leaking fluid

Try to see if there is a puddle of red fluid under your car. This red fluid is the transmission fluid, which plays an important role in your gearbox, lubricating all the parts inside the transmission. The transmission fluid isn't meant to leak, which means that if it is leaking, there might be clogged filter or a loose plug.

5. Warning light illuminates

Of course, if the warning light turns on, it may indicate a number of issues, not just with regards to the transmission. However, if the warning light illuminates and any of the aforementioned signs manifest, then your car might be having problems with the transmission.

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