Do you notice odd noises or smells in your car as you're driving, especially as you shift gears? If so, you may have a transmission problem. Your transmission is one of the most important components in your car. Your car can't run without an effective transmission, and problems with the transmission can also cause issues in the engine and elsewhere in the vehicle. The good news is that if you catch transmission trouble early, you may be able to avoid more costly issues. Do any of the following sound familiar? If so, you may want to have your transmission checked:
Trouble shifting into a new gear. If you have a manual transmission, then it's very obvious when you're changing gears. After all, you have to do it yourself. If the transmission sticks, grinds, or has some other delay in between gears, then it's likely that you have some kind of transmission problem. You may have a bad clutch or there may be gears that are worn down.
In an automatic transmission, the change from gear to gear is supposed to be seamless. If it's not seamless, that could be a sign of trouble. Listen for grinding noises as you're driving. Also watch out for short bursts where it sounds like the engine is revving even though the car is in motion. That may mean that the transmission is stuck in between gears, again indicating a broken clutch or worn down gears.
Burning smell. Do you smell something burning when your car shifts gears or when you transition from reverse into drive? If so, that may mean that your transmission fluid no longer has the viscosity needed to tolerate the heat from the transmission. That can be a big problem. Your transmission needs fluid to lubricate the gears and other moving parts. Without functional fluid, your gears and belts could wear down, causing serious and costly damage.
Fortunately, you can easily check your fluid. Find the transmission dipstick under your hood. Start your car and let it run for a bit so the engine can warm up. Keep the car in park and check the dipstick. Wipe off the dipstick and inspect the fluid on the towel. Is it brown? Does it have a burning odor? If so, it may be time for a fluid change. You want your transmission fluid to be pink and odorless.
Fluid leaks. It's also possible that your transmission fluid can start to leak. All it takes is one small crack in a tube or other component for your transmission fluid to leak out of your system. If you start to see puddles of a pinkish fluid on your garage floor, that's likely a transmission fluid leak. Your transmission won't last long without fluid, so you should have your vehicle checked immediately.
If any of these signs sound familiar, take your car into a local transmission repair service, such as Shiftright Transmissions. They can identify the problem and recommend a solution.