transmission repairs

Time for Transmission Repair?

Replacing your transmission is one of the most expensive automotive repairs.  Fortunately, if you recognize them early, there are some signs to watch for that will lead to easier, less expensive transmission repairs.  Some signs & symptoms will alert you to the need for a simple transmission maintenance such as adding fluid or flushing the transmission system.

What is the transmission?

Without your transmission, your car would never move. The transmission’s job is to transfer power from the engine to the driveshaft, which controls the wheels and moves the car forward. Heat and friction causes more wear on the transmission than any other part of the vehicle which over time, can cause it to fail. Listed below are several signs that can alert you to the need for a transmission repair, hopefully before major repairs are needed.


Lack of Response

If you notice hesitation when switching into gear or if your vehicle refuses to go in to gear at all, you have a transmission issue. In this case automatic and manual transmissions have different responses. An automatic transmission will have a delay before the gear engages. After shifting into gear a manual will have an RPM surge, but the car won’t go as fast as the engine sounds. Both are usually caused by a clutch that needs replaced, or it could be a more serious problem.


Transmission Noise

 It can be hard to know if your vehicle is making a sound that means trouble or not. But when it comes to the transmission it’ll be a sound you’ve never heard before. Manual transmissions will sound “slightly more mechanical, louder, and abrupt” when they have an issue. If your vehicle makes a “bump” sound while in neutral, it can be as simple as adding more transmission fluid or changing it. If the sound doesn’t go away, you may need to replace worn out parts.


Leaking Fluid

 One of the most recognizable symptoms is leaking transmission fluid. If it is a simple leak, the fluid will appear bright red, clear, and smell sweet. However, if the fluid is dark or has a burnt smell, then the transmission fluid needs to be changed or flushed. Additional repairs may also be required. You can also check the level of your transmission fluid before it leaks for signs that it needs to be changed.


Grinding and Shaking

In a manual transmission, if you notice a grinding noise or feeling after engaging the clutch and shifting into gear, this can be a sign that the clutch needs repair. Automatic transmissions will delay moving into gear and as the problem worsens, the transition into gear becomes more jarring and involves more shaking.


More signs

Additional signs of transmission failure include a burning smell, check engine light, vehicle slipping n and out of gear on its own, or the a dragging clutch.  If you notice any of these or the above signs, call your mechanic or auto shop to discuss options. Duramax Transmissions is available in your Salem, Oregon area and specializes in both manual and automatic transmission. You may reach us at 503- 363-6888.

4 replies
  1. Faylinn Byrne
    Faylinn Byrne says:

    I appreciate that you talked about how if the fluid that is leaking from the transmission is dark and smells, the fluid will need to be changed. My husband and I were driving to work the other day and our car started smoking. We don’t know a lot about cars, so I am doing research, but I think we will contact a local service to help us repair our transmission.

  2. Kate Hansen
    Kate Hansen says:

    It was really helpful when you said that your transmission will make a noise you’ve never heard before if it needs to get repaired. While I was driving yesterday, my car made the strangest noise and it was something I’ve never head before as you said. I appreciate you helping me learn more about the signs of needing transmission repair.

  3. Jay Jorgenson
    Jay Jorgenson says:

    My uncle’s van is making a grinding noise. I like how you mention the transmission’s job is to transfer power from the engine to the driveshaft, which controls the wheel’s movement. Thank you for the information. I’ll recommend my uncle to take his car to an auto shop.

  4. Randy Chorvack
    Randy Chorvack says:

    I have noticed hesitation when switching into gear as you mentioned. My car takes a second or two to switch gears every time. Luckily I have an automatic so I don’t need to switch gears a ton but it’s still concerning.


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