Signs of Transmission Trouble  | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Signs of Transmission Trouble 

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Transmission repairs and replacements are two of the most expensive and time consuming services that your vehicle might need. Getting routine maintenance on your transmission is the best way to avoid these costly repairs, however, if you notice these signs on your car, transmission trouble may already be near. 

The Job of the Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission is there to distribute power from the engine to the wheels. The process depends on the type of transmission. Whatever the type, though, the transmission enables the gear ratio between the drive wheels and engine to adjust as the car slows down and speeds up. The Universal Technical Institute explains that when a car is stopped, the transmission disconnects the engine from the drive wheels so that the engine can keep idling when the wheels aren’t in motion. Transmissions enable quick acceleration from a stop and allow the engine to run more slowly to cut down on wear while the car is going at constant speeds.

 Common Transmission Problems

With automatic transmissions, fluid leaks and low fluid levels are the most common issue car owner’s will experience as their cars get older and parts begin to wear out. If you don’t notice a puddle of transmission fluid under your car, signs that you are having problems with this part can also include that it is slow to engage a drive gear or shifts slowly into higher gears while you’re underway. Both of which are signs that the transmission fluid is low. Additionally, over time, it can wear out over time or may need to be replaced. 

Other warning signs can include unusual noises, shifting harshly into next gear instead of engaging smoothly, or slipping out of gear while driving. explains that if you hear a grinding noise from the transmission, it could be because bearings have failed, allowing metal-to-metal contact between parts that shouldn’t be rubbing against each other. 

Further, if you use your car to tow or haul heavy loads it can make your transmission work harder and cause it to overheat. Often that will trigger a warning light in many vehicles, however, in some cars the transmission is linked to the same computer that controls the engine, which is the powertrain control module. This can result in the check engine light coming on when it’s actually a transmission issue. 

Checking Fluid Levels 

On vehicles that have dipsticks, the automatic transmission fluid level should be checked monthly with the transmission at full operating temperature and the engine idling. Around 15 minutes of driving is typically required to fully warm up the transmission. You can check the fluid level in six easy steps from AAA:

  • 1. Stop the vehicle on a level surface, apply the parking brake and allow the engine to idle.
  • 2. Apply the brake pedal and move the gear selector through all gear positions, pausing for a few seconds in each. Then, place the transmission in park or neutral as specified in your owner’s manual.
  • 3. Open the hood, locate the transmission dipstick and carefully remove it making sure to avoid any hot or moving engine parts.
  • 4. Wipe the dipstick clean with a rag, and note the level markings near its end. Some dipsticks have one mark for FULL and another for ADD, some have small holes that indicate the maximum and minimum oil levels, and some have crosshatch markings to designate the acceptable fluid range.
  • 5. Insert the dipstick fully back into its tube, then remove it and read the level.
  • 6. If the fluid level is at or below the ADD mark, add enough fluid to bring the level up to the FULL mark. Do not overfill. Typically, the distance between the ADD and FULL marks is equal to one pint of fluid.

Transmission Repairs 

If you need a repair on this part is among the costliest and most time consuming services to need for your car. Getting routine maintenance is the best way to avoid that bump in the road. Typically, having this part serviced includes a flush of the current fluid and replacing it with new transmission fluid. Further, routine maintenance will also include examining the pan, replacing the filter, and more. 

Transmission Service and Repairs with Scott’s Auto

Don’t wait if you believe you are having issues with your transmission. Stop by now and let us make sure that your vehicle is safe to continue traveling in. With four convenient locations in Colorado, we’re here for all your car care needs in Fort Collins, Loveland, Grand Junction, and Montrose. Call us to let us know when you need to come by or just drive on in — we’re here for you! 


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