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Signs of Transmission Trouble: How to Know When to Visit a Transmission Specialist

You’re driving along, and something feels off. Your car’s acting strange, but you can’t pinpoint the problem. It could be your transmission. Don’t ignore these warning signs! From slipping gears to that burning smell, we’ll walk you through the signs of transmission trouble.

Knowledge is power, and it’s better to catch these issues early before they escalate. Read on to learn when it’s time to visit a transmission shop.

Slipping Gears

You’re driving along, and suddenly, you notice your car’s gears are slipping; that’s a common sign your transmission needs attention. This can manifest as a sudden change in gear while driving without any action on your part. It’s as if your vehicle is shifting on its own.

The experience can be disconcerting, not to mention the potential danger it poses on the road. This gear ‘slippage’ occurs when the hydraulic pressure required to change gears isn’t functioning properly. Your transmission’s bands could be worn out or broken. Or, it could be an issue with your vehicle’s transmission fluid – it might be low or dirty.

Don’t ignore this problem; it’s a clear signal to consult a transmission specialist.

Unusual Noise

At night, you’re more likely to hear unusual noise coming from your car, and it’s often a sign of transmission trouble. These noises can range from subtle to glaringly obvious.

You might notice:

1. Whining and Humming: These noises are usually indicative of a misaligned or worn-out transmission.

2. Clunking and Hissing: It’s a sign that your transmission fluid is running low or there are mechanical issues.

3. Buzzing or Whirling: This could be due to a faulty bearing or gear.

Don’t ignore these noises. They’re your car’s way of telling you something’s amiss. When you hear these sounds, it’s crucial to get your vehicle checked out by a transmission specialist.

Delayed or Rough Shifting

Transmission Shops Near Me Battle Ground WA

When you’re driving, if you notice a delay or roughness while shifting gears, it’s a clear sign of transmission trouble, and you should get it checked immediately. This delay, also known as transmission slipping, can occur when the gears take longer than usual to engage or disengage. It’s indicative of worn-out clutches, damaged bands, or low transmission fluid.

If you’re driving an automatic, you’ll experience a sudden jolt. With manual transmissions, you’ll feel a harsher shift. You might also experience an upsurge in RPMs without an increase in speed. This isn’t something you can ignore. It’s a serious issue that could lead to transmission failure if left unchecked.

Therefore, it’s crucial to seek a professional’s assistance the moment you notice such irregularities.

Check Engine Light

Despite being often overlooked, your car’s check engine light, when lit, indicates potential transmission issues that need immediate attention. It’s your car’s way of telling you something is off. It’s not always transmission-related, but it’s worth checking out.

1. Misfiring or Stalling: These could be signs of a failing transmission. If the car’s engine misfires or stalls at a stop, it’s time to get it checked.

2. Difficulty Shifting Gears: If you’re having trouble shifting gears, it could be a transmission issue. Difficulty, delay or sudden jerks while shifting are common signs.

3. Transmission Fluid Leaks: Your car shouldn’t leak any fluids. If it does, it’s usually a sign of a problem. A red, sweet-smelling leak typically indicates a transmission fluid leakage.

Don’t ignore these signs. Catching transmission issues early can save you a lot of money and stress.

Fluid Leaks

You’re noticing a red, sweet-smelling fluid under your car, but you’re not sure if it’s a transmission fluid leak or not. Transmission fluid has a distinct smell, akin to burnt toast, and its color ranges from bright red to dark brown, depending on its age. If you’ve spotted this underneath your vehicle, it’s a clear sign of a leak.

Don’t ignore it! A leaky transmission can lead to severe damage if left untreated. Check the fluid level using your vehicle’s dipstick. If it’s low, you’ve got a problem.

Also, observe your vehicle’s performance. Difficulty in gear shifting or a delay in movement after shifting gears can indicate transmission issues. It is time to visit a transmission specialist and get that leak fixed.

Burning Smell

You’ve got two main causes for a burning smell from your car, and both are serious: it’s either leaking fluid onto hot engine parts or your transmission’s overheating. Here’s how to distinguish between the two:

1. Leaking Fluid: Besides the smell, look for coolant, oil, or other fluid puddles under your car. A quick check of your fluid levels should confirm a leak.

2. Overheating Transmission: If you’ve ruled out leaks and the smell persists, your transmission could be overheating. This is often due to low transmission fluid or a failing transmission cooler.

3. Check Engine Light: Either condition might trigger this warning. Don’t ignore it!


In the case of an unresponsive transmission, it’s often because you’re low on fluid or there’s an issue with the transmission itself. If your vehicle’s gear shift isn’t responding, it’s a sure sign there’s trouble.

The transmission might be slipping, which means the engine revs up, but the vehicle doesn’t accelerate as it should. This could be due to worn-out gears or insufficient fluid pressure.

You may also experience delayed engagement, where there’s a pause before the car actually moves after shifting into drive. This is a common symptom of low transmission fluid. But, it could also indicate a failing transmission pump or damaged clutches.

You should consult a transmission specialist immediately. Ignoring these signs may lead to costly repairs or even a total transmission failure.

Vibration or Grinding Sensations

If you’re feeling any unusual vibrations or hearing grinding noises, it’s likely that your vehicle’s transmission has one or more problems. These sensations aren’t to be ignored; they’re early symptoms of a potentially significant issue.

Here’s a breakdown of what you might experience:

1. Unusual Vibrations: These could be felt through the steering wheel or vehicle body. It’s especially noticeable when you’re idling or accelerating.

2. Grinding Noises: Usually heard when shifting gears. This is a sign of worn-out synchronizers.

3. Delayed Response: You may experience a delay or a sudden jerk when shifting gears.

Don’t delay in seeking a professional evaluation. It’s essential to address these issues promptly to avoid more extensive damages and costly repairs. Always keep your vehicle’s health at the forefront.

Art Morse Auto Repair Is Your Local Reliable Transmission Shop

If you notice any irregularities with your transmission, look no further than the seasoned experts at Art Morse Auto Repair in Battle Ground, WA. With a team of ASE-certified professionals, we’re equipped to handle everything from simple fluid changes for automatic and manual transmissions to intricate diagnostic and repair tasks. Trust us to assess your vehicle’s transmission challenges thoroughly.

We specialize in a wide variety of different services:

  • Auto Repair Services
  • Routine Maintenance Services
  • Transmission Services
  • Oil Change
  • Brake Shop
  • Tune-Ups
  • Auto Service
  • Check Engine Light
  • Auto Air Conditioning Service

For top-tier transmission solutions in Battle Ground, WA, seek the team’s expertise at Art Morse Auto Repair. We pride ourselves on continually integrating the newest methods and technologies to ensure superior service for our customers. Contact us now to schedule your appointment with our auto repair shop!

Posted on by Art Morse Auto Repair
Signs of Transmission Trouble: How to Know When to Visit a Transmission Specialist

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