Automatic Car Transmission Problems

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Dealing with a defective automatic transmission can be costly and time-consuming for the owner. Hence, it’s essential to keep an eye out for the signs of automatic transmission problems before it worsens.

Remember that it’s always better to fix the problem while it’s small rather than leave it until it becomes big. You know, significant problems mean it’ll cost you more money to fix. So, don’t make it to the point that automatic car transmission problems will start occurring altogether.

But even if you’re not an automotive expert, you can check on the automatic car transmission problems as we’ve put them all here for you.

5 Signs of Automatic Transmission Problems

1. Transmission Fluid Color and Condition

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Automatic transmissions use transmission fluid or ATF to operate the bands and the clutches. However, automatic transmission fluid doesn’t for a lifetime. That’s why it’s crucial to check your car’s transmission fluid at least once a month. Checking this can tell you a lot about its condition, whether it needs to be changed already or not.

For instance, dirty or burnt fluid would mean that it needs a change. That color indicates that it already has dirt, metal, and other contaminants. New automatic transmission fluid is transparent pinkish-red in color. Make sure to also check the smell as a fluid that smells burnt is a red flag for problems.

2. Low Fluid Levels

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An automatic car transmission requires a specific amount of ATF to work. A little amount of fluid may result in disastrous complications such as overheating, slipping, shifting issues, and failure altogether.

Using a transmission dipstick is a simple process of checking the fluid levels. If it’s low, simply add more ATF to your automatic car transmission. A leak within your transmission is another indication of low fluid levels.

3. Signs of Leaks

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Leaks usually occur because of a gap somewhere in your automatic car transmission. Leaks may be in the faulty gaskets, seals, loose pans, or transmission lines. Replacement of the damaged part is often enough to fix the leak, though the complexity of changing this will vary.

Fluid leaks need immediate attention, though, as the longer you ignore it, the more fluid will leak. Worse is it can lead to problems that are usually associated with low fluid levels.

4. Overheating

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Overheating is one of the worst things you wouldn’t want to happen in your automatic car transmission. This can cause parts of the vehicle to malfunction and decrease its overall life.

This is the reason why it’s a must to change the transmission fluid as it’s the lifeblood of your transmission. Without this, automatic transmission would not be possible.

It could be difficult to know if the transmission is overheating. However, checking the fluid is the best way to do this. It’s essential to know that overheating is the consequence of an inefficient liquid.

So, look for any signs of low, dirty, or burnt fluid. When you see any of these signs, that would mean that you need to change the fluid immediately.

5. Transmission Slipping

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If you step on the gas, but the transmission doesn’t accelerate or the engine revs, this is a sign of slipping. There are reasons why transmission slipping happens. These include defective solenoids, inefficient fluid, worn gears, or burnt clutch discs, to name a few.

If you experience transmission slipping, the best thing to do is to avoid driving to prevent rapid clutch wear. If your clutch discs wear out too much, you might have to replace your transmission, which could be expensive.

How to Care for Your Car Transmission

The best way to prevent car transmission problems is to take good care of your transmission. Manual transmissions are pretty rare in the USA these days. Most cars are now sold equipped with automatic transmission. Either way, you need to take good care of your transmission to ensure that your ride lasts for a long time. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere because your transmission conked out on you.

A transmission uses the power generated by your car’s engines to rotate the wheels and make the car move efficiently. Through its different gears, you can climb a hill or speed through the highway. Without a good transmission, your car won’t move at all!

Watch the video below to understand how automatic transmission works.


Here’s how to maintain your car’s transmission

Check your owner’s manual for the maintenance schedule for your transmission.

Don’t rely on what your dealership or mechanic tells you. You need to be active in ensuring that the transmission fluid is at the right level. Most car manufacturers recommend transmission fluids to be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. It is easy to neglect this. But if you consult your manual, you should be able to schedule this type of maintenance without a glitch.

You also need to make sure that you are using the correct transmission fluid for your car. Consult your owner’s manual to check the right fluid. If you want to do things the DIY way, don’t let your transmission fluid go beyond the line that indicates the maximum amount of fluid.

Your car’s transmission fluid’s color should be bright red. If your car has a dipstick for your transmission fluid, check it out and wipe the dipstick on a light-colored or white piece of cloth. It should also smell a little bit sweet. If you are not the DIY-type, please consult a professional if you want to drain and replace your transmission fluid.

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