Your vehicle's transmission is one of its most complex areas. It consists of numerous components that work under considerable strain to power your car or SUV. There are several problems, and almost as many symptoms, that can arise with your transmission to let you know that something is wrong. Here are some of the most common warning signs to look out for. If you spot any of them, drop by our service center in Daphne and have our auto experts take a look.

Your Check Engine Light Is On


Image via Flickr by Rutger van der Maar licensed by CC BY 2.0

Your check engine light may come on for a number of reasons, some more serious than others. The important thing to remember is not to ignore it. Quick action in response to an activated check engine light can help you catch a potential transmission problem in its early stages, which will save you more serious trouble and money further down the line.

A sensible first step is to check your transmission fluid level with a dipstick. You may just need to top up your fluid if it's low. On the other hand, if your fluid level is normal, the check engine light may be on due to a mechanical problem. If this appears to be the case, the best course of action is to make an appointment with a reputable local auto mechanic for a service inspection.

Your Transmission Makes Noises While in Neutral

When you place your vehicle in neutral, your transmission shouldn't make any sounds. If you can still hear sounds coming from the transmission, this is a strong indication that something is wrong. It may simply be that your fluid levels are low, which can cause unnecessary friction. Alternatively, the sounds may indicate that a component is damaged or broken.

You Hear Odd Noises

Strange noises can also come from your transmission while you're driving. Every vehicle is different, so it's impossible to say exactly what you may hear. Common sounds that indicate an issue with your gears or engine include grinding, clunking, buzzing, and tapping.

Even if your vehicle isn't displaying any other problems, it's best for you to be proactive and get a diagnosis of your engine from an auto technician. The sound you hear might seem like a small irritant, but it may be trying to warn you of a looming problem that could prove much more complicated and expensive to resolve.

Your Car Stalls or Surges

Stalling occurs when your engine cuts out suddenly, while surging is when your vehicle lurches forward without warning. Both issues are not just linked to a troubled transmission, but can also prove extremely dangerous. If your car surges or stalls on a busy road, it can cause accidents that may harm you and your fellow motorists.

A related problem you may experience is your vehicle refusing to shift gears. Even if it manages to shift up or down, you may notice that it takes longer than it used to or always gets stuck between two specific gears. These are classic signs of transmission trouble and should be checked out by a mechanic.

Your Transmission Fluid Is Leaking

Leaking transmission fluid is one of the easiest problems to spot with a vehicle. You'll see a red substance gathering underneath your car and notice a sweet smell coming from the fluid. It's important to respond quickly to a transmission fluid leak since it can lead to extensive damage to your transmission if you leave it unattended. An inadequate amount of transmission fluid increases the likelihood of gears and other components seizing up due to a lack of lubrication.

If you're planning to top up your own transmission fluid, remember that the type of fluid used in each vehicle can vary. A car with an automatic transmission typically uses a lighter fluid than one with manual gears. Many vehicles with manual transmissions typically use engine oil or gear oil. For cars with a continuous variable transmission, synthetic transmission fluid is usually recommended.

If you're unsure which fluid you should use, the best place to start looking for an answer is your owner's manual. Alternatively, drop by our service center and let one of our auto technicians take a look.

You Notice a Burning Smell

A burning smell coming from your engine may indicate that your transmission fluid has been burned or needs changing. Transmission fluids have expiration dates and need to be changed on a more or less regular basis.

How often you should change your transmission fluid depends on several factors, including the type of vehicle you drive, how you drive, and the type of fluid you use. For example, someone who drives a lot in the city and has to shift gears regularly with a manual transmission will probably need to change their fluid more often than a driver with an automatic transmission who does most of their miles on the highway.

As a general rule, vehicles should have their transmission fluid changed every 30,000 to 100,000 miles of driving. Vehicles at the upper end of this range usually have automatic transmissions and use synthetic fluid, while those at the lower end typically use engine oil and other thicker substances. To ensure you get your fluid changed on time, the best safeguard is to plan regular maintenance checks so a trained mechanic can monitor its status.

Take Care of Your Transmission Troubles at Tameron Buick GMC

If you're looking for a reliable auto service center near Daphne, make Tameron Buick GMC your first stop. We're delighted to welcome customers from Mobile, Alabama, and further afield to our well-equipped service center, where we use cutting-edge technology and the best equipment to diagnose your transmission's troubles. After one of our service teams has identified the problem, we'll take care of the repairs so you can get back on the road in no time.

If you have any questions about your transmission or another part of your vehicle that's causing problems, don't hesitate to contact us. Our team of auto experts is standing by to take your call or talk to you in person at our Daphne dealership.

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