It seems like most of us don’t think twice about our vehicle’s transmission—until it starts giving us trouble. You’re driving along, and you accelerate, but nothing happens. You just keep coasting, or you hear a strange humming noise.
Diagnosing transmission problems can be difficult but rewarding. Learn how to properly diagnose them step-by-step, then get your transmission fixed and start working on the road.
Listening to Your Car’s Transmission
Listening to your vehicle’s transmission can be one of the most important steps when trying to diagnose transmission problems. It is especially helpful if your car is acting strangely, like slipping, grinding, or shifting with a lot of force.
When diagnosing a car’s transmission system, the most important things to do are listen to how the car acts, look for possible problems, and pay attention to clues.
These include how the car accelerates and decelerates, hearing the engine idle, running rough or making clunking noises, and if the engine shifts harshly or accelerates properly. If you take the time to listen for strange or unusual sounds coming from the car’s parts, you may be able to tell if there is a problem with the transmission.
Low or insufficient transmission fluid is the most common cause of transmission problems in cars. Slipping and jerking are the second most common. Lack of regular maintenance is the third leading cause.
What to Listen For
When listening to the transmission in your vehicle, you should be looking for a few tell-tale signs that could indicate either minor or major problems with the transmission. Listen for any unusual sounds such as clicking, whining, metal grinding, clunking, thumping, and humming.
The most important things to know about the transmission are its sounds, gears, and fluid. Fluid levels can mean that the gears are worn out; low grinding noises can mean that the gears aren’t working right; clunking noises can mean that there is damage inside the car; thumping can mean that the oil flow isn’t right; and humming can mean that the torque converter isn’t working right.
It is important to inspect the transmission and determine if something is out of alignment before using it.
Feeling Your Vehicle's Transmission
When it comes to diagnosing vehicle transmission problems, knowing your car has its advantages. When most people think of feeling a vehicle, they think of the steering wheel or the vibration of an engine.
However, these surface-level vibrations don’t always indicate what’s happening beneath the hood. To figure out if there might be a problem with your car’s transmission, you should pay attention to how the car feels when you speed up and slow down. This can include a jerk when moving from park to drive or reverse, a bumping sensation as you accelerate, low fluid levels, mechanical failure, or worn-out clutches, as well as problems with the torque converter or an overheated engine.
Also, changes in pressure can show that there is something wrong with the clutch disc and flywheel. If you are experiencing an unexplained increase in fuel consumption or hearing any strange noises from beneath the hood, analyzing how your car feels can provide further indications of transmission-related issues.
Taking time to observe how it feels can help diagnose any potential transmission problems quickly and efficiently.
What to Feel For
Having felt your vehicle’s transmission, it’s time to move on to the next step of diagnosing the problem: what to feel for. You can often get a better understanding of the issue by feeling out the transmission through a range of different motions, vibrations, and movements.
To figure out if there might be a problem with your car’s transmission, you should pay attention to how the car feels when you speed up and slow down. A jerk, a bumping sensation, a lack of fluid, a mechanical issue, worn-out clutches, issues with the torque converter, or an overheated engine can all be to blame for this.
Also, changes in pressure can show that there is something wrong with the clutch disc and flywheel. Taking time to observe how it feels can help diagnose any potential transmission problems quickly and efficiently.
Diagnostic Tests and Steps
Diagnostic tests and steps are key to accurately pinpointing what the problem is with your vehicle’s transmission and how it can be fixed. Even though many of these steps can be skipped or made easier if you know what you’re feeling, as we talked about in the last section, it is still best to have a certified repair technician look at all transmission problems to make sure they are properly diagnosed.
When checking for transmission problems, technicians usually hook up the car to a diagnostic machine. This lets them look at real-time data, run functional tests, and look at the transmission’s internal parts to see if there are any problems or signs of wear or damage
For the diagnosis, the transmission may need to be taken apart, all of its parts inspected, gear shift mechanisms tested, fluid levels checked, and sensors looked at. With the right diagnostic tests and steps taken, the vehicle’s transmission can be running smoothly in no time.
Solutions are available once the problem has been established.
What To Do When Diagnosing Transmission Problems
When it comes to diagnosing transmission problems, there are two main approaches: DIY and professional. Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to weigh them carefully when making a decision about where to turn for help. Do-it-yourself (DIY) means checking the car carefully, learning about the parts of the transmission system, running a self-diagnostic test, and looking up possible causes of the problem.
People who want to save money on transmission repairs and feel comfortable doing maintenance on their own often choose this option. However, it can take a long time and requires knowledge and skills that not all drivers have.
Joining a professional mechanic is the way to go if you want an easier solution or don’t have the skills to figure out what’s wrong with your transmission. Professional mechanics have a lot of knowledge and experience, and they usually use special computer tools to figure out what’s wrong.
While enlisting the help of a professional service may cost more in the short term, it can save drivers both time and money in the long run as they will be assured of an accurate diagnosis and quality service that could extend the life of their vehicle.
Having Transmission Issue? Riverside Transmission Has Got Your Back!
At Riverside Transmission, we understand that transmission repairs can be stressful and time-consuming. Our team of certified technicians has years of experience working with all types of transmissions and can diagnose and fix any issue quickly and effectively. Don’t let transmission problems hold you back—give us a call today!