5 Signs Your Car's Transmission is Failing & What to Do

Close Up of Car Transmission

Signs Your Transmission is Failing and What To Do When Your Transmission Fails

If you notice any unusual behaviors with your car's transmission, it's essential to take action promptly. Signs such as rough gear shifting, strange noises, fluid leaks or the "Check Engine" light coming on should not be ignored. Unaddressed transmission issues later lead to more costly repairs. Call our experts at Sturtevant Auto for assistance!

5 Signs Your Transmission is Failing

Learn how to spot the signs of transmission failure so you don’t end up on the side of the road or worse, in an accident.

Transmission Failure Sign #1 - Check Engine Light

Ignoring your check engine light is never a good idea- you could be in serious danger. A check engine light can indicate problems with your transmission - more specifically, issues with the pressure, heat levels or fluid levels inside your transmission. Get your car checked by a mechanic ASAP, especially if the light is flashing red.

Transmission Failure Sign #2 - Abnormal Noises

Humming, buzzing, gurgling, whining, and for manual cars, clunking, are all signs something's wrong with your transmission. You may have low or contaminated transmission fluid.

Transmission Failure Sign #3 - Gear Slipping

You'll know your transmission's gears are slipping when it's hard to shift gears and you hear whining or grinding noises. While gear slipping can sometimes be a minor fix, it can also be extremely dangerous and a sign of bigger issues. If your engine revs loudly or your car vibrates, shakes or shifts when you're driving, avoid driving your car.

Transmission Failure Sign #4 - Leaking Fluid and Burning Smell

Transmissions shouldn't leak. If you're suspecting transmission problems, a red spot beneath your car is a great confirmation of leaking transmission fluid. If the fluid is dark brown or black, your transmission temperature is likely off and the fluid is old and/or overheating. Notice a burning smell? Your transmission fluid is overdue for a change.

Transmission Failure Sign #5 - Hard Shifting and Delay in Acceleration

If you hear a clunk, feel a hard shift when changing gears, or notice a delayed response in acceleration or movement, your transmission may be in the beginning stages of failure.

Common Causes of Transmission Failure

Wondering what’s causing your transmission problems? Your transmission is probably failing due to one of these 5 factors: 

  1. Shifting gears when your car is not completely stopped is a sure way to ruin your transmission. Shifting gears when your car isn’t completely stopped can also damage your driveshaft and your suspension.

  2. Keeping low transmission fluid, causing poorly lubricated gears

  3. Using the wrong transmission fluid 

  4. Straining your car and overheating your transmission by towing when your car isn’t built for towing

  5. Not getting your transmission serviced regularly

What To Do When Your Transmission Goes Out

When your transmission fails, it won’t transfer the engine’s rotation to your car’s wheels. Essentially, your engine will turn but your wheels won’t. If you see signs or symptoms of transmission failure or slipping, get it checked out. Don’t risk it. If your transmission fails while driving, you will no longer be able to accelerate.

  1. Turn on your emergency lights and pull over. 

  2. When the car comes to a complete stop, put it in park.

  3. Call a towing service immediately.

Extend the Life of Your Car With Used Transmission Parts

If a new transmission or new transmission parts aren’t part of your rainy day fund, call Sturtevant Auto. We have a massive selection of used auto parts to keep your car running on a budget. Ready to throw in the towel? We’ll buy your car no matter what condition for the best price you’ll get, guaranteed.

Milwaukee-Area Salvage Yard Gets You Quick Cash for Your Junk Car

Repairing or fully replacing the transmission (new or used) in your 1998 Toyota Corolla is probably too costly to seriously consider. It had a great run, and you’ve made some lovely memories—it’s time to move on. Junk your Chevy Blazer, Honda Accord or Dodge Caravan at our salvage yard in Sturtevant, WI, and we'll get you a better price than you'll find anywhere else. We buy all types of cars, even those that can no longer run.

Sturtevant Auto buys your junk cars, offering you the best price near the Milwaukee area. We pull out the remaining usable auto parts and sell them back to our customers at a discounted rate. No one values your junked car like us, so you know we’ll give you the best price.

We will come to you, pay you cash on the spot, and pick up your car to bring to our junkyard.

Contact SE Wisconsin’s best source for used car parts for an affordable option to replace your transmission.