How Can I Tell If My Transmission Is Going Bad?

Transmission problems can be expensive to repair, which is why it’s important to have your transmission inspected at the first sign of trouble. What are the signs of transmission problems? Hummel’s Automotive Diagnostic & Repair lists them below.

Burning Smells

If you smell anything hot coming from underneath your automobile, it’s possible that your transmission is overheating because that is where it is located. It might smell like hot chemicals because the transmission fluid is also overheating. The most common cause of an overheated transmission is low transmission fluid.

Check Engine Light

Your transmission sends data to your vehicle’s engine control unit and if it sends an error code, the unit will turn on the check engine light. The check engine light covers a variety of engine problems, and one of those problems is trouble with your vehicle’s transmission.

Gear Trouble

One thing that points directly to the transmission is problems with your gears. It could be that your vehicle is not shifting through the gears, that it is struggling to shift through the gears, that it is slipping out of gear, or that you cannot get it into gear at all. All of these things are definite signs that you have transmission problems that need to be addressed right away.

Grinding Noise

You shouldn’t hear your transmission grind the gears when it shifts them or when you put the transmission into gear. Grinding sounds indicate that the parts are not lubricated properly and are wearing against each other. You also shouldn’t hear squealing noises, nor should your transmission clunk every time it goes into gear or shifts gears.

Leaking Fluid

A leaking transmission is a problem. The transmission can leak from the transmission pan, the gasket, the seals, the transmission hoses, or even the torque converter. Transmission fluid is red. If you see red spots on your garage floor underneath the center of your automobile, we hate to say it but your transmission is leaking.

Neutral Sounds

Another sign you have a problem brewing in your transmission is humming when your vehicle is in neutral. This is different from the sounds we described above. Your vehicle should not make any noise while it’s in neutral other than the sound of your engine idling. A humming sound indicates problems.


Finally, you know how your vehicle feels when it shifts gears, and if there are any changes to these sensations, you could have a transmission problem. Your car shouldn’t vibrate or jolt as the transmission shifts gears. The gear shifts should be smooth.

Hummel’s Automotive Diagnostic & Repair in St. George, UT, would be happy to inspect your vehicle’s transmission if you suspect that it has a problem. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Photo by gangliu10 from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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