Next to your engine, your transmission is the most important part of your vehicle. It allows your engine to change gears, allowing you to regulate your speed while driving. For this reason, a malfunctioning or worn out transmission can greatly reduce the amount of control that you have over your vehicle's speed, and can cause a greater amount of wear on your engine and other components under the hood that can result in complicated and expensive repairs. Fortunately, there are a few early warning signs that you can look out for to determine when you need to head to a mechanic to have your transmission replaced.
One of the first warning signs that a failing transmission will exhibit, and also one of the easiest to notice, is a clunking or a grinding sound that comes from under the hood when your shift gears. This is more than a minor annoyance: this noise represents a great deal of wear for your transmission, and can be caused by worn gears themselves, damage to your transmission's belt, or even a lack of transmission fluid – while some of these issues are relatively minor, if allowed to progress far enough, they can require a full replacement of your transmission.
Another clear indication that your transmission needs to be looked at by a professional is if you experience a delay when shifting gears. This is when you press down on your gas pedal, but your car lags and does not speed up initially, before surging forward suddenly. This is a slightly more serious concern than simple noisy shifting is, since surging can greatly reduce the amount of control that you have over your car and can make an accident a likely occurrence.
Transmission Fluid Leaks
Another sign of an older transmission that likely needs to be replaced is if you experience leaking transmission fluid under your vehicle. A variety of different fluids can leak out of your vehicle, so it's important to identify the leak as transmission fluid over oil or another fluid so that you can deal with the problem. Transmission fluid has a red shade, though it can darken to a brownish hue over time as dirt contaminants the fluid. In order to check the color of the leak, simply blot it up with a white rag or a napkin. If the fluid is not red, you have an issue with another system within your vehicle.
For more information or assistance, contact a local auto repair specialist.