Transmission Problems: A Troubleshooting Guide for Car Owners

2 min

Car manufacturers have created innovative transmissions that come with as many as eight and ten gears. These fancy and complicated systems achieve an 8% better fuel economy. Unfortunately, they also come with a lot more problems.

If you find yourself struggling with transmission problems, this guide can help. By understanding what signs to look for, their causes, and possible repairs, you can get your car running smoothly again.

This guide will help you troubleshoot your transmission problems.

Troubleshooting Your Transmission Issues

The first step is realizing that you have transmission issues. This could be a weird smell, leaking fluid, or new mechanical sound. Once you determine that there’s a problem, you can use the symptoms to identify the cause and then determine the solution.

Fluid Is Leaking 

If you see fluid leaking underneath your car, then you need to find the source of the leak. It could be from the pan gasket, the pan itself, a faulty seal, the lines, the bolts, or the torque converter.

The solution for fixing a leak is to replace the part that’s causing the leak. This could require you to replace one or more of the gasket, pan, seals, bolts, lines, or converter. Once you make this replacement, the leak should stop.


If your transmission overheats, you risk ruining the entire system and having to rebuild a transmission. This makes it imperative that you repair the transmission to stop the overheating quickly.

It could be overheating because the fluids are low and not lubricating enough. The fluid could have burned or is ineffective. This sometimes happens when the manufacturer fails to put the right fluid in the system.

This could result in you filing a GM lemon claim. You’ll file a lemon claim to recover because the new car you bought has a defective transmission.

Clicking or Whining Noise 

When you hear clicking and whining coming from the transmission, this is a clear sign that your fluids are low or you have a faulty converter. The low fluid levels mean that the metal grinds and clicks on itself.

To make the noises stop, you’ll either need to add transmission fluid or replace the converter.

Erratic and Delayed Shifting 

If you drive an automatic car, the vehicle does the shifting for you. The transmission will shift through the gears as you accelerate. If your transmission is having issues, it won’t smoothly shift.

Instead, shifting is erratic or delayed. This could be a result of fluid issues, including low levels, the wrong fluid used, burnt, or ineffective fluid. Other causes could be broken vacuum lines or a defective solenoid.

The solution is to add or replace the fluid. If this doesn’t work, then you’ll need to replace the lines or the solenoid.

Fix Your Car Transmission Problems

As you can see, you can fix the majority of your transmission problems by replacing or adding fluid. This will keep the components fully lubricated to prevent them from grinding and overheating.

If you go through the troubleshooting and repair steps and the problem isn’t fixed, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands. You could have a lemon car and need to have the manufacturer take the car back.

Browse our other car-related articles for more helpful advice on how to care for and repair your car.

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