Automatic transmissions, or automatic gearboxes, are generally baffling to many motorists. Only a few people who are well-versed with these complex transmissions actually understand how they work. Regardless, every motorist needs to know when they are experiencing auto transmission problems so they can have the problems fixed as soon as possible. This is because transmission problems, if ignored, can quickly exacerbate and result in soaring repair costs that hurt your wallet.
If you are the owner of an automatic transmission car, never ignore the following signs, as they may be warning you of potentially costly transmission trouble.
Your car's transmission is designed to help regulate the speed at which the engine runs. If an engine runs at a speed higher or lower than that at which the drivetrain wheels are turning, fuel economy suffers and emissions are increased. When this happens, the transmission may slip.
Slipping occurs when the constituent parts of an automatic gearbox fail to lock into gear as they should. This generates internal friction, which causes the temperature of the transmission fluid to go up. Overheating fluid can cause extensive damage to the transmission system.
You can learn that your transmission is slipping by checking the readings on the tachometer. The tachometer is fitted on the dashboard to measure the number of revolutions your car engine makes per minute. Every time engine speed rises, car speed should also rise correspondingly: An increase in engine speed that is short of a corresponding increase in car speed indicates a slip in your automatic gearbox.
Strange noises coming from your transmission
Transmission fluid is the all-important lubricant that keeps your transmission working smoothly when your engine is running. When fluid level is low, you may hear some unusual, grinding or cranking sounds originating from your automatic transmission. This is often because of some metallic components rubbing against each other in the transmission system. The lack of enough fluid in the transmission can also cause friction, which may lead to premature wear and tear of moving components.
With a transmission dipstick, you can check whether you are running low on transmission fluid. If the fluid level is low, you will need to top up your transmission with more of the manufacturer-recommended transmission fluid. But before you can do that, have your automatic transmission checked out for possible leaks, which might be yet another warning sign that your transmission is failing.