Think you can put off troubleshooting your car’s transmission? Think again. Here are some transmission problems you should never ignore.

Believe it or not, the average driver puts more than 13,400 miles on their car every year. With so much time behind the wheel, it’s vital that your car runs efficiently and smoothly every day.

No matter how well-maintained your car is, there’s always the chance that surprise issues and repairs will pop up. Transmission problems are some of the most common issues drivers face, but some are more severe than others.

Here are a few of the most common transmission issues to watch for while you’re on the road.

Grinds During Gear Shifts

Your transmission should allow your car to shift gears smoothly. If your car has an automatic transmission, this process happens on its own as you accelerate. If you have a manual transmission vehicle, you’ll have to shift the gears yourself.

Regardless of the type of transmission you have, the shifting process should always be smooth and quiet.

If you hear a grinding noise or feel the steering wheel start to shake as the car shifts into the next gear, you need to bring the car to a mechanic. That grinding noise means the transmission is under strain and if you let it continue, you could do serious damage to the system.

The sooner your mechanic can identify and fix the problem, the longer your car’s transmission will last.

Strange Noises Keep Happening

Grinding noises aren’t the only sounds you need to listen for. Pay attention to the way your car sounds when you’re stopped at a light or while you’re shifting from park to drive.

If you hear a strange whining noise or loud clanking sounds under the hood, it’s likely because the transmission got damaged. In most cases, these noises will signify a minor repair issue like low transmission fluid.

Check your fluid levels under the hood. If the transmission fluid is low, you can always add more, but if it’s near the fill line, bring your car to a mechanic. There may be an underlying issue that’s contributing to the noise and keeping your car’s transmission from working properly.

Car Keeps Slipping Out of Gear

Once your car shifts into a new gear, it’s supposed to stay in that gear until you change your speed and signal to the transmission that it’s time to change gears. If your car keeps dropping out of gear or you see that it won’t shift into a higher gear at all, you have serious transmission issues.

Continuing to drive with those slipping gears will put more strain on your system. Over time, the transmission will eventually stop shifting altogether leaving you with a stalled and unusable car.

If you notice that the gears keep slipping or struggle to shift into a higher gear in the first place, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Visible Transmission Fluid Leaks

Transmission fluid makes it possible for your car to shift gears. Without that fluid, the mechanisms grind against each other and do long-term damage to your car.

Take look under your car. If you notice any strange drips on the underside or see spots where fluids dried on the pavement, take your car to a mechanic.

Leaking transmission fluid needs to get repaired quickly, but finding the source of the leak can be tough. Your mechanic will be able to identify the source quickly and make any necessary repairs to prevent more extensive damage to the system.

Burning Smells from Under the Hood

Sometimes, transmission fluid won’t leak under the car. Instead, it will leak into the engine compartment. Anytime you run the car, the engine block heats up.

Once it hits a certain temperature, it can start burning the leaking transmission fluid. You’ll notice this as soon as it happens. The smell will seep through your air filters and into the car while you’re driving.

If you smell something burning while you’re driving, bring your car to the mechanic immediately.

Burning transmission fluid isn’t the only possible cause. There could be worse issues contributing to the burning smell which could threaten the safety and integrity of your engine.

Check Engine Light Turns On

Modern cars have warning systems in place to let you know when something is wrong with your vehicle. Start paying attention to the lights on your dashboard.

If you see the check engine light and can’t immediately identify the cause, bring your car to the mechanic.

They’ll be able to inspect the system and run diagnostic tests to find the cause of the problem. If the warning is due to a problem with the transmission, they’ll be able to discuss your options. If the light got triggered by something else, they’ll tell you what’s wrong and help you find the right solution for your car.

Overall Lack of Maintenance

Every component of your car needs regular maintenance and care. While most drivers know to bring their cars in for oil changes, top off the fluids as needed, and take the time to get their tires rotated, most forget about the transmission.

If you can’t remember the last time you got your car’s transmission inspected or serviced, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a reliable auto repair pro.

Failing to stay on top of maintenance often means minor issues can turn into costly repairs in the future. As long as you stay on top of maintenance appointments, you should be able to keep your transmission in good shape for years to come.

Have You Noticed These Transmission Problems?

These are just a few of the most common and problematic issues drivers can experience over the years. If you notice any of these transmission problems, don’t wait to see if they get worse.

Schedule an appointment with your mechanic immediately. The sooner they can fix the damage, the better off your car will be.

Looking for additional tips to help you keep your car on the road longer? Check out our latest posts.