It’s tough to really point to any part of your car or truck and say “This is the most important thing to keeping your car running.” Think about it. Without oil, your engine seizes. Without coolant, it overheats. Without a battery, it will not start. And without air in your tires, you’re not going anywhere. You get the picture. A car is truly the sum of its parts – and when any of those vital components aren’t maintained and fail, you’re stuck and it’s time to call roadside assistance.
Many technicians will point to your transmission as the most important thing to care for. While it’s not the only thing to stay on top of, it certainly ranks way up there. You will not find a garage that specializes in coolant flushes, battery replacement, etc, but there are garages that specialize in transmissions. That has to tell you something. Your car’s transmission is essentially the component that transmits power from the engine to the wheels and makes it “go!” That’s why it’s so important to be able to identify transmission issues.
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Here are the Early Warning Signs of Transmission Trouble:
- Slippery gears
Even if you’ve never experienced a slipped gear, it’s pretty easy to identify as it’s happening. Imagine driving along and suddenly putting your car in neutral and pushing the gas. The engine revs and nothing happens. With a slipped gear, you may experience this, followed by a sudden lurching as the gear catches and your car begins to roll again. Usually this means your transmission fluid is low, which could be caused by a leak or neglecting to keep the fluid reservoir filled.
- Shifting issues
If you drive a manual transmission and have problems shifting gears, this is a dead giveaway you’re having issues with your transmission. If you drive an automatic and notice your car shifting either too early or too late, this is also a sign your transmission could be full of dirt and other gunk and needs to be flushed.
- Momentary stalling or surging
Neither of these things is normal. If your car starts lurching forward or suddenly slowing for no reason while driving, it’s time to have a mechanic take a look at your transmission.
What to do if you think you have transmission issues:
Check Your Transmission Level
Sometimes it’s easy to determine if you need a transmission flush or a topping off of transmission fluid just by popping your hood and checking the level that’s in your reservoir. Your transmission will have a dipstick similar to your oil dipstick that you can check in the same way. Just remember the following.
- Make sure your engine’s warm and your car is on. Also, make sure your emergency brake is engaged.
- Transmission fluid should be clear or pinkish. If not, it’s time for a flush.
- If the level doesn’t reach the dipstick’s FULL line, add more.
If your car’s experiencing transmission issues, get to a shop as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the more damage you could be doing to your car by ignoring the problem.
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