Eight Signs That Your Automatic Transmission Is Not Working (and the Replacement Cost)

Your vehicle's engine and transmission are two of the most important components. While people love to talk about engines, transmissions don’t get the same amount of love.

But they’re critical parts of your vehicle, and if anything starts to go wrong, you need to address it immediately. You can save a lot of money by catching a minor transmission issue early.

However, what are the most important things to look out for? And how much will a transmission repair actually cost you? We’ll cover all that and more here. Let’s begin with a quick look at the signs to look for:

A bad transmission can be characterized by shifting problems or no movement in the drive or reverse gears. It could also indicate a worn transmission if you experience banging and creaking when shifting gears.

Here’s a more detailed list of the most common symptoms of a bad automatic transmission:

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad symptoms of automatic transmission
    1. 1. Strange Noises when Shifting
    2. 2. Tough shifting
    3. 3. Leaking Fluids
    4. 4. The Burning Aroma
    5. 5. Trouble getting in and out of Gear
    6. 6. Verify Engine Light
    7. 7. Slipping Gears
    8. 8. Unresponsive – Loss of Performance
  2. A Function for an Automatic Transmission
  3. Automatic Transmission Position
  4. Costs of Automatic Transmission Repair

Bad symptoms of automatic transmission

1. Strange Noises when Shifting

Automatic Shifting

It’s the most common sign of an aging transmission. As the gears shift, you hear lots of banging and clunking noises, which you know aren’t normal. You hear those signs because some things moving around inside your transmission that shouldn’t be.

This could also be a problem with your transmission timing, but it’s a problem either way. Although you can use an additive to help, your transmission will likely need a fluid change before it is fully fried.

2. Tough shifting

No Gear Shifting

When an automatic transmission changes gears, you should feel nothing. If you experience a clicking, crackling, or other unusual movement when your automatic transmission changes gears, it is likely that there are underlying problems that need to be addressed.

3. Leaking Fluids

Transmission Fluid Leak

A transmission leak is a problem if there's a puddle of red fluid under the vehicle. While it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to replace your entire transmission, you need to get it repaired as soon as possible. If you don't, it could cause more severe damage.

Reported: Transmission Fluid Leaks.

4. The Burning Aroma

Anytime you smell something burning, that’s a bad sign. If that burning smell It is coming from your transmission, it’s even worse. When something smells like it’s burning inside your transmission, something is Burning inside of your transmission

You might be able to fix the problem with a transmission flush, but if the problem persists, you’re going to need a rebuild or a new transmission.

Reported: Why Your Car After Driving Smells Like Burning Rubber

5. Trouble getting in and out of Gear

It’s your transmissions job to get you in and out of the right gear. So, if you can feel that your transmission is struggling to get in and out of gear, that’s a sign of an underlying problem you need to address.

6. Verify Engine Light

While it’s called a check engine light, most vehicles have it serving more than double duty. It usually monitors the transmission as one of its additional components. The transmission is the problem.

Some cars have separate warning lights for their transmission.

7. Slipping Gears

Slippery transmissions are a common sign of a poor transmission. If you notice that your transmission is slipping into the wrong gear before jumping back into the right one, that’s a sign of an underlying problem.

8. Unresponsive – Loss of Performance

When your transmission isn’t functioning the way it should, it’s not uncommon for it to revert to more basic functions or lose gears entirely. Performance will suffer if this happens.

So, if you find that your vehicle isn’t accelerating as fast as it should, or if it can’t seem to get past a certain speed, you might need to take a look at your transmission.

A Function for an Automatic Transmission

Automatic Transmission

The transmission is your vehicle’s power delivery unit. While your engine produces the power, your vehicle won’t move an inch until your transmission delivers it to the wheels.

You have a lot of gears in your transmission. Each one is great at a different function. Different gears maximize power output to perform different functions.

Your vehicle’s automatic transmission does this in many ways, but it’s heavily dependent on sensors feeding the TCM accurate information. That’s why it’s so important to replace faulty sensors as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’re risking damage to your transmission, which can lead to expensive repairs.

Automatic Transmission Position

Engine With Transmission

You will find your automatic transmission at the rear end of your engine. Your engine's placement can affect the exact location of your automatic transmission. Most engines are mounted with their serpentine belts, and thus the front end of the engine facing outward, but some cars have an engine that is sideways mounted.

The transmission is usually located closer to your vehicle's front. However, with a traditionally mounted engine, the transmission is typically located towards your vehicle’s center, connected to the driveline.

Costs of Automatic Transmission Repair

Transmission replacement costs average between $200-$6,000 While this is a lot of money, the good news is that you don’t usually need to Replacing your entire transmission. Rebuilding your entire transmission is possible even if it needs major repairs.

On average, transmission rebuilds run around $2,500. Once again, this isn’t cheap, but it’s far cheaper than a new transmission.

You might still be able make minor repairs, such as replacing the sensor in your transmission or flushing it with transmission fluid. The average cost of these jobs is $300 to $150.

Keep in mind, however that costs will vary depending on what vehicle you have and the place you are taking it to be repaired. Furthermore, if you opt for aftermarket parts, you’re likely going to spend less money than if you opt for an OEM replacement.

Additionally, dealerships tend to charge more for repairs than local repair shops. The dealership may have certified mechanics who are familiar with your vehicle.

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