Automatic transmissions rule. The old days of shifting your own gears are a thing of the past for most drivers. But automatic transmission trouble can be a big inconvenience for any driver if it comes at the wrong time in the wrong place. Here are some signs to look out for that may mean you are having transmission issues.
When you are driving, your vehicle seems to slip in an out of gear without you touching anything. That’s what some call, not surprisingly, a “slipping transmission.”
When your vehicle shifts from one gear to the next, you hear a loud “clunk.” Transmissions are supposed to be nearly silent when they shift, so that noise is telling you something is wrong.
If you notice there’s a puddle of some fluid under your vehicle, your transmission could be leaking fluid. Try to figure out what color it is (try putting a piece of cardboard underneath to capture some of the fluid). If it is red or brown, that’s a sign it could be transmission fluid. Sometimes you may smell the transmission fluid, too; it has what some consider a “sweet” odor.
You may have a warning light that goes on when your transmission fluid is low (it could be a special transmission symbol or simply the Check Engine light). That light could also mean the fluid is too hot or has low pressure.
If you shift your vehicle into D (for Drive) and it doesn’t move or slowly engages after some delay, you may be seeing the start of a serious problem.
Of course, you don’t want a malfunctioning transmission to strand you at some inopportune time. So if your vehicle is showing any of these signs, arrange a time for a technician to check it out. Not only are broken transmissions an inconvenience, they can be a safety hazard, too.