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Signs of a Bad Transmission

Maintenance Worker


When your transmission is having problems, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible. Without it, your car won’t start, so learn to recognize these signs of a bad transmission so you can catch problems early.

The biggest sign of transmission trouble is leaking fluid. Transmission fluid doesn’t get used up like engine oil, so running low on transmission fluid is a sign of something wrong. If you notice low fluid levels or think your transmission is leaking (you’ll see red, tart-smelling fluid on the ground), get to a mechanic or your dealership for repairs.

An easy way to spot transmission issues is smelling it. Usually tart-smelling, transmission fluid eventually starts to smell like it’s burning, which is when you need to get a fluid change. If you let the transmission fluid go like this, it could lead to your transmission burning up and needing to be replaced.

Depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, you’ll hear different danger sounds. Manuals grind when you switch gears, while automatics have whining or buzzing sounds along with shaking when the car switches gears.