What Is Happening When Your Transmission Slips?
In a nutshell, a transmission slip is when your vehicle changes gear unexpectedly. Slipping in and out of gears when your transmission is not supposed to can cause a lot of damage to your transmission, especially if you don’t get it serviced.
Why Would a Transmission Slip?
The most common reason for transmission slipping is just from normal wear and tear. If you do not regularly take your car for a tune-up and inspection, you might be unaware of the problem developing. If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, then you should get it serviced between 70,000 and 100,000 miles. For a manual transmission, you should have it serviced after 40,000 to 60,000 miles.
Another cause for transmission slips is a failing clutch. The clutch is a device that the transmission uses to shift gears by connecting and disconnecting drive shafts. Drivers use the clutch whenever they must change gears, park, or put the vehicle in reverse. Being too rough on the clutch adds to the wear and tear on the transmission. The parts that connect the clutch and the transmission together can become worn out and begin to fail. If this is the problem, then a mechanic will have to remove the old clutch and replace it with a new one.
There could also be a problem with the transmission fluid. This fluid is vital for the transmission while shifting and changing gears. It keeps the transmission and its gears lubricated so that the parts do not rub against each other and cause damage. If you have not had your transmission fluid checked in a while, this may be the cause of the transmission slipping. There is always a chance that you or the mechanic didn’t put enough transmission fluid in the reservoir during its last check-up.
The Symptoms of A Slipping Transmission
There are a few transmission slippage symptoms that you can watch out for. Once you notice two or more of these signs, it is imperative that you pull off to the side of the road and call for a tow truck. Do not continue driving with a slipped transmission.
The first sign is usually a shaking or vibration motion that suddenly occurs when you change gears. This is easier to notice in manual transmission vehicles, as you must change the gears by hand when you are speeding up or slowing down.
An obvious sign of the transmission slipping is an accelerating noise that occurs when the gear slips for the first time. When the gear slips out of the transmission, it will temporarily give off a revving noise. People who don’t know about transmission issues will wave off the sound like a temporary mistake that quickly fixes itself. But if you do not take your car into the shop shortly after hearing this sound, your transmission could quickly become a complete write off.
Some Other Signs of Transmission Slipping
- Car is revving too hard for no apparent reason (automatic transmissions)
- Strange burning smells coming from under the hood
- Crunching or grinding noises when changing gears
- Difficulty performing smooth gear shifts
- Dashboard lights coming on or off repeatedly
- Lethargic acceleration when you press on the gas
Don’t Wait to Get Your Transmission Serviced
If you wait too long, when you finally take your transmission to be serviced by the mechanic, they are probably going to say that there’s simply too much damage to repair. This means that you will have to purchase a brand new transmission. Transmissions are so expensive that some people decide to purchase a new car instead of even attempting the replacement. The worst thing about transmission damage is that it does not take long to occur.