The transmission is one of the hardest working components of your vehicle, and it is also one of the most important. Without a transmission, your vehicle would not be able to transfer the power supplied by the engine out to the wheels. In other words, when your transmission is stuck, so are you. Obviously, you want to do what you can to take care of your transmission with regular maintenance. This will help you avoid major repairs, which could include the need for replacing or rebuilding the transmission.

Therefore, here are some of the most common transmission problems you can look out for. At the first sign of any of these, you will want to bring your vehicle to a Central Valley transmission specialist like Ralph’s Transmission for a transmission service and inspection.

The Vehicle Feels Sluggish

If the vehicle feels sluggish and is not accelerating as quickly as usual (sometimes you might even feel the slipping as it shifts between gears), then there’s a good chance it is a transmission/drivetrain issue. It is most likely a problem the clutch or the torque converter.

Low or Leaking Fluid

If you notice leaking transmission fluid under your vehicle, it is definitely cause for concern. It is usually bright red in color and fairly easy to identify. Most vehicles will also have a transmission dipstick (like that for your engine oil) that allow you to check transmission fluid levels under the hood. If there is a leak or the fluid is low, dirty or burnt, you will want to bring your vehicle to a transmission expert immediately. You may just need a standard transmission service to replace the fluid, filter and pan gasket, or it could be the sign of some other internal transmission damage.

Check Engine Light

The transmission is one of many things in a vehicle that can trip the dreaded check engine light. There are also specific transmission warning lights like the transmission temperature gauge. If you ever see that going off, get off the road as soon as you can and call for roadside assistance. Otherwise, the check engine light can mean that there is a transmission problem. Ralph’s Transmission provides free diagnostic readings and initial inspections. If it is not a transmission problem, we’ll be happy to recommend you to another general auto repair shop in town.

Burning Smells

Another sign of a transmission problem is burning smells or smoke coming from the vehicle. Again, this could be something else like the engine, brakes, cooling system or exhaust system, so it is worth getting looked at by a professional mechanic. Burning transmission fluid has a unique sweet/syrupy smell, so sometimes it is identifiable by scent alone.

Grinding, Slipping or Clunking

The transmission can make some really unpleasant noises if there is a problem. You may feel the gears slip during shifting or you may feel/hear that distinctive grinding noise. If you hear a loud clunk or any other strange sounds as you accelerate or shift between gears, you will want to have a transmission specialist look at the vehicle as soon as possible.

The Vehicle Won’t Move at All

Last but certainly not least is if the vehicle doesn’t move at all or won’t shift into certain gears. If this happens, there is definitely an issue with the transmission or somewhere in the drivetrain system. Ralph’s Transmission offers free towing from within 30 miles of our downtown Modesto shop if you need help getting your vehicle in for a transmission inspection.

These are just a few of the most common signs of a failing or damaged transmission, or sometimes just a transmission that’s in need of standard maintenance. If you notice any of these or have any other transmission problems, call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.

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