We’ve posted numerous articles throughout the years about common transmission problems that drivers experience. Strange noises, weak acceleration, slipping gears, grinding gears, transmission fluid leaks and other symptoms are all signs that there may be a transmission issue in your vehicle. If you are experiencing any of these problems, you will want to get your car, truck or SUV looked at by a transmission specialist as soon as possible.
However, what are the most common causes of these transmission issues? Which components are most likely to fail in any given transmission? Here are some of the problems we see most at Ralph’s Transmission:
1. Worn Pan Gasket
Probably the most common source of transmission fluid leaks is an easy one to fix. The transmission pan gasket will wear out over time, which causes the seal to weaken and will ultimately lead to leaking fluid. A standard transmission service will take care of this issue with fresh fluid, a new transmission filter and, of course, a new pan gasket installed.
2. Old/Contaminated Transmission Fluid
Speaking of fresh fluid, there is a reason why all vehicles need periodic transmission maintenance. Like your engine oil, you want your transmission fluid to be clean and healthy as it flows throughout the transmission system. It provides vital lubricating and cooling properties to keep the transmission running properly. If the fluid is burnt, dirty or contains any contaminants, it will ultimately lead to transmission problems.
3. Dirty Transmission Filter
The transmission filter is also a common culprit for transmission issues. If it is clogged or just plain past its prime, the fluid quality will degrade and that’s not good. This is why the filter is changed out as part of a standard transmission service.
4. Cracked Housing
This actually isn’t that common, but it can happen and it will lead to major transmission fluid leaks and potentially other internal transmission damage. Unfortunately, a cracked transmission housing will usually need to be replaced.
5. Torque Converter Failure
Automatic transmissions feature a torque converter that essentially controls the automated shifting between gears. It is a very sensitive and important piece of equipment, and it can be prone to failure.
6. Clutch System Problems
In manual transmissions, it is common for clutch system components to break, wear out or fail completely. These mechanical parts can usually just be repaired or replaced, so long as there is no major internal transmission damage in conjunction with the clutch problems.
7. Internal Damage
The transmission contains many moving parts, and any of them can fail at any given time. We’re talking about the gears, valves, oil pump and stators, just to name a few components. Low or poor quality transmission fluid is often a reason for these parts wearing out or failing, but sometimes it’s general wear and tear or just a bad part.
8. Rear Main Engine Seal
Though not technically part of the transmission, the rear main engine seal is a crucial seal between the engine and transmission. Just like the pan gasket or any seal in your vehicle, it can wear out with time and cause performance problems when leaks start to develop.
These are a few of the most common transmission issues we see every day at Ralph’s Transmission. If you are in the Central Valley area and think you might have a transmission problem, call us today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your free transmission inspection online.