A man works on the components of a car with it raised over his head.Not all transmission problems are caused by issues with the transmission itself. If you are hearing strange noises, having trouble shifting, experiencing sluggish acceleration or noticing any other common signs of transmission damage, it may not always be the transmission to blame. You definitely want to have your transmission inspected by a transmission specialist like Ralph’s Transmission. We’ll be able to tell you if it is a transmission problem or something else. If it is something else, we will gladly refer you to a general auto repair shop or another specialty mechanic.

Let’s take a look at some common transmission issues and the causes that may be at hand…

Trouble Shifting

This is one of the most common signs of internal transmission damage. It may be the clutch system in a manual transmission vehicle or the torque converter in an automatic transmission vehicle. There could be gear damage or transmission fluid problems (too much, too little, or too old/burnt/corroded). However, there are other automotive sources that can also hinder your shifting. It might actually be a clogged catalytic converter, bad O2 sensor, dirty mass air flow sensor (MAF), clogged air filter, dirty fuel filter or some other fuel system, exhaust system or engine issue. Any problem that makes the engine work harder to provide power will ultimately put more stress on the transmission, as well.

Sluggish Acceleration

Usually, when the vehicle feels unusually sluggish while accelerating, it is a transmission issue. This sluggishness can also be caused by problems with the engine oil, battery, air intake, spark plugs, fuel system, exhaust system or various drivetrain components.

Strange Noises

Rattling, humming, clunking and grinding are all common sounds associated with a struggling transmission. There are many strange noises your vehicle can make and they are usually not something you want to hear. Anytime you notice an unusual sound, you will want to get your vehicle looked at. If those sounds are also in conjunction with transmission performance issues, then you should get your vehicle inspected by a transmission specialist. Just know that strange noises can come from just about anywhere in your car, including the brakes, suspension, wheels, engine, cooling system, exhaust system, fuel system, etc.

Burning Smells

It’s never a good feeling when you smell something burning in your vehicle. Sweeter burnt smells are typically associated with automotive fluids like engine oil, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid. You’ll typically notice a little burning smell after you get an oil change and that’s usually nothing to be concerned about. That’s common. If you detect a really strong burning smell of any kind, you won’t want to wait too long before seeing a professional mechanic. It could be a transmission issue, electrical/wiring problem or something else.

Shaking, Vibrations and Bumps

Another common sign of transmission damage is when the vehicle significantly shakes and vibrates while driving. Sometimes, the ride may be extra bumpy and the vehicle lurches upon acceleration or deceleration. Your transmission may be too blame, but other sources for these performance issues may be the brakes, suspension, exhaust system or the engine itself.

All of these symptoms are commonly associated with transmission trouble, which is why it makes sense to take your vehicle to a transmission specialist first. You’ll want to rule out transmission damage before having someone else look at it. Just know that what seems like a transmission issue may not actually be anything to do with the transmission. Another thing to remember is that all of your vehicle’s systems work together in harmony while you drive. A problem with one component can snowball into problems with other systems. If you ignore exhaust system damage, it will ultimate affect the engine, transmission and everything else. It’s always best to get the issue(s) addressed early on before it gets even worse.

For all your Central Valley transmission inspection, repair and maintenance needs, call Ralph’s Transmission at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.

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