5 Signs That Your Transmission Is Failing

Seeing signs of transmission failure in your car? Find out what that could mean for your wallet — and what your options are if you decide it's time to sell your car with transmission problems.

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What Does A Transmission Do?

Your transmission serves the purpose of ensuring the proper amount of power goes to your wheels to drive at the desired speed. The teeth of the transmission’s gears operate similarly to the gears on a multi-speed bicycle.

What Are The Signs Of A Failing Transmission?

signs of failing transmission

Your transmission will give you different signs to alert you that it is failing or gone completely bad:

Transmission Slipping: “Transmission slipping” is in reference to when your transmission shifts into a gear without corresponding to its current speed. A slipping transmission can be troubling at best and a safety hazard at worst. It is a clear indicator that your car needs some maintenance.

Rough Shifts: A failing transmission may manifest itself in rough gear shifts. You may experience jerky gear changes as your car accelerates. Once again, this is a clear indicator that your car needs to be taken into the shop.

Burning Smell: Your transmission may overheat when it’s going bad. This is due to it working harder than it is intended to, causing increased friction and producing the subsequent scent of burning. Should you get a whiff of a burning smell, have your transmission addressed immediately before it completely fails on you.

Strange Sounds: A failing transmission may clunk, grind, whir, hum, or produce any other assortment of sounds. None of these are good signs and should be addressed immediately.

Why Is Your Transmission Failing?

Transmission failure can have one or multiple culprits causing it. These causes can be any of the following:

  • Neglected Transmission Fluid: Low. worn out, or burned transmission fluid is the most common cause of transmission issues. It’s crucial that you check and maintain your transmission fluid levels. If your car seems sluggish, check your transmission fluid and get a fluid flush if necessary.

  • Solenoid Issues: Problems with the solenoid can be the reason behind transmission issues. The solenoid is an electromagnetic component in charge of controlling the flow of fluid within your transmission.

  • When gears shift, your car’s Engine Control Module engages the solenoid, pushing transmission fluid into the valve to activate the correct gear. The transmission solenoid regulates the amount of fluid passed through during this entire process. Without it, too little fluid might cause overheating and slipping.

  • Bad Transmission Bands: If your transmission bands are worn or broken, they can cause your transmission to slip because the bands are what links the gears together in an automatic transmission. They must engage and release in precise increments in order to maintain peak performance.

  • While bands or clutch plates might only need an adjustment, the lack of transmission fluid can cause them to become worn or burned throughout the transmission and in the torque converter.

  • The Clutch: Problems with the clutch can arise from a lack of clean transmission fluid being pumped through at the precise time with the right pressure to shift the gears. Automatic vehicles have a torque converter, but the same wear and tear can occur for the same reason.

  • Worn Gears: Gears that have been worn down are the result of low or burned out fluid. The wear on tear on the gears over time will cause them to slip and not engage properly. You may even feel the jerky shifts and slippage when you try to accelerate your vehicle.

  • Bad Torque Converter: Torque converter issues do plenty of heavy lifting within your transmission. This makes it susceptible to wear and tear and, like other parts of the transmission, it requires fluid in the right amounts to flow over it at the right time. If this fluid flow fails to happen, the transmission will begin slipping.

Costs Of Repairing A Failing Transmission

repair broken transmission

Full and total replacement of your transmission can cost an average of $2,800.

  • Replacement ranges from $1,400 to $5,800 depending on its year/make/model.

  • If electronics are at fault for the transmission’s failure, the repair can cost about $800, labor included.

  • Rebuilding your transmission (instead of outright replacement) costs an average of $1400.

Ultimately, you have to fix your transmission if you intend to keep driving that car.

Can You Drive With A Bad Transmission?

Truthfully, no you cannot. It is both damaging to your transmission and dangerous to you and your passengers for you to be driving with a bad transmission.

Take your vehicle to a mechanic as quickly as possible and have your transmission serviced.

Sell A Car With A Failing Transmission

Repairing your transmission might cost more than your vehicle is actually worth. Fortunately, WeBuyTotaledCars specializes in taking less-than-perfect cars off their owner’s hands for cash. A bad transmission might be a headache for you, but it’s no problem for us!

Our entire process is as simple as 1-2-3:

Step 1: Get your free quote! All you have to do is type in some basic details on our website and you'll get a free, guaranteed quote in under 90 seconds.

Towing is free — always. You'll never need to worry about any hidden fees cutting into your profits!

Step 2: Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! If you’re happy with your quote, you’ll be able to schedule your vehicle retrieval with one of our partners within your area. They’re trusted to come to you at a time that works best for you.

Step 3: Complete your sale! Once the driver arrives, you’ll sign over the title and receive the amount you were quoted. No fuss. It's that simple.

Contact WeBuyTotaledCars today and worry about what to do when your transmission goes bad no more!

How do you know when your transmission is going out?

Some telltale signs of impending transmission failure include:

  • Engine chugs or revs without igniting
  • Slow, weak or delayed acceleration
  • Difficulty shifting gears or hard shifting
  • Grinding, whining or other strange noises
  • Won’t go in reverse
  • Burned or strange smells
  • Check engine light

What happens when your transmission fails?

When your transmission fails completely, your vehicle will not move. There is nothing left to transfer the power from the engine throughout your vehicle in order for it to accelerate. A failed transmission results in a dead set of wheels.

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