As reliable as most automatic transmissions are, they are relatively easy to break and quite expensive to fix.  Being aware of how your vehicle performs, and any change in performance, or noise while performing can be your first clue of an issue.


One of the most common signs that there may be a problem is a delayed engagement.  That is, there is a moment of hesitation between the time you put a shifter into “D” (drive) or “R” (reverse) and when the transmission actually kicks in.  Other signs of problems with automatic transmissions can include slippage or jerking/shuddering of the transmission.  It is also not a good sign, certainly, if the transmission gets stuck in a gear.  These problems may be more noticeable when the engine is still cold or after the vehicle is warmed up. A vehicle that is low on transmission fluid due to a leaking transmission, can cause transmission performance issues, or a burning smell or dark transmission fluid can be another symptom.  In today’s vehicles the check engine light will generally illuminate if the transmission is not shifting properly and at times you can hear, humming, grinding or buzzing while the transmission is shifting or in certain gears.


It never pays to ignore a transmission problem, which may be fixed if caught early.  If you experience any of the above described conditions, we recommend having your trusted repair facility inspect and advise you as to the best course of action.


Proper maintenance on transmissions is to keep the transmission fluid, that cleans, cools and lubricates them clean.  So have your transmission regularly serviced, have the filter replaced, reseal the transmission pan and exchange new fluid into the lines, transmission and torque converter.  This service should be performed about every 2 years or 30,000 miles, having this service performed regularly will help to extend the life of your transmission.  Happy Motoring!

Karen Johnston

All About Automotive, Inc.

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