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Automatic Transmission Symptoms that Require Urgent Attention

An Automatic Transmission is a computer driven, complex mechanical system. Therefore, depending on which car you drive, repairs to your automatic transmission can cost more than engine repairs. Bear this in mind the next time you notice something peculiar and decide to ignore it. Rather act immediately when something doesn’t seem right. These are some of the symptoms you need to look out for:

1. Grinding or shaking during gear change
In normal circumstances, an automatic transmission usually transitions smoothly from gear to gear. If you detect any grinding or slipping noises or feel any shaking when your car changes gear, it is a sure sign that something is amiss. These symptoms may be very subtle at first, but start paying closer attention. It may signal the start of a worsening situation.  It is time to take your car to an auto repair shop for a thorough checkup, should these symptoms already be present. Transmission problems usually get progressively worse over time, so please do not try and wish it away.
In conclusion: be on the lookout for early warning symptoms related to your automatic transmission. It is important to have it attended to from the onset of a problem to prevent a larger problem. Have a qualified automatic transmission specialist attend to your car asap.

2. Car not engaging or unresponsive in gear
Does your car respond immediately when you engage drive or reverse, or is there a delay? Has your car stopped responding when drive or reverse gear is engaged? These issues can signal a problem with your transmission. There may be a simple solution rather than a complete automatic transmission failure. A properly done transmission fluid change could be a solution to this problem.  Transmission fluid has protective properties which can degrade over time, causing it to become thick and no longer protect your transmission the way it was intended.
The cause of these problems could be related to a computer system that is no longer functioning correctly. Something as simple as a computer reset can take care of the problem. An easy way to reset the computer system is to disconnect the battery, leave it for 30 minutes and then reconnect. This may resolve the problem. If not, rather book your car in at a professional and qualified transmission auto mechanic to make a comprehensive assessment.

To summarize: A failure to engage in gear, or a delay in engaging, may be caused by a minor fault or a need to reset the computer.  If in doubt, take your car to a professional.

3. Noises in Neutral – whining, humming, clunking or other
There are other noises that you need to be on the lookout for, that are indicators of transmission troubles. When in neutral, you may hear some of these noises coming from under your car, like humming, whining, or clunking sounds. These types of sounds are never a good sign and they can point to a transmission issue. Again, noises such as these do not always have to mean that it is a major problem, but it sure does benefit you and your pocket if you get it checked out.
Noises could indicate that it is time to replace your transmission fluid. Transmission fluid plays a huge role in keeping all the transmission components lubricated. Over time it can become less effective and no longer prevent friction the way it should. Friction can cause damage to the complexities of an automatic transmission system.
By the time you start hearing noises as described above, it could already be too late and some damage may be present. To limit further damage, we strongly recommend that you have a qualified automatic transmission mechanic look at it.
To summarize: Noises need to be attended to as soon as possible. They could indicate a smaller issue, like the need for transmission fluid replacement, or it could be a more complex problem.

4. Burning smell
A burning smell is NEVER a good sign and your car will need immediate attention. The most common reason for a burning type of smell is overheating of transmission fluid. Do not underestimate the importance of transmission fluid. Its purpose is to lubricate all the complex and moving components of your car’s entire transmission system.
Over time transmission fluid becomes less effective and the transmission starts to experience friction. This will cause the breakdown of parts. The transmission can also see a buildup of debris and sludge. The accumulation of these problems can lead to a complete transmission breakdown if not rectified.
Low levels of transmission fluid can also cause friction in the transmission. Transmission fluid, unlike motor oil, does not reduce in volume over time. A reduction in transmission fluid will therefore most likely be caused by a leak. Make sure that the fluid in your transmission is the correct type for your car. Using the wrong transmission fluid can equally cause damage in the long run.
To summarize: A burning smell coming from your transmission needs immediate attention. Make sure you check your transmission fluid level if you know how. Alternatively contact a professional transmission repair center, like BTR Chicago Inc. and allow us to pinpoint the cause of the smell.

5. Slipping of Gears
Have you ever experienced your car slipping out of gear and losing traction while driving? If this has happened to you, then you would know that it is a major safety concern. It can be very scary when you are driving and find that your gears are engaging and disengaging at will. Especially when giving gas tends to improve the problem, making a scary situation even worse. The computer system in your car regulates the transmission system and signals it to shift between gears. The malfunctioning of this system can send incomplete or inaccurate signals to the transmission.
To summarize: The slipping of gears is a significant safety issue. If your car’s gears are not engaging properly, come visit our shop as soon as possible. If your car is no longer safe to drive, call us and we will arrange for a tow.

6. Low levels of transmission fluid or leaks
Have you ever noticed a dirty dark red or bright red fluid on your garage floor or driveway? This is most likely transmission fluid. Transmission fluid should not leak as this can lead to some serious transmission problems or eventually, a complete transmission breakdown.
Transmission fluid does not reduce in volume over time. If your transmission fluid levels are low, it is most likely due to a leak. Low levels of transmission fluid will lead to increased friction between the complex components. This excessive friction will first lead to minor component failure, which will eventually lead to a complete transmission failure, if left unchecked.
To summarize: Low levels or leaks of transmission fluid can easily be repaired. Look out for red fluid under your car as an indication of a leak. Have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent much larger and expensive transmission problems.

7. Engine warning light
Your engine warning light should never be ignored. It can indicate a current problem or warn you of an imminent problem. The light may indicate a problem, but it doesn’t pinpoint where the problem lies. It can be in one of many possible locations or components, not necessarily in your transmission.  There are numerous sensors installed in your transmission. These sensors will send a signal to the computer if there is an unusual occurrence. This signal triggers the engine warning light to appear.
Why do you need to have the engine light checked out? Early detection is key to prevent further damage. The light could signal a transmission problem, which should be checked out immediately.
To summarize: Act as soon as possible when your engine warning light appears. The solution could be simple, like a minor repair or service requirement. Prevention of a larger problem is in your interest.
In conclusion

Problems with your transmission usually start as minor issues. By not attending to small issues, the problems can increase over time, which can end up costing you in many ways. Have you experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms, want peace of mind and to save money?  Call  BTR Chicago Inc. or bring your car to our shop for expert advice.

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