Problems That Can Develop With Your Car's Transmission

If you notice that the gear shifts in your automatic transmission are rough or erratic, or you notice any unusual burning smells, take you car to the mechanic as soon as possible. Small problems can quickly escalate if left unattended to wreak damage on the entire transmission system. Also, make sure to pay heed if the check engine light comes on.

Following are some problems that can develop with automatic transmissions.


Transmission fluid lubricates and cools your car's transmission, keeping it running at optimum temperatures. If the levels get too low, or the transmission's cooling system malfunctions, it can overheat. 

Overheating leads to major damage, and if the fluid gets low enough, the engine can seize completely. Once transmission fluid overheats, it loses much of its protective capacity. The anti-corrosive and lubricating elements in the fluid degrade so that corroded particles from engine components further contaminate the liquid.

If your transmission is overheating, you will experience a lack of response from the car once you press the accelerator. You should also notice a burning smell. A smell of rotten eggs or sulphur can indicate that transmission oil has leaked into the exhaust system and this can damage the catalytic converter.

Solenoid Problems

If the transmission fluid levels are as they should be, another problem may be that the fluids are not being distributed throughout the transmission correctly. Transmission solenoids direct the fluid to the various components so that it functions effectively.

If a shift transmission solenoid is malfunctioning, you will experience peculiarities when driving. You might experience rough gear changes rather than smooth transitions between gears. 

With a healthy automatic transmission, as you increase speed the transmission shifts to a higher gear, and as you decrease speed the gears shift downwards. If you experience erratic gear changes so that as you accelerate your car skips a gear, or it refuses to downshift when your are slowing, or erratically jumps to a different gear, this may be due to a shift solenoid problem.

A delay in response after the gear changes is another sign of a faulty solenoid.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary with gear shifts when driving, have a transmission service, such as Precision Automatic Transmissions, look at it as soon as possible. Some problems, such as low fluid levels, can be easy to fix but if left unattended can quickly escalate. If you get needed transmission repairs done when needed, this can save money down the track.