Is My Transmission Going Bad? How Can I Tell?

You will notice problems if your transmission is going bad. You can avoid having problems with your transmission altogether if you have it serviced every 30,000 miles. This gives us here at Advanced Automotive the chance to change your transmission fluid and inspect the system to make sure nothing else is wrong. This being said, let’s talk about the signs of transmission problems below.

Grinding/Squealing Sounds

One indication that your transmission is going bad or that you have low transmission oil is grinding or squealing sounds. Your transmission may grind into gear, and this is never a good thing. You shouldn’t hear noises when you first put the transmission into gear and during the shift cycle. The only thing you should hear is the changes in the revolutions in your engine.

Hot/Burning Smells

Hot and burning odors are also a sign of transmission problems. These odors will come from underneath your automobile. The most common reason why you will smell hot or burning odors is that your transmission fluid is too low and your transmission is overheating.

Humming in Neutral

Another sign that you’ve got transmission problems is humming when your vehicle is in neutral. The only thing you should hear when your vehicle is in neutral is the sound of your engine idling. You should not hear humming noises or any other strange sounds.

Leaking Transmission Fluid

Leaking transmission fluid is definitely a sign that you have transmission problems. The red fluid can leak out of the transmission pan, from the pan gasket, from the seals, from the hoses, and even from the torque converter.

Problems Shifting Gears

You may notice that it is difficult to get your transmission to go into gear. This is a sign of serious transmission trouble. If you can get the transmission to go into gear, the gear shifts should be smooth after that. Your gears shouldn’t skip over one or more of the gears, they shouldn’t slip out of gear, and your vehicle should go through each gear in the gear cycle without problems.


We mentioned above that you shouldn’t hear your transmission shift gears except for the changes in RPMs. You also shouldn’t feel your transmission shift gears. If your transmission clunks into gear and clunks every time it shifts gears, you definitely have a transmission problem. Your vehicle should also never shake or vibrate as the transmission shifts through the gear cycle.

Advanced Automotive in Stanwood, WA, is here to help. Bring your vehicle to our shop if you suspect you are having transmission problems.

Photo by Industrial Photograph via Canva Pro

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