The longer that we procrastinate when it comes to a slipping transmission, the more likely the damages are to compound.
By taking the time to take a closer look at the most common symptoms, a slipping transmission can be dealt with in a more proactive manner.
This guide is here to help
Table of Contents
Let’s get started
#1 Vehicle Is Operating Sluggishly
Once the vehicle is operating in a more sluggish manner than before, this is a sure sign that the transmission could be starting to slip.
If the motorist finds that they are struggling to accelerate in the manner that they are accustomed to, this also bears monitoring. This is not the sort of thing that you will want to wait on.
It is time to have the transmission checked out right away. In some cases, it could be something as simple as a clogged air filter.
The clutch will need to be looked over, too.
This allows the mechanic in question to rule out any other potential issues before the transmission is replaced or repaired.
The Clutch Is No Longer Working Properly
To expand on the previous point, this is an especially important point for those who drive a manual transmission vehicle.
If you are pressing the clutch pedal and nothing is happening, this could be indicative of a damaged clutch assembly.
In more severe cases, there could be something wrong with the entire transmission system.
A car cannot be driven for any length of time with a faulty clutch, either. The gearbox, starter motor and shifter can all be damaged if the clutch pedal is pushed while damaged.
All clutch damage has to be resolved immediately, as driving on a clutch that is not fully operational is incredibly dangerous to the motorist.
#2 Noticeably Loud Engine Revving
While an engine is supposed to rev up loudly, there is a difference between the normal level of noise and the noise that is taking place because of a broken clutch.
If the engine is revving more loudly than usual, this is a sure sign of transmission-related issues.
The same goes for any motorist who is currently experiencing a noticeable difference in their RPM gauge.
When we start the car, the RPM gauge is not supposed to be going into the red. Keep an eye out for these types of issues. If you are pressing the gas pedal and the car does not accelerate as usual, this is also indicative of a slipping transmission.
In fact, this is considered to be one of the most common signs of all.
#3 Unwanted Shifts Into Neutral
The last thing that any motorist wants is to experience untimely or unwanted shifts into neutral.
Has the vehicle started to suddenly shift into neutral while you are driving? If so, this means that the vehicle is having a much more difficult time staying in gear than ever before.
It is not something to risk driving on any further.
In order to address these types of unwanted shifts, it is time to take the vehicle to an experienced mechanic.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the vehicle has accidentally been put into neutral. This is essentially impossible for a motorist to make this kind of mistake if the vehicle has been properly maintained.
#4 Vibrations and Noises
There is a certain noise that is always going to sound alarm bells for any motorist: the grinding of gears.
It is an unmistakable sound that will give even the most experienced motorist serious pause.
This is among the most common noises that you are going to hear once it comes time to address a slipping transmission.
This is not the only sound that motorists need to be paying attention to. If there is any loud whining coming from the vehicle, this is surely a sign of a slipping transmission. Some levels of vibration can be normal, but significant vibrations must be checked out as well.
These types of noises are not always related to the transmission, though.
Other automotive systems can be damaged in these instances, so professional assistance is a must. The brakes, engine, exhaust and cooling system will all need to be examined.
You may also be shifting improperly and causing the transmission to start slipping.
Once these noises start to show themselves, it is time for a full assessment.
#5 Inability To Shift Gears
This is especially noticeable in a manual transmission vehicle.
If the vehicle is showing an inability to switch between certain gears, this could mean that the transmission is slipping.
The same goes for any manual transmission vehicle that is struggling to get into gear at all. In most instances, this means that there is a clutch and/or a transmission problem.
Transmission fluid could be low and the motorist may have caused contamination due to water intrusion or lack of overall maintenance.
Sometimes, it could be as simple as internal wear and tear.
Can the gears fully engage the clutch and shift? If not, this means that you will need to contact a mechanic as quickly as possible.
#6 Leaking Transmission Fluid
This issue is easy enough to check for, as the fluid will typically leak from a few readily identifiable locations.
Many issues that are related to a slipping transmission will take place because the fluid has started to leak.
Take a closer look at certain key areas to see if the fluid is dripping down. Punctured pans are a common culprit, as are pan gaskets.
If any damage takes place to either, fluid can start to trickle down.
It is best not to continue to drive the vehicle in these instances. The torque converter should be examined for any potential leakage, in addition to the engine lines and seals. Any leakage from these areas of the vehicle is likely related to a slipping transmission that is losing fluid.
Anyone who decides that they are going to ignore this type of leakage is placing the entire transmission system at risk.
A complete internal failure could take place, which is why experts will recommend taking immediate precautionary measures.
If the leak is not sealed as quickly as possible, far more serious issues can take place.
#7 Unpleasant Odors
Is there a burning smell that has become too noticeable to ignore?
These types of scents usually mean that the transmission fluids have started to leak into the exhaust.
The transmission could also be overheating, which is something that needs to be addressed quickly.
Without transmission fluids, the transmission system is not going to continue to work in an effective manner.
It serves the same function as engine oil. Without consistent lubrication, a transmission (and an engine) are going to overheat, creating intense odors that cannot be ignored. Leaks are typically dripping onto an extremely hot engine or other vehicle components.
This is usually an indication that the transmission has started to slip.
#8 Check Engine Light Is On
The check engine light is not strictly related to matters that are indicative of a slipping transmission but it can still give a motorist the advance warning that they need.
While there is no reason to run to a mechanic as soon as the check engine light comes on, this is something for a motorist to pay close attention to.
Is the check engine light coming on at the same time that any of these other symptoms are taking place?
If so, this is a sure sign that the light has come on because of an issue that is taking place with the transmission.
Don’t continue to drive the vehicle without receiving assistance from a professional mechanic. Their special diagnostic tools will provide all of the necessary background on the issue.
#9 Delayed Movements
For the most part, the car should start moving as soon as the gear has been shifted from park or neutral.
If you are starting to experience noticeable delays before the vehicle begins to move, this could be a sign that the transmission has started to slip.
There should be no lags when the vehicle is moved from park to drive.
This circles back to the earlier reference about loud revving that does not lead anywhere.
The same goes for a motorist who notices that nothing happens when they depress their clutch pedal. There could be damages to larger systems within the vehicle, which have to be considered.
These are also signs that something could be wrong with the transmission systems.
It is never advisable to continue driving any vehicle that is experiencing noticeably delayed movements.
A slipping transmission is one of the most common issues that a motorist can experience. In some instances, this can be indicative of internal damages.
In other cases, the motorist may simply need to schedule a standard transmission servicing.
Of course, any issue of this nature needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, a minor issue could become a far more costly problem.