Top 5 Transmission Failure Symptoms

Top 5 Transmission Failure Symptoms

Every car owner should be aware of the signs of transmission failure, as it is an essential component of a vehicle’s drivetrain. This article will discuss the top 5 symptoms of transmission failure, along with additional useful information related to the transmission. By understanding these symptoms, you can address problems before they become severe and costly.

What are the top 5 transmission failures?

1- Slipping Gears

One of the most common symptoms of transmission failure is slipping gears. When your transmission is not functioning correctly, it may struggle to stay in the correct gear, causing the engine to rev without any noticeable increase in speed. This can be dangerous, especially when merging onto highways or accelerating in traffic.

A slipping transmission may also cause a delay in acceleration, which can be quite alarming. If you experience this symptom, it is essential to get your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic immediately, as continued driving with a slipping transmission can lead to significant damage to your vehicle’s engine and drivetrain components.

2- Delayed or Harsh Shifting

Delayed shifting is another common symptom of transmission failure. When your vehicle’s transmission is not operating correctly, you may experience a delay in shifting from one gear to another. This can manifest as a hesitation when accelerating or a noticeable jerk when the gears finally change.

Harsh shifting, on the other hand, refers to a sudden, forceful change in gears. This can be uncomfortable for passengers and put undue stress on your vehicle’s transmission and other components. If you notice either of these symptoms, it’s crucial to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

3- Unusual Noises

Unusual noises coming from your vehicle’s transmission can indicate a problem. These sounds may include grinding, whining, or clunking noises, which can be a sign of worn or damaged internal components. The noises may occur while the vehicle is in motion or when shifting gears.

If you hear any unusual noises coming from your vehicle, don’t ignore them. It’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional to diagnose the problem and prevent further damage to your transmission or other components.

4- Fluid Leaks

Transmission fluid is crucial for the smooth operation of your vehicle’s transmission. A fluid leak can lead to insufficient lubrication, causing your transmission to overheat and potentially fail. If you notice a reddish-brown fluid pooling under your vehicle, it may be a sign of a transmission fluid leak.

Addressing a transmission fluid leak is crucial to prevent further damage to your transmission. It’s essential to have a professional mechanic inspect and repair the leak as soon as possible to maintain the proper fluid level and protect your transmission from excessive wear and potential failure.

5- Check Engine Light

While the check engine light can indicate a wide range of issues with your vehicle, it can also be a sign of transmission problems. If your check engine light comes on and you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, there’s a possibility that your vehicle is experiencing transmission issues. In such cases, it’s crucial to have a professional mechanic diagnose the problem using a diagnostic tool to read the stored error codes.

Preventive Maintenance for Transmission

Proper maintenance is essential to prevent transmission failure. Regularly checking and changing your transmission fluid, using the correct fluid type, and following your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule can help extend the life of your transmission and prevent costly repairs.

Causes of Transmission Failure

  • Inadequate fluid levels: Not having enough transmission fluid can lead to poor lubrication and overheating, which could damage your transmission.
  • Using the wrong fluid type: Not all transmission fluids are the same. Using the incorrect type for your vehicle can cause damage and hinder performance.
  • Overheating: This can be caused by low fluid levels, heavy towing, or aggressive driving. Overheating can damage internal transmission components.
  • Internal component wear and damage: Over time, parts like gears, clutches, or seals can wear out or get damaged, leading to transmission failure.

Understanding these causes is key to taking care of your transmission and ensuring it has a long and healthy life.

Cost of Transmission Replacement in Ontario

Replacing a transmission in Ontario can be quite expensive. The average cost for a transmission replacement can range from $1,800 to $3,500, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. It’s important to weigh the cost of repairs against the overall value of your vehicle to determine whether a transmission replacement is a worthwhile investment.




Early Signs Of Transmission Slipping

Transmission slipping is a clear sign that something’s off with your car’s transmission. It is one of the most common signs of a failing transmission. Catching these signs early can save you from more severe transmission problems down the line. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Trouble shifting gears: If your vehicle is struggling or delaying when changing gears, it could be a sign of your transmission slipping.
  • High RPMs: Seeing your RPMs (revolutions per minute) go above 3,500-4,000 when you accelerate could indicate your transmission is slipping.
  • Strange noises: If you’re hearing whining, clunking, or humming sounds when you drive, it could be a sign that your transmission is slipping.
  • Delayed response: If there’s a noticeable delay between when you shift gears and when the car actually moves, it’s likely your transmission is slipping.
  • Power loss or burning smell: A noticeable loss in driving power or a burning smell could indicate your transmission is overheating due to slipping.
  • Check engine light: If your check engine light comes on and you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it could be due to your transmission slipping.

Remember, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to get your vehicle checked by a professional to prevent more extensive transmission damage.

Is it safe to drive a car with a slipping transmission?

Driving with a slipping transmission isn’t just bad news for your car, it can also be a safety risk. Here’s why:

  • Unpredictable vehicle behavior: A slipping transmission can cause your vehicle to behave erratically, like sudden jerks or slow responses. This could make it difficult to control your car, especially at high speeds or in heavy traffic.
  • Risk of breakdown: If your transmission is slipping, your car is at a higher risk of breaking down. The last thing you want is to get stranded in the middle of nowhere or in a potentially dangerous situation.
  • Further damage: Driving with a slipping transmission can cause further damage to your car, leading to more costly repairs down the road.

So, if you suspect your transmission is slipping, it’s best to pull over and call for a tow. Get your car checked by a professional ASAP to diagnose and fix the problem. And remember, safety first!

Don’t Let Transmission Failure Keep You Down

When transmission failure strikes, Towing and Scrap Car Removal is here to help. Our team of professionals can assist you in removing your vehicle and provide you with the best possible value for your scrap car. If you’re in the Toronto, Ontario area, don’t hesitate to call us!

Schedule a PICKUP


  1. How long does a transmission typically last?

    The lifespan of a transmission depends on several factors, such as maintenance, driving habits, and the specific make and model of the vehicle. On average, a transmission can last between 100,000 to 200,000 miles with proper maintenance.

  2. Can I drive with a failing transmission?

    Driving with a failing transmission can be dangerous and may cause further damage to your vehicle. If you suspect your transmission is failing, it’s best to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic.

  3. Is it worth fixing a transmission?

    The cost of repairing or replacing a transmission can be high. It’s essential to consider the overall value of your vehicle, the extent of the damage, and the potential cost of repairs when deciding whether to fix or replace your transmission.

  4. Can regular maintenance prevent transmission failure?

    Yes, regular maintenance such as checking and changing your transmission fluid, using the correct fluid type, and following your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule can help extend the life of your transmission and prevent costly repairs.

  5. Can low transmission fluid cause failure?

    Low transmission fluid can cause inadequate lubrication, leading to overheating and potential transmission failure. It’s essential to maintain proper fluid levels to protect your transmission from excessive wear and potential failure.

  6. How do I know if my transmission fluid is low?

    Symptoms of low transmission fluid may include delayed or harsh shifting, slipping gears, unusual noises, and transmission overheating. It’s essential to check your transmission fluid regularly and top it off as needed.

  7. How often should I change my transmission fluid?

    The frequency of transmission fluid changes depends on your specific vehicle and driving habits. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule, and follow it to help prevent transmission issues.

  8. Can I change my transmission fluid myself?

    Changing your transmission fluid can be a DIY project for some experienced car owners. However, if you’re not comfortable with the process or have any doubts, it’s best to have a professional mechanic perform the service.

  9. What are the most common causes of transmission failure?

    Some common causes of transmission failure include inadequate fluid levels, using the wrong fluid type, overheating, and internal component wear and damage. Proper maintenance and care can help prevent these issues and prolong the life of your transmission.

  10. Can a transmission be repaired, or does it always need to be replaced?

    In some cases, a transmission can be repaired rather than replaced. The extent of the damage and the specific components affected will determine whether a repair is possible or if a full replacement is necessary.