When buying a used car, you are always taking a risk that it may be more “used” than you bargained for. There can always be hidden problems lurking that are difficult to diagnose in the few minutes you have while you are looking at the car. The same can be true of the car that you are currently driving. When you jump in it starts every time and gets you where you need to go so you assume that everything is working as it should and in good condition. This this for the most part true because most of the systems in your vehicle will give you some sort of warning before they break. For example, before your tire goes flat, it usually gets a little pudgy at the bottom. Also, before your power steering pump fails it often will start to cause a whining noise when you turn. Thankfully, your automatic transmission is one of the components of your car that will usually give you indications that it isn’t doing well before it leaves you stranded. In this article, we will be helping you develop an ear for problematic transmission sounds to hear what your automatic transmission is telling you.
How To Listen For Transmission Noise
The first step in learning how to listen to your transmission is true for any component of any car. Start by driving a few miles on the highway, and a few miles around town with the radio off and no one else in the car. These quality miles with your vehicle will allow you to hear what a healthy and happy car sounds like. Try opening the windows and listen to the sounds your car makes as you idle, turn corners, accelerate, brake, turn on and off different equipment like the air conditioning or head lights. Also, watch the gauges your car has to see where they read during normal operation. Knowing what your car sounds and acts like when it’s working properly will help you notice when something different is happening which can allow you to make an early diagnosis of a failing component, which will save you money and frustration.
To focus on your automatic transmission, think back to last time you drove your car. If you don’t remember much about your transmission it was probably working correctly. It hopefully shifted when you thought it would, without being too jerky or too sluggish, didn’t make any noise and got you to where you are going. If your automatic transmission is having problems there are a few ways it will let you know:
Signs of Transmission Problems:
- Hard Shifting
- Slow shifting (or hanging up)
- Slow going into gear from Park or Neutral
- Whining or humming
Some of the ways your transmission may let you know there is a problem won’t actually be a sound, but you still should be able to feel in the way the car drives, or “in the seat of your pants”. If you notice your vehicle shifting hard, meaning the vehicles jerks in between gears as the RPM of your engine is dropping it may be due to worn transmission components or low fluid level. Start by checking your transmission fluid level, and topping it off if necessary. Similarly, if your transmission is shifting sluggishly, feels like it is hanging up or seems to have problems staying in a specific gear it could also be a sign of the same two problems, low fluid or worn internal components. The same problems may make your automatic transmission not go into gear right away when you move the selector lever. Your transmission uses pressurized transmission fluid to engage clutches and bands to make gear selections so a low fluid level can cause these gear changes to happen too quickly, too slowly or not at all. Lastly, if your automatic transmission is whining or humming it could be due to a low fluid level causing the pumps or gears to whining as the engage.
In all these situations you should start by checking and topping off the transmission fluid. If that fixes the problem you need to immediately stop the fluid loss to make sure your transmission fluid stays at the proper level to ensure proper operation, lubrication and cooling. If you have an automatic transmission fluid leak, add BlueDevil Transmission Sealer to your transmission fluid. BlueDevil Transmission Sealer will mix with your transmission fluid and will restore old seals and gaskets to their original size and flexibility permanently sealing your leak and leaving your transmission fluid at a constant level. BlueDevil Automatic Transmission Sealer will not harm the pump or valves in your transmission and can stay in the fluid until your next fluid change.
You can pick up BlueDevil Transmission Sealer at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Bennett Auto Supply
- Prime Automotive Warehouse
- CarQuest Auto Parts
You can also purchase BlueDevil Transmission Sealer directly from BlueDevil online.
Pictures Provided by: www.transmissionrepairalpharetta.com and www.aa1car.com