Automatic Transmission and Issues


What is an automatic transmission system and why is it important?

Many cars nowadays are equipped with automatic transmission systems. Just like a manual transmission system, it conveys the power of the engine to the drive mechanism. Also called self-shifting transmission, automatic transmission enables gear ratios to change while the car is moving without any manual interference from the driver. This system makes it possible to lower the high rotational speed of the engine to speeds required for the drive wheels. Prime components consist of a set of planetary gears, fluid coupling or torque convertor, shafts, transmission fluid, etc. There are various types of automatic transmissions available on cars on sale and can be classified into three broad categories – Continuous Variable Transmission (used in Honda cars), traditional torque converters (used in Toyota cars) and dual-clutch automatic (used in Volkswagen cars as DSG and Ford cars as Powershift). The benefits and shortcomings of each type of transmission is a topic worthy of its own article. The important thing to take care of is that since transmission forms a part of a car’s powertrain, it is an essential component to smooth running of your car and you should take every problem regarding this system seriously.

What are the symptoms of automatic transmission issues?

  • Do you feel a delay in gear engagement when you shift into drive or park? This most commonly signifies a transmission issue.
  • Do you hear a humming, whining or buzzing noise from your car? Though the exact kind of sound you hear may differ across make and models, yet it will sound like something you haven’t heard before. Transmission problems maybe indicated.
  • Is there clear, bright fluid on your driveway or parking spot? It means that your automatic transmission fluid is leaking. You may also perceive a somewhat sweet smell and, in this case, the leak has to be fixed.
  • Is there any dark red or brown fluid on your driveway emitting a burnt smell? In this scenario, the automatic transmission fluid has to be changed or flushed and some other repairs may be needed.
  • Does your car shake a lot even on a smooth road? A transmission issue may be likely. It may also take some time to wiggle into the gear at first instead of the normal, smooth movements. If the situation worsens, then transitions into next gears may be accompanied with more shaking.
  • Are your gears slipping? If the car’s transmission keeps slipping in and out of gear or slipping into neutral spontaneously, while driving, your car’s transmission is in trouble. It maybe because of a worn or broken gear linkage and an immediate inspection is required.
  • Is there a burning smell coming from your car? If transmission fluid gets overheated, it can cause this issue. Low fluid level or the wrong kind of fluid is probable reasons.
  • What does it mean if your check engine light is on? This may or may not imply transmission issues. But if the other symptoms are involved, then it may definitely mean a transmission problem. Get your vehicle inspected at the earliest.

Look out for these too

It is advisable to get in touch with a well-known automotive repair centre if you notice any of the above symptoms. If you don’t feel easy to drive your vehicle, which may be facing transmission issues, ask the mechanics to tow it. If any part needs to be replaced, ask the service centre from where they intend to source the new parts. Inquire about the warranty if the entire transmission requires reconstruction or replacement. The automatic transmission type is the kind that comes sealed for life and has more parts than its manual counterpart. Since it is sealed for life and there is oil to be dealt with, a filter is sually placed inside the system to trap impurities. In case anything goes wrong with the system and it needs to be opened, do ensure that you are getting the oil and oil filter of the transmission system changed too. If nothing goes wrong with the transmission system, it can survive for a really long time without even needing something as small as an oil change.


Early rectification of automatic transmission issues can avoid high repair costs in future and also prevent safety hazards. So watch out for strange noises, vibrations, slipping gears or fluid leakage etc. At CarDekho we would help you get your car checked for any transmission problems and offer optimal solutions. Log on to to get cost estimates and avail our services.