Troubleshooting transmission issues

There are a great many things that can go wrong with your car at any time and it pays to have some diagnostic skills to work out what may be wrong before your car grinds to a halt. Car trouble can either be electrical or mechanical.

Electrical trouble is harder to get to the root of but telltale signs precede mechanical trouble. Here are some signs your transmission could be on its last cogs. Manual cars may have trouble getting into gear, especially when shifting into first at a stop. This is commonly caused by having the wrong viscosity of transmission fluid or a leak leaving it low.

It may also point to a need to adjust the clutch cable. A burning smell can indicate low ATF, possibly because the fluid leaks out onto the hot casing or because the fluid in the transmission is running low and causing components to overheat.

Fresh ATF fluid should be reddish and have a sweet smell. If discoloured, flush the system and put in fresh oil. A sound from an automatic when it’s in neutral could mean that the transmission internals are worn, especially the reverse idler gear or bearings. Get this checked out by a professional, but before even that, make sure the fluid isn’t running low.

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