Automatic transmission problems and solutions

In this brief guide, we are going to provide you with the common automatic transmission problems and what are the solutions to these problems.

Automatic Transmission does not require any manual input to shift gears while driving. Various sensors and mechatronic systems work in coordination to shift gears automatically. However, there are many problems with automatic transmissions and we’ll tell you how you can solve them.

What are the common problems with automatic transmission and their solutions?

Most of the common problems with automatic transmission are:

  • Fluid Leak
  • Transmission Overheating
  • Burning smell
  • Clicking or Whining Noise
  • Slipping Gears
  • Delayed or Erratic Shifting

Why is fluid Leak a problem with automatic transmissions?

Automatic transmissions are leakage proof systems and if anything is leaking out of them then it is definitely a sign of a problem which may cause serious trouble for you in the future. 

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

You would get an error such as P0842 or errors in the similar range which are associated with transmission fluid pressure. If these sensors get a low pressure this will indicate there is not enough fluid and a leakage somewhere in the transmission.  

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

Finding where the leak is and closing it, is the most obvious solution to fix this sign before it causes mechanical damage to your car. Usually the gaskets or the seals in the transmission are worn out or broken to cause a fluid leak.

Why is transmission overheating a problem with automatic transmissions?

Because transmission gears and shafts tend to get damaged, worn, and malfunction under high heat levels. This results in lower than the acceptable performance from the vehicle and high fuel consumption as well as lowering the life of mechanical components in the gearbox.

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

Generally when an automatic transmission overheats an error is shown. This error is not immediately visible on the screen but requires a diagnostic tool to get these actual error codes.

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

After cooling down the transmission check the gearbox oil for its condition. Change it if it is too thick and completely black. Also, check your clutch if it is the problem behind this malfunction.

Why is the burning smell a problem with automatic transmissions?

If you get a burning odor, your transmission fluid is probably overheating due to clutch debris, breakdown of metallic components and sludge. Therefore this sign is a cause for concern.

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

The smell itself should be a good sign that there is something wrong with your automatic transmission. However you will get a more detailed sign if you use a software diagnostic tool.

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

Check the transmission oil and its level. If it is too low then fill the required amount of oil in the transmission. If it is too dirty, then drain the entire oil from the transmission and fill it again. Also check for any debris and discarded materials. 

Why is clicking or whining noise a problem with automatic transmissions?

These automatic transmissions are not manufactured to make such unpleasant noises and if you are hearing such clicking or whining noises while driving then you should check with your mechanic as this might get a serious issue.

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

You will hear these noises while driving and will be very unpleasant to your ears which can be taken as a sign that the transmission is having some problem.

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

Normally this sound means that a component within the assembly needs to be replaced as it might be fractured. The entire assembly from which the sound is coming must be removed and rebuilt to fix this problem.

Why is slipping gears a problem with automatic transmissions?

These automatic transmission gear systems are not designed to slip and if you are experiencing slippage then it is definitely a sign of a problem with the mechanical components of the transmission.

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

You will be able to hear the gear slip while driving and this would be a good sign if there is slipping. Also, an error code will be displayed if you use a diagnostic tool.

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

The solenoids of the two gears might be worn out and need to be replaced. Also, there is a chance that these solenoids might also be broken. Rarely, complete mechanical failure occurs with these transmissions.

Why is delayed or erratic shifting a problem with automatic transmissions?

While driving on road if you experience a delay or erratic moments while shifting from one gear to another gear then your automatic transmission is surely having problems.

What signs are shown by this automatic transmission problem?

Usually you would instantly notice this sign of the problem as you get an erratic sensation from the car when you try to shift. 

What is the solution to this automatic transmission problem?

Visiting the nearest service center or your trusted mechanic would be the only way to solve this problem because this might be a serious transmission problem you are facing. 

How to diagnose these common problems with automatic transmission precisely?

As most of these problems can be felt while driving you can tell immediately the cause of the problem. If you want to pinpoint the cause then you can use a software diagnostic tool to be plugged into your transmission control unit but it is recommended to use one as written in the manual.

How to prevent getting these problems in the first place?

To prevent these problems you should also change the transmission oil as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, you should service your vehicle at the recommended time or after specified miles from the previous one.  

FAQs: Automatic transmission problems and solutions

What are the symptoms of automatic transmission problems?

The most common symptoms of automatic transmission problems are:

  • Refusal to Switch Gears: the transmission is unable to shift gears
  • Burning Smell: Some sort of oil burning smell comes out of transmission
  • Neutral Noises: When the vehicle is in neutral it makes some erratic noises
  • Slipping Gears: Transmission gears do not engage properly
  • Dragging Clutch: When releasing the brake, clutch disengagement is not smooth
  • Leaking Fluid: Some sort of transmission oil is leaking out from the bottom.
  • Check Engine Light: The dashboard check engine light is switched on
  • Grinding or Shaking: Such noise can be heard when the gearbox oil is low or worn out.

What is the most common cause of automatic transmission failure?

The most common cause of problematic transmissions is low transmission fluid. Usually caused by a leak somewhere in the assembly, low or contaminated fluid makes it nearly impossible for the transmission to automatically shift gears and run smoothly.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have provided you with the common problems with automatic transmissions and how you can solve these problems before they worsen.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

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