Even the most calm and collected car own could have a panic attack in response to a single word, namely, transmission. Any other problem could be managed. If you are confronted with the need for a new alternator, battery, or a few new tires, you can expect to pay only in the range of a few hundred dollars. But a failing transmission could cost more than a few months of rent. If you are concerned that your transmission is failing, there are a few obvious warning signs that might serve as indicators.
A hard shift can be one of the more annoying of the warning signs because it happens consistently while you are driving. When you are shifting into the next gear, you may notice that your vehicle hesitates or has trouble. You may feel it jerking around or shaking. Unfortunately, this problem will not go away and your vehicle will and eventually be rendered inoperable. It is likely that it will eventually get to a point in which it will not shift at all, leaving you in first gear and unable to travel more than 20 MPH. That’s barely fast enough to traverse the parking lot.
A slipping transmission can be a little frightening while you are on the road. It will seem as though your vehicle changes gears for no apparent reason. Further, your engine will produce a lot of noise and your vehicle may not output the power that you would expect.
So you back out of your parking spot and shift into drive. There are people behind you waiting for you to accelerate so they can exit the parking lot behind you. But they might start honking their horn as you realize that your vehicle is not moving forward. You may have shifted into drive, but the vehicle does not seem to be responding, at least for a few seconds. This delayed reaction is a key indicator that your transmission might be failing. The transmission is having trouble with basic functions, such as shifting from reverse into drive.
It may be tempting to ignore the warning light. Some mechanics will charge extra to find the source of the light. But the wise car owner cannot ignore that light. It would be like if you were seriously injured and you did not want to take the time to go to the Emergency Room. You could die if you neglect it. Similarly, if you do not take your vehicle to the mechanic when you have a warning light, there could be detrimental problems. You could find yourself stranded, paying a tow truck and picking up a bill for thousands of dollars. Your vehicle has internal mechanisms such that the computer will report to you when there are any problems. If the transmission is failing, the vehicle will tell you that it is failing.
A failing transmission is certainly not a pleasant experience. But it is something that you may have to deal with. If you do not want your vehicle to be rendered inoperable, then you should take it to a mechanic if you have any of these warning signs. This is especially true if you notice that your transmission is slipping or hard shifting.