If you have ever reversed out of a tight parking spot on your way to work, sometimes you might notice a horrible grating sound in the engine. It might not last for that long, but whenever you put your engine into reverse, the horrid grating sound just won’t go away.
This might be due to the fact that the transmission in your engine is no longer functioning properly. But how can you fix that?
You might already feel your heart beating as you calculate the cost of trying to repair the issue in your transmission. If you’ll need to repair it, then the costs will be much lower than if you’ll need to replace your transmission wholesale, unfortunately.
But how much do such repairs cost? Well, if you simply need to replace the fluid inside, then you’ll be looking at anywhere in the region of $250. If you have a leak or fracture in your transmission, that’ll be $150 – $200, however, if you need to change a solenoid, that’ll cost you anywhere from $150 to $400. Not great, huh?
However, when it comes to getting the right quote to finding out what exactly is wrong with your transmission, then you’ll need to look no further. This article will break down everything that you’ll need to know about how a transmission works – and when to spot when it isn’t working!
We’ll also cover each component of your transmission, giving you a summary of what it does and how much repairs to each component part might cost.
First, let’s tackle the big question: what exactly is the transmission and what does it do in your car?
What Exactly is Transmission?
The engine is the part of your car that creates all the power and the transmission acts as a buffer between that power and the wheels. It controls how much of it gets to your wheels, which basically determines the speed of your car.
When you press the gearstick of your car, it temporarily disconnects the engine from the transmission while you alter the gears and switch the speed. Once the gears have been changed, then it reconnects the two to keep your car fuelled.
This is what is called manual transmission. If you are running an automatic transmission, then you should have a gear shifter that does the work for you. It uses a torque converter that will gauge how fast you’re going and convert the transmission automatically.
If you are hearing those grinding sounds and suspect that there might be something amiss with your transmission, then we would certainly suggest you check it out as quickly as possible. If your transmission fails, then your car simply won’t be able to function on its own.
Now that we’ve seen how a transmission functions, let’s look at the ways in which it can fail.
How Does A Transmission Fail?
There are numerous ways that transmission can fail. Here are just a few of them:
Low Fluid Levels
In much the same way as an engine needs fuel to power the car, the transmission also requires fluid. This fluid is basically a lubricant and a hydraulic fluid that keeps your engine running within safe temperatures as well as facilitating a smooth gear change.
So it probably goes without saying that the less fluid you have in your transmission, then the harder it will be for you to change gears. This is because there will be no lubricant, which will cause the heavy gears to mesh up against each other and eventually seize up entirely.
Your transmission fluid will last for anywhere between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. For the average driver going to and from work, thankfully this will mean that you only have to change your transmission around once every 2 or 3 years.
Transmission fluid is also getting a lot cheaper, only costing you somewhere between $80 and $250. So if you are low on transmission, you’re lucky, as this is the lowest cost of repair on this list.
This could be one of the main causes of the issue above – as the leakage will cause your transmission to drain quicker than it normally would. If your transmission is making grinding noises in under a year, then the chances are that you might have a fracture in your unit.
This means that no matter how much more transmission fluid you add, it will always drain quickly. This means that you’ll have to get to the root of the problem quickly.
One surefire way of telling whether your transmission is leaking is by checking to see whether there is a red puddle underneath your car. This is the color of transmission fluid, so you’ll be able to tell quickly where it’s from.
Clogged Transmission Filter
Transmissions come with a filter that is designed to sift out unwanted contaminants such as dust and dirt that naturally occur in the engine of your car.
These foreign objects can cause chaos in your transmission, building up over time and eventually removing your car’s natural ability to sift out these materials.
It can not only stop the flow of metallic flakes and dirt, but it can also stop the flow of precious transmission fluid. This will lead to transmission issues as explained in the first two points, which will cause your gears to starts seizing and grinding etc.
If you take the effort to change your transmission fluid regularly, then you will remove all the elements that will cause your transmission to clog over time.
How to Spot a Flawed Transmission
There are a few telltale signs that your car isn’t running to its maximum capacity. It isn’t all grinding gear sounds, you’ll have to keep your other senses about you when driving your vehicle.
The Smell Of Burning
A burning smell is one thing that you won’t want to have when it comes to driving your car. If you can smell your engine burning, the chances are that you’ll want to stop off the side of the road, get out and see what is wrong.
One of the things that could be the cause of this burning smell is your transmission. When you are running low on transmission fluid, then it will burn close to the inside of the container, giving off a very distinctive odor.
If you can catch your transmission in this early stage, then that will prevent significant failure at a later date, which will in turn save you a lot of money.
We mentioned this earlier in the article in the context of grinding gears. You’ll notice that when you’re changing gears that there’ll be a sudden jerking feeling in the gearbox as the RPM increases suddenly without warning.
This will not only make your car a hassle to drive, but it could lead to dangerous driving, particularly in slippery road conditions. You should make sure that slipping gears get resolved as soon as possible to avoid causing danger to yourself and your family.
Strange Whirring Sounds
We mentioned this problem earlier, basically, it is the result of your gears not being lubricated enough for a smooth transition between one and the other. This is because there is no layer between the metal elements, causing them to grind against each other.
The metal on metal is what results in this jarring clunking sound. If you leave this for too long, then the internal mechanisms of your transmission will be irreparably damaged.
Trouble Shifting Gears
If you experience a certain hesitation or jerking motion when switching up gears, then the chances are that there is some issue with your transmission. If you have low fluid in your transmission, then the gears will start grinding against each other.
The easy way to solve this is by taking your car into the nearest garage for an immediate inspection. If you catch it in time, chances are all you will need is a transmission fluid change, which will not cost you as much money as a full-on repair would.
How Much to Repair Your Transmission?
There are different costs to be expected, depending on what is wrong with your transmission. Here is a list of problems, along with their cost:
- Transmission fluid flush – this is the act of replacing old fluid with new fluid and will cost you anywhere between $80 and $250.
- Shift Solenoid Replacement – Replacing the valve that controls the intake of fluid costs around $150 to $400.
- Transmission Fluid Leak – Replacing a seal that is worn will cost you somewhere in the region of $200.
- Rebuilding Transmission – This is where you are replacing a significant amount of the components of your transmission, which could see you spending around $2,500 to $4,500 dollars.