Comprehensive Guide on Automatic Transmission Problems

This comprehensive post on automatic transmission may help you with the knowledge and ease on understanding the different automatic transmission problems but also may act as alarm. Definitely, after reading it, you gonna realize the indications you may ignored before but ultimately, now, will help you overcoming this serious car problem which cannot be neglected.

Automatic Transmission Problems, Symptoms & Solutions

Automatic transmissions are complex mechanical and computer-driven systems, making it more expensive to repair than engines. All Aspects Motors, being expert of Automatic Transmission Services is providing you a detailed overview on automatic transmission problems with symptoms and solutions.

Keep focusing…

Burning Smell

Symptoms: A burning smell often indicates overheating transmission fluid, suggesting serious internal damages. This can possible due to low fluid levels, fluid contamination, or a failing transmission cooler.

Solution: Check transmission fluid levels and conditions. If low, top it up, and if it smells burnt, have the fluid and filter changed. Investigate and repair the source of overheating, such as a malfunctioning cooler.

Gears Slipping

Symptoms: The issue of gear slipping happens due to transmission unexpectedly changes gears or fails to stay in the selected gear which can result as of low fluid-levels, worn-out clutch plates, or issues with the torque converter.

Solution: Address low fluid levels, replace worn-out clutch plates, or investigate torque converter issues. A transmission specialist can diagnose and recommend appropriate repairs.

Dragging Clutch

Symptoms: A dragging clutch occurs when the clutch does not fully disengage, leading to difficulty in shifting gears. This can result from a worn-out clutch or hydraulic system problems.

Solution: Inspect and replace the clutch if necessary. Address hydraulic system issues if the problem persists. Proper adjustment or replacement of the clutch components may be required.

Engine Light

Symptoms: The check engine light may illuminate due to various issues, including transmission problems. The vehicle’s onboard computer generates trouble codes that can be read with diagnostic equipment to identify the specific issue.

Solution: Consult a professional to scan and interpret the trouble codes, providing insights into the nature of the transmission problem. Address the identified issues accordingly.

Abnormal Shifting

Symptoms: Abnormal shifting includes rough, jerky, or delayed shifts. This can happen by issues with the transmission fluid, solenoids, or the TCM.

Solution: Check and replace the transmission fluid if needed. Investigate solenoid or TCM issues. A comprehensive diagnostic scan can pinpoint the problem for an accurate solution.

Transmission Slipping

Symptoms: Transmission slipping is a broader term encompassing any unexpected change in transmission behavior including gears slipping, delayed shifting, or lack of response.

Solution: Diagnose the specific issue causing slipping—potential solutions include addressing fluid levels, replacing worn-out components, or repairing electronic control systems.

Grinding or Shaking

Symptoms: Grinding or shaking during gear changes could be a sign of damaged gears, worn-out synchronizers, or other mechanical issues within the transmission.

Solution: Address worn-out synchronizers, damaged gears, or other mechanical problems within the transmission. Repairs may involve component replacement or rebuilding.

Gears Become Unresponsive

Symptoms: Unresponsive gears may be caused by issues with the shift solenoids, the transmission control module (TCM), or a mechanical problem within the transmission.

Solution: Investigate shift solenoids, TCM, or mechanical issues within the transmission. A professional diagnosis is essential to identify and address the root cause.

Unwanted Noises

Symptoms: Unusual noises, such as clicking or whining, may indicate problems with the planetary gears, bearings, or other internal components.

Solution: Investigate and replace damaged bearings, planetary gears, or other worn components. A thorough inspection by a transmission specialist is recommended.


Symptoms: Transmission overheating can occur due to low fluid levels, inadequate cooling, or transmission cooler issues, causing internal component damage and fluid breakdown, warning lights, burning smell, and erratic shifting.

Solution: Check and replace low fluid levels, fix cooling system issues, and ensure the proper functioning of the transmission cooler. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent overheating.

Solenoid Issues

Symptoms: Solenoids control the flow of transmission fluid. Issues with these components can lead to erratic shifting, delayed engagement, or other transmission problems.

Solution: Diagnose and replace faulty solenoids. Ensure proper functioning of the TCM and related electronic components.

Delayed Engagement

Symptoms: Delayed engagement occurs when there’s a noticeable pause between shifting into gear and the transmission actually engaging. This can result from fluid-related issues or internal problems.

Solution: Address fluid-related issues, such as low levels or contaminated fluid. Internal transmission problems may also require inspection and repair.

Torque Converter

Symptoms: Problems with the torque converter can manifest as shuddering during acceleration, slipping, or unusual noises. Issues may include a damaged lock-up clutch or overall wear.

Solution: Address issues with the torque converter, such as a damaged lock-up clutch. In some cases, replacing the torque converter may be necessary.

Transmission Fluid

Symptoms: Regularly checking and changing the transmission fluid is crucial. Low levels and contaminated fluid, such as with debris or metal particles, can accelerate wear and lead to transmission issues.

Solution: Regularly check and replace transmission fluid at recommended intervals. Top up fluid levels and address any leaks promptly. Change the transmission fluid and filter to prevent further damage. Investigate and address the source of contamination, such as a leaking seal or gasket.

Noisy in Neutral

Symptoms: If the transmission makes noise while the vehicle is in neutral, it could indicate problems with bearings or other internal components.

Solution: Investigate and replace damaged bearings or other internal components causing the noise. Professional diagnosis is very important.

Warning Light

Symptoms: The warning light may indicate various issues, and its interpretation often requires diagnostic equipment to read trouble codes and pinpoint the problem.

Solution: Consult a professionals like All Aspects Motors to scan trouble codes and identify the issue. Address the root cause as indicated by the diagnostic results.

Damaged Gears

Symptoms: Worn or damaged gears can lead to erratic shifting, unusual noises, and overall transmission malfunction.

Solution: Replace damaged gears and related components. A comprehensive inspection is necessary to identify the extent of the damage.


Ignoring the symptoms mentioned earlier often results in significant transmission problems that begin as minor issues. Neglecting these early signals can lead to expensive repairs. Some of these repairs may be minor and cost-effective, preventing the possibility of substantial bills in the future.

If preserving both peace of mind and your financial resources is a priority, and you encounter any of these automatic transmission issues, feel free to knock knock us or bring your car to the shop for our expert opinion. It is essential to promptly address transmission issues, seek professional assistance for diagnosis and repairs, to avoid additional damage and ensure the prolonged functionality of the transmission system.

All Aspects Motors will sort your automatic transmission problems with ease.

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