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7 most common Transmission problems

7 most common Transmission problems


Do you know the 7 most common Transmission problems (Automatic, Manual and CVT)?

Yes! Let’s take a look at the common transmission problems.

Have you been in a situation where your vehicle is not shifting smoothly or suddenly indicates the check engine light, or worse, you discover your car has been leaking a red-colored fluid? If left ignored, these may lead to more serious issues including your transmission overheating, gear engagement delays, gear slipping and different types of noises. The longer someone waits to address the basic issues like a Transmission leak the more expensive it becomes. Here are the highlights of the top 7 common transmission problems your vehicle may be experiencing.

As you know, automatic and manual transmissions are complex and critical systems in your vehicle.  As such, requires proper care and attention to ensure long-lasting operation. However, over time, several transmission problems will always arise. An average driver will be aware of such issues as:

  1. Heat issues (the smell of burning transmission fluid)

    • Often you can smell the burning oil when your transmission is overheating due to the oil level being too low or several other factors: See this article on overheating transmissions for more information.
    • Other times the smell could be a clear indicator of “clutch riding” (manual transmission), dragging brake pads or even electrical shortage.

Tip: It’s time to check your fluid level if you know how to. Call or visit us to find out the cause and have it checked and fixed. You also stand a chance of earning 50% off your oil change if it comes to that.


  1. Transmission Fluid leakage   



    Fluid Leakage transmission problem


    •  Transmission fluid is usually red (or brownish-red if it needs to be changed) you can generally check it with a dipstick much like your Oil.  If it is leaking or burning you will need to have it serviced as soon as possible. For more info see this article on transmission fluid leaks.
    • A lower or higher-than-normal level of fluid will contribute to these common transmission problems and can cause mechanical failure of your car’s transmission.

Tip: The best way to find where the leak is coming from is to lay down a few pieces of cardboard when the car is parked. Then slide out the pieces to see just where your car is leaking. Get the transmission system flushed 45,000 km

Be sure to share this information with our service professional when you take it in to be resolved.


  1. Car won’t engage or respond when in gear

    • These are both issues that may signal a problem. It could indicate a problem with the thickness of the transmission fluid. In this case, flushing out the old transmission fluid and replacing it with a new one could be helpful. Other times you may be experiencing a computer system problem. Sometimes resetting the car’s computer can solve the problem too.
    • Tip: You can do this yourself by disconnecting the battery for around 30 minutes. This can allow it to reset. If this doesn’t help, it’s time to let a qualified transmission mechanic take a look for you.


  1. Noises like whining, humming or clunking or noisy in neutral

Whining, clunking, buzzing, growling, grinding, or humming sounds and vibrations coming from your transmission are not good signs. These unpleasant sounds from the engine are a warning of a faulty transmission system. The following could be the possible causes:

    • Worn out fluid clutches can indicate misalignment between the torque converter and the flywheel
    • The transmission fluid level may be too low, old or dirty and therefore needs replacing, along with a transmission flush
    • Faulty transmission range switch may also contribute to the noise.
    • If you hear a whining noise that increases with the engine speed when your vehicle is in park or neutral may indicate a problem with the transmission pump

You can call us for more information or check out an article on the Noise transmission system.

Tip: Don’t let these minor transmission problems that can be fixed by an expert cost you an expensive repair or transmission replacement. Get it fixed immediately!


  1. Gears slipping or not fully engaging 

    • If your transmission is slipping in and out of gears when you’re behind the wheel, it means that your car’s computer signaled the transmission when to shift between one gear and another. It tells your car when to send power to your wheels. If something is malfunctioning here the signal is not being properly sent.

Tip: Slipping gears is a serious safety issue and should be fixed immediately to avoid an accident. Call us and we can arrange a tow for you.


  1. Check engine light is on

    • Often, we experience that “service engine” lights or some lights that just pop-up on our dashboards with no idea of what sign or signal it represents. You need to have it checked because there are sensors built-in throughout your car’s engine that can pick up the slightest of problems including transmission issues.

Tip: Get your car immediately to your trusted specialized technician for troubleshooting and repairs. Do not procrastinate!


  1. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) problem

common transmission problems - CVT

CVT transmission system


There are some car brands with an efficient and durable CVT like Toyota.  The issue with CVTs, especially for gear heads is they are generally considered “soulless.” CVTs on their own are very efficient …but like most things that are very efficient in life …they are boring.

  • The common issue with CVT is most obvious when there is a low level of leakage of transmission fluid. If you turn on your engine and the car gear won’t shift, it means that the torque converter was worsened by the leaking and burning transmission fluid.

Tip: If you notice the above conditions, have your car checked. Always check your parking spots to ensure there is no spillage due to leaking fluid.

Click here to learn more about how CVTs works or contact us. We’ll be glad to answer your queries or set up an appointment for a free assessment for your vehicle transmission problems be it CVT, Automatic or Manual type.

Our best recommendation for your Common Transmission problems?

Routine check and Preventative Maintenance

We recommend this because;

  • Preventative and Early maintenance can save you thousands on repairs and transmission replacements. Schedule your preventative maintenance with an experienced, certified professional technician.
  • Scheduled checks and paying close attention to these signs and symptoms – Burning and Heating issues, Fluid leakage, Gear issues, Delay engagement, error lights, brakes and Noise.
  • Your manual guide and varieties of car diagnostic tools can help identify the problems easily. However, we do not advise our clients and customers to be dependent on these gadgets. The computer error isn’t telling the whole story about your vehicle’s transmission. It helps narrow down the possible problem options. It might require dissembling the whole system and solving surgically in parts.

This is the job of a specialist and INLAND AUTO has all the certified professionals for your Automatic, Manual and CVT transmission repairs and services. These services include;

  • Routine troubleshooting, checks and maintenance
  • Manual and Automatic Transmission repairs and replacements
  • Fluid Replacement
  • Filter Replacement
  • Transmission flush
  • Overhauls
  • Overdrive Transmissions
  • Engine Transmissions

Do you have questions about or concerns about your vehicle’s transmission – Toyota, Scion, Lexus and other Japanese brands?

Get the information, advice, and service you need from California certified transmission experts.

Call 951-461-4412 or Contact Our Experts!

If you are  based in Temecula and Murrieta 

visit us


Inland Auto
26500 Jefferson Ave. Suite A
Murrieta, CA 92562