Every car has one. It is one of the most critical internal systems in your car. It’s your car’s transmission and it’s not a matter of if it’s going to go out, it’s a matter of when. However, you can be prepared and know the signs to look for so that you can take action immediately, so you don’t run the risk of experiencing a breakdown or worse, a collision, on the road. Here are five tips for transmission problems to keep an eye out for so you can keep your car on the road for a long time.

WARNING LIGHT

Warning lights are there for a reason. Everyone knows the “Check Engine” light. The Check Engine light is there to communicate with drivers that something internal like the engine, transmission, or other vital components of your vehicle aren’t working the way it should. Sometimes, the Check Engine light comes on for no reason. However, it’s still a good idea to bring it into the shop to get it looked at by a professional. This is not something you should ignore, always get it checked.

LEAKING FLUID

If you notice fluid on the floor of your garage or driveway, you need to get more info on it. First things first, lay down a piece of cardboard under your car in the front and middle to determine if it has an active leak. If your car does have an active leak, try to determine the color. Is it bright red, dark red, or brown? If it is, you could be dealing with a transmission leak. However, any time your car is leaking fluid, you need to see a mechanic immediately.

DIFFICULTY SHIFTING

You shouldn’t ever feel like you are fighting against your car while you are driving it. If you feel like your car is refusing to shift gears or get up to speed, you need to see a mechanic. Rough shifting along with a “thud” or “clunk” sound when your vehicle is shifting gears are also warning signs that your transmission is not working correctly.

TRANSMISSION SLIPPING

If you drive an automatic, it’s relatively easy to notice when your transmission could be slipping. You’ll notice a change in the way your engine sounds, most often it’ll go from a low rumble to a high-pitched whining sound. Additionally, your RPMs will increase despite the fact you are driving the same speed. Your car could also seem like it is suddenly underpowered or not accelerating as it should from a lower speed.

DELAYED RESPONSE/ENGAGEMENT

If you have noticed that when you shift your car from “Park” to “Drive” and it seems sluggish or hesitates, this typically means the transmission is malfunctioning. Additionally, there could be a long pause where the car revs the engine as you give it gas and your car doesn’t move forward as it should.

If you notice any of these five warning signs at any time, you need to have your car looked at immediately. Transmission repairs tend to escalate in price and develop into more complicating problems the longer you put off having your car looked at. If you experience any transmission issue, in any capacity, get it addressed by a professional right away. And if you are nervous about driving your car due to any of these transmission issues, be safe and have your car towed into the shop.