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Signs of Transmission Problems

by Cheryl Washington

There are several indicators when a vehicle may be experiencing transmission problems. If you notice any of the warning signs of transmission problems you should bring your car to a reputable repair shop immediately. Depending on the problem, transmission repair can be very costly, especially when warning signs have been ignored.

Delayed Engagement

Your car takes awhile to move or doesn't move at all when the shift is put in drive or reverse. This is often referred to as "morning sickness" because it happens more frequently in the mornings when the car is cold.


This happens when the motor is revving but your vehicle is not. You press your foot on the gas but the vehicle seems like it's stuck in neutral.


You may notice pink or black oil underneath your vehicle.

Burnt Odor

A leaking or overheated transmission will emit a burning odor.


Loud noises such as knocking or grating are coming from the transmission. This may be a result of the transmission parts improperly hitting or rubbing up against each other.

Engine Light On

The "check engine" light could be a warning of a serious transmission problem, especially if one of the other warning signs is also present.

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Cheryl Washington is a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in local newspapers throughout South Carolina and on Washington is President of Parsippany Speakers Club, a chapter of Toastmasters. She earned her Master of Arts in strategic communications and leadership from Seton Hall University.

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