Common Gearbox Problems

Vehicle automatic transmissions have vastly improved since their introduction in the early 1950s. Computer systems control the changing of gears, torque and many other systems that increase the lifespan of an the automatic transmission. Common problems with automatic gearboxes generally result from owners not taking proper care of the vehicle, allowing the car to overheat or neglecting to have the car regularly maintained.

Slipping Transmission

A leaking fluid line can cause in an automatic transmission to slip when attempting to shift into a higher gear. This causes the tube to suck in air. A slipping transmission can also result from a clogged filter. Rectify this by removing the transmission pan and replacing the filter.

Hard Shifting

Hard shifting in automatic transmissions is another complication. Some transmissions are consistently unhandy. Some of the BMW M-Series sports coupes are notorious for coarse shifting. Nevertheless, for most cars and trucks, the automatic should easily shift from gear to gear without any problems. Hard shifting may stem from a factory-placed high stall converter, which makes hard shifting a common occurrence. However, there's a greater possibility that the problem is the result of a dirty filter.

Wrong Fluid

Chrysler produces its own transmission fluid and requires that it's used when servicing its transmissions. By using a fluid that's meant for a Dodge truck, the vehicle may suffer a gearshift failure or loss of power.

Pink Stink

Burnt fluid can result in automatic transmission failure. Open the bonnet and pull out the transmission fluid dipstick. If the pink fluid is brown in colour or has a smell of burnt toast, the fluid has been overheated and is no longer useful as a lubricant. Early recognition of this problem will prevent damage to the transmission.

Transmission vs. Differential

Car owners can sometimes confuse transmission complications with differential damage. Thrusting and stopping or the vehicle locking in neutral may not be the result of a transmission problem. Instead, it is most likely to be the cause of the shaft connecting the transmission to the differential, causing it to come loose.

General Problems

Some of the later models of the V-8 powered Fords that have automatic transmissions may experience selector complications where the gearbox may only function in fourth gear. If the gear stick is moved into reverse, the transmission may shift hard and thrust the vehicle forward. The likely cause of this is a shift solenoid.

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About the Author

Abigail Damoah has been writing since 1996, with her work focusing on academic writings about human resource management. She also writes for eHow. Damoah has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and criminology from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Master of Business Administration in human resource management from American Intercontinental University in Florida.