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How To Tell If Your Transmission Is Slipping

Gear Shift

Gear Shift

If your car isn’t running as smoothly or efficiently as it used to and feels different when you’re driving it, your transmission might be going out. A faulty or slipping transmission is a serious issue that needs to be fixed as soon as possible; otherwise, you could find yourself in an accident or stuck on the side of the road. Some of the causes of a slipping transmission include poor maintenance, burned transmission fluid, clogged transmission filters, broken gears, or clutch issues. We at Leale’s Transmission and Auto Repair in San Jose are always happy to find and fix the issue for you—but first, here are some telltale signs that it is, in fact, a transmission problem.

Slow to accelerate

When a transmission is functioning properly, it will shift into first gear while idling. If your transmission is slipping, though, it may not shift correctly, and when you try to give it the gas, your car can take longer to accelerate as it struggles to shift properly into first gear, finally catches, and then lurches forward. While slow acceleration may not always indicate a transmission issue, if it’s coupled with any of the other signs, you should probably get it checked.

High RPM

On a normal day when your car is running great, your RPM gauge, or tachometer, should show that your RPMs are generally less than 2,000 when idling and less than 3,500 when accelerating. Each vehicle is different, but you should have an idea of what’s normal for your car, and if it goes above 3,000 or 3,500 RPMs while you’re driving, followed by jerking when the car seems to finally “catch up,” you need to have your transmission checked.

Inability to reverse

When a transmission is going out, it’s not uncommon for you to be unable to shift into reverse. Your car might even read that it’s in reverse when you shift, but when you let off the brake or put on the gas, it’ll still roll forward. This can be a serious issue that leaves you stuck in parking spots or your driveway, and it can cause you to hit other cars or objects. If this is happening to your car, it’s definitely the transmission.

Difficulty shifting gears

Even if your car is an automatic, you should be somewhat aware of when it’s shifting gears, such as when you stop, when you’re going up a hill, or when you’re accelerating. Shifting into a different gear should be smooth, almost unnoticeable most of the time. A slipping transmission will make your car pause or slow down while driving because it’s having difficulty shifting into the appropriate gear, putting a strain on your engine and transmission.

Know when to go

If your car has high RPMs, lurches when you’re driving, has rough shifts into gears, or won’t reverse anymore, it’s definitely time to go get it checked. Slipping transmissions can also be accompanied by loud clanks or knocking noises, a burning smell, and a check engine light. If your car has been acting oddly and you have two or more of these signs, bring it into a shop like Leale’s Transmission and Auto Repair so the issue causing the slipping can be diagnosed and repaired before it gets worse. Your car is important, and we’ll get you back on the road as soon as possible so you can get back to your life.

Don’t wait for it to worsen. Call Leale’s today!