Can A Transmission Go Out Without Warning?

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Can a transmission go out without warning? The simple answer is NO, but then, it is imperative to say that certain things may go wrong in your vehicle, and as such, you may not be able to see or observe the signs of a failing transmission.

Modern cars are highly computerized; thus, when one of its systems of core components stops responding, or starts functioning inconsistently, then you’d likely get a notification on the dashboard.

This article will explain the scenarios that may cause a car transmission to go out without warning, as well as list the common signs/warning of a failing transmission.

Can A Transmission Go Out Without Warning?

With the high level of computerization introduced in modern cars, it is safe to say that the transmission cannot just go out without a sign.

You’d most likely see or hear quite different warning signs to check out the transmission and know it needs repair or replacement.

Simply put, transmission cannot go out without giving a sign or warning to the driver. Below are some of the signs a failing transmission may display.

Read Also: How To Know If ABS Control Module Is Bad

How To Know If Transmission Is Failing

Can A Transmission Go Out Without Warning

You mustn’t wait until you see or observe all these signals before concluding that your car’s transmission system is failing. The moment you notice either of these signs, it is advisable that you act proactively.

1. Check Engine Light Comes On

One of the foremost signs that indicate that something is wrong with your car’s transmission system is the check engine light.

This light does not illuminate or show up on your dashboard if the engine is working properly – and since the transmission is a core component of a car engine, the moment it gets faulty, the check engine light may appear.

Regardless, there are quite other reasons why the check engine light may illuminate on your dashboard. So, when you see this light, the first thing to do is to check if the necessary engine fluids have leaked out or dried.

If you check the fluids and they are above the recommended level, the issue could be with your transmission.

2. Unusual Sounds and Shuddering

It is not normal to hear cracking sounds when driving a car. Some drivers may take it common – don’t be like those drivers.

When the transmission is faulty or lacks sufficient fluid (the transmission fluid isn’t flowing in and out), friction would increase within the internal components; thus, causing cracking sounds.

Also, you may notice that your car shudders while driving. Shuddering means that you will feel like you’re driving on a rocky road even though you’re on a smooth, straight road.

Typically, shuddering is caused by a bad torque converter, which is a vital component of modern cars’ transmission system.

The moment you start hearing unusual sounds or experience shuddering while driving your car – apparently, it is time to check the transmission system.

Read Also: How To Tell If Torque Converter Is Locking Up

3. Overheating

As mentioned earlier, if the transmission fluid finds a void and leaks out, there would less sufficient fluid to go round the transmission components to keep them greasy and working fine. This would lead to an increase in friction within the components, and subsequently cause overheating.

Also, it is important to say that there are several other reasons why a car overheats; but certainly, a failing transmission is one of those reasons.

Again, check the fluids and check if they are below the recommended/marked level, top-up more fluids if necessary and if the overheating doesn’t stop, it’s time to check on the transmission.

4. Fluid Leaks

We’ve pretty mentioned leaks many times in this article, yes, fluid leaks is one of the symptoms of a bad transmission. Fluid leaks should not be taken lightly because your car engine parts need to be constantly lubricated if they must function properly.

When fluids leak out of the engine, the various metal components won’t get enough lubrication, and that could lead to different problems that could result in more expensive repairs if not fixed on time.

When you notice that fluids leak out from your car while driving or when it’s parked, check the transmission.

5. Irregularities

Apparently, you’ve been driving your car for a long time, or for some time (if you just bought it new); hence, you know how the car performs and how it sounds while driving on different roads.

That said, if you notice that your vehicle is no longer performing as it was, let’s say you notice a drop in speed, gear shifting issues, unresponsiveness, etc., all these could be signs of a failing transmission.

Modern transmissions feature an intricate design. There are many sub-components it houses inside; if any of those sub-components should go bad and not fixed immediately, it could affect other components, and over time, damage the entire transmission system.

How Do You Know If Your Transmission Went Out?

There is no specific way to know this; however, if you can notice either of the signs mentioned above, that could be a warning that your transmission is going out.

The complexity of modern transmission made it almost impossible for drivers not to get a sign when things go wrong.

Read Also: What Are The Signs Of A Bad Torque Converter?


Hopefully, this article answers the question of whether a car transmission can go out without warning.

Notwithstanding, you need to be sensitive and pay attention to any unusual sound or signal you get while driving your car. It is never advisable to drive with a bad transmission.

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