Can You Drive With a Bad Transmission?

Automated transmission

What are the signs of a bad transmission?

The transmission in your vehicle is necessary to make it move. Yes, the engine powers it and wheels and tires let it roll, but without the transmission, there is nothing to power or roll. So, when your transmission isn’t working right, transmission repair or replacement is necessary. 

Early detection of problems with your car can save you money and time and keep you and your passengers safe. This includes knowing when to put gas in the car, buy new tires, and When to repair transmissions. You have a gas gauge that tells you when to get gas and no tread tells you it is time to buy new tires. How do you know when your vehicle needs transmission repair? Any of these ten things are a warning sign: 

  1. Won’t Switch Gears
    If your vehicle struggles or won’t change gears, it could be low of transmission fluid. Unless you know what type of transmission fluid it takes, take your vehicle to mechanic shop to check and add the fluid. If that doesn’t help, you need to have the mechanic check for transmission repair or replacement. 
  2. Burning Odor
    When there is a burning odor coming from your vehicle, you need to get it to a mechanic immediately. It could be an overheated transmission or no transmission fluid. 
  3. Noises in Neutral
    When there are odd noises and sounds coming from your vehicle while it is in neutral, it is telling you that you need transmission repair or replacement.  
  4. Gears Slipping
    When the gears slip impulsively in your vehicle, it can be alarming and extremely dangerous. Take your vehicle immediately to a mechanic for inspection.  
  5. Clutch Dragging
    A clutch and flywheel of a manual transmission must work together in order for the transmission to work. When the clutch won’t disengage from the flywheel, it drags. 
  6. Transmission Fluid Leaking
    This is the most obvious indication of a transmission repair is needed, possibly replacing if it is beyond repair. An experienced mechanic can check the fluid and test drive the vehicle to determine which is needed. 
  7. Check Engine Light
    When the check engine light comes on, it could be telling you a variety of things about your vehicle. From low on motor oil or transmission fluid, to the computer has a malfunction. In any case, having your vehicle checked by a mechanic is necessary. 
  8. Grinding Transmission
    When an automatic transmission grinds or shakes the vehicle as it changes gears, a transmission repair or replacement is necessary. , 
  9. A Humming Sound
    A well working transmission should be relatively quiet. If your transmission is clunking, humming, or  whining, you need a mechanic to inspect the problem and determine if a transmission repair will fix the problem. 
  10. No Response
    If your vehicle doesn’t respond to gear changes, like from park to drive or drive to reverse, it needs mechanical help for either transmission repair or replacement. 

Can you fix a transmission without replacing it?

When you have determined that your vehicle has transmission issues, sometimes transmission repairs are possible, other times replacement or rebuild is the only option. If your mechanic advises you that transmission repair is possible, this is because they have determined a specific part can be fixed and get your vehicle back on the road. For now …. It is possible, that transmission repair will only  be a temporary band-aid and you’ll be back in the shop with the vehicle sooner or later.

Can you repair transmission cooler lines?

Automatic transmissions have cooling line that circulates the hot fluid, sending to the radiator and returns it to transmission. Sometimes a transmission will have problems due to the cooling lines going bad or breaking.  

This is a possible transmission repair by replace the cooling line with a new one. Replacement cooling lines are available at auto parts retail stores and the associate can help you choosing the right one for your vehicle. If you’re unable to find the replacement, you can use a high heat resistant liquid sealant for a temporary transmission repair. Another option is a high heat resistant Teflon tape. 

How long does transmission repair take?

It can depend on the make and model of the vehicle as well as parts availability. The normal time is up to four days. 

Can I rebuild a transmission on my own?

Yes, if you have mechanical aptitude and tools, purchasing a transmission rebuild kit and doing the work yourself is much less expensive than having a professional transmission repair. Keeping in mind when you do the repairs yourself, instead of taking to where repair transmission specialist can do the work, you won’t have any guarantee or warranty on the work. 

Can you drive with a bad transmission?

You can, but you shouldn’t unless you’re driving your vehicle to the mechanic shop. A transmission that isn’t working properly can quite working without any notice. 

transmissions gears

Is it worth fixing a transmission?

That is a personal decision based on the cost of the transmission repair and if you’re trying to keep car payments out of your budget. A transmission rebuild or repair is definitely a money saver in the short term, whereas a new car with a payment is a long-term investment. Call 805-466-3236 today for transmission repair in Atascadero, CA.