Maintenance Tips

8 Transmission Issues in Your Used Car To Watch Out For

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 04/06/2022

Transmission issues most times take a toll on your bank balance because of the complexity of parts. Many times people are concerned about engine issues and neglect the transmission. Your transmission is responsible for your gear changes which allow you to run smoothly and is important and should be a top priority when servicing your vehicle. 


Especially for used vehicles – it is important to listen to your vehicle and have a mechanic fix issues if you notice irregularities. 


Some common transmission issues that you may come across are faulty components and parts, leaking seals, worn-out clutch, etc. 


We have put together a list of some common transmission issues you may have to deal with in your vehicle – whether you drive a manual or automatic transmission.


8 Transmission Issues To Look Out For

1. Clutch Wear

The most frequent issue for the manual transmission is a worn-out clutch. Have a mechanic replace your clutch if you notice it slipping during acceleration. Also, if you notice your clutch pedal engages higher up than usual or is stiff, then it might be a good time to call up your auto shop. 



2. Broken Sensors

Lately, automakers make vehicles with lots of sensors which also include sensors in the transmission, like transmission input speed sensor, output speed sensor, or airflow sensor. Some transmission sensors With time the sensors may develop issues or stop working. Have them replaced by a professional who understands how sensors work. 



3. Broken Transmission Bands

Your transmission bands are responsible for holding different gears together to give you good output. The bands have the tendency to break and when they do you will notice you are not able to change gears swiftly. If your vehicle uses automatic transmission, you are not able to accelerate properly because your transmission is stuck. Have a professional repair or replace bands. 


4. Leaking Transmission

Your transmission oil allows for the smooth running of your transmission but with time can age causing wear of different components. As your transmission gets older, the gasket and seals also wear out with age – causing leakage of transmission fluids. Have your transmission repaired and parts replaced when you notice any leakage. Do this as soon as possible to avoid more costly repairs as an inadequate amount of transmission fluids can cause the gear teeth to grind harder with a lot more friction, basically leading to a complete replacement and programming issues that can easily cause thousands of dollars.


You can check your vehicle for leaks – if you notice the leak is from the bottom, it’s likely your transmission pan. If it’s coming from the front then it’s likely your front main.  


Whatever the case and if in doubt, have a mechanic confirm the exact location of the leaks and fix it. 



5. Old Fluid/Filter/Oil Wear

Old fluids and filters can cause problems with your transmission as with time, they become darker and contain a lot of deposits that are dangerous to the gear’s teeth. Although you don’t need to replace transmission fluids as often – it is recommended to check your car manual to know how frequently you should have it changed. Also, replace your filter where and when necessary. 


6. Overheating Transmission

There are a number of reasons why your transmission might overheat. It could be from jammed gears or old fluids or even more serious issues that only an expert can diagnose. You will need to involve a mechanic early enough to properly investigate the root cause of your overheating transmission to avoid needing to completely replace your entire transmission.



7. Torque Converter 

A torque Converter is usually found in automatic transmission – so if you drive an automatic, you have this. If you hear grinding noise while your transmission shifts gears – this means your torque converter may be affected. Usually, the torque converter rarely wears out with use but if it does, you will need a transmission rebuild. 



Have a mechanic check your vehicle before committing to having your transmission rebuilt as this will cost an arm and leg. 


8. Rough Shifting/Slipping Gears

Rough shifting can be caused by jammed gears, worn out or broken bands or other issues. Have a mechanic trace the exact problem and have it fixed. 


Slipping gears is when transmission begins to age, causing the gears to slip. This is more prominent in manual transmission but also happens with automatic transmission. Have a mechanic replace the worn-out parts and all should be back to normal.


Further Reading

  1. 4 Things You Should Know AFTER Buying a Used Car
  2. 4 Easy Ways to Potentially Increase a Car’s Valued Idea?
  3. Used Cars: Easy, Quick, and Helpful Maintenance Hacks
  4. Tire Maintenance: 4 Tips to Taking care of Your Used Car Tires



Your transmission is a critical part of your vehicle and you need to know how it works to keep it in top-notch condition. Transmission repairs cost a lot so if you are able to catch issues early you may avoid spending too much.  


When next you take your vehicle onto the road – look out for these issues to avoid costly damage in the future. 


Also, engage the services of a professional mechanic when repairing your transmission or replacing parts. If you purchased a used vehicle, it is recommended to have your vehicle serviced before jumping behind the wheels.