In all walks of life, identifying problems and addressing them as early as possible is a surefire way to ensure they don't spiral out of control. Your truck transmission is no different.
Knowing how to read the signs of problems is an essential skill for any truck owner. If you ignore truck transmission issues, they won't magically go away. On the contrary, they'll just get worse and can eventually lead to you paying for an expensive complete transmission replacement.
This article will provide you with a list of seven truck transmission problems to watch out and listen for. If you experience any of these problems while driving your truck, you should look to get your truck serviced straight away. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
1. Delays in gear shifting
One sure sign of transmission problems is when you feel a hesitation or delay when you attempt to shift gears. You can experience this problem at any time — such as going from reverse to drive or downshifting or upshifting.
If you find yourself putting your foot down, but the gearbox isn't responding in the usual way, it's a sign that something is wrong. Typically, this problem is a sign of a clutch or indicator issue. The clutch has the important job of changing gears in manual and automatic trucks. If you've got problems with your clutch, it will cause problems with your transmission. Left unattended, you could cause significant damage to your flywheel or gearbox.
If you experience any of these problems, it's worth getting your truck checked immediately.
2. Rattling or grinding during gear shifts
If you have a manual or automatic truck, sliding through the speeds should be a smooth process without friction. Shifting gears shouldn't create any rattling or grinding.
While you may still be able to drive your truck with these issues, they are a sign that something is wrong. It could indicate worn-out gears or that your transmission fluid is running low.
If you encounter this issue, ensure you make an appointment with an experienced heavy-duty diesel truck mechanic. Serious problems like this can't be ignored.
Transmission slipping is a relatively common problem. You'll know your transmission is slipping when your engine revs, but your truck doesn't accelerate. Basically, your truck will feel underpowered,
Another way you can tell your transmission is slipping is by listening to your engine. If you're driving at a steady speed and notice a pitch change in your engine noise, it's a sign of slipping. Typically, this involves a move from a familiar low rumble to something more high-pitched.
What you are looking out for are upshifts or downshifts happening too quickly or too slowly. If you know your truck well, you'll notice the difference.
Again, these changes aren't something to ignore. Failure to address these issues could lead to an accident or severe transmission damage.
4. Fluid leaks
Fluid leaks are a common sign of poor transmission performance. If you encounter this problem, it could be a sign that your transmission is damaged.
If you encounter problems when shifting gears, it's a good idea to look under your truck to see if any transmission fluid is leaking. It could be something small like a loose plug or a punctured pan.
You can tell transmission fluid from its colour, smell, and consistency. The fluid is red when it's new but turns reddish-brown with use. It's thinner than engine oil and has a sweet petroleum-like scent.
Fluid leaks aren't a disaster — if you identify and address them quickly enough. You need transmission fluid to keep the mechanical components in your engine cool and lubricated. If the fluid is leaking, you risk incurring damage from friction and wear.
The good news is that this work is generally simple and cost-efficient to fix when you catch it early.
5. Whining or buzzing noise in neutral
When you drive a truck regularly, you get used to how it feels and sounds. So, if you notice an unusual whining or buzzing noise underneath you when you are in neutral, it could indicate a transmission problem.
As you use your transmission fluid, it starts to break down and become less effective. After a while, it will stop protecting the mechanical components of your transmission, and they will get worn down.
One of the signs that your fluid isn't providing adequate protection any longer is a buzzing or whining noise under the chassis.
It's worth getting it addressed quickly to avoid damaging the parts. Additionally, a professional can rule out anything more serious.
6. A hot, burning smell
If you get a hot, burning smell from your truck, it could be a sign that you're running low on transmission fluid. This burnt smell is not something you should take lightly because it could be a sign that your parts aren't sufficiently lubricated, meaning every mile is causing damage.
When you drive your truck a lot, the lubricating properties of your transmission fluid decline over time, and too much friction between engine parts wear them down, leading to more significant problems further down the line.
As we've detailed above, it could be to do with a leak. Or it might be just deterioration. Either way, a burning smell is something to worry about. So if you notice one, get it checked straight away.
7. The dreaded "check engine" light is on
The "check engine" light is a convenient system that was designed to warn drivers that they've got a problem they need to fix. While you may be able to continue to drive your truck when it's on, not getting this warning light checked out as soon as possible could turn into a big mistake.
This sign can indicate that you have a range of different problems and not just transmission issues. However, it's worth speaking to a professional if you've noticed a few minor issues like performance or unusual feelings or noises.
Truck transmissions are expensive. However, they are built to last if you take proper care of them. So, if you notice any issues, check in with a professional. It will save you a whole lot of money in the long run.