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Common Car Transmission Slipping Indicators

Transmission Slipping

Transmission Slipping

By Kamal Sadik

When you can begin to feel the transmission slipping on your car, it is never a good feeling.  Trying to unravel possible causes to get to the problem is not easy.  Below are some common symptoms that you should be aware of that can be helpful regarding your vehicle transmission.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine LightAlways be aware of this light.  Modern cars are outfitted with sensors that can detect problems in your car, especially within the engine and transmission, before you may even know something is wrong.   It is always advisable to get the car checked with someone who can tell you what is not functioning correctly by looking at the problem’s code.


Any sort of noise the car makes while going from idling, or when shifting gears, can result in transmission slipping.

No/Lazy Starting

Another way to gauge for a slipping transmission is a lazy start, especially during cold weather. If the car fails to move as soon as you press the pedal it most likely means that the gears are moving, but the transmission is late to latch on, resulting in slipping.

Harsh Gear Shifting

Transmission GearsA clear sign of transmission issues is when you’re driving your car and it shifts gears and feels like you are being rear-ended.  Essentially this feeling occurs because the transmission cannot get the proper traction to disengage and latch on to the shifted gears.

Won’t Go in Reverse

If the car won’t move at all when you put it in reverse (which often happens in cold weather) it is a major indicator of transmission problems.


A burning or rotten smell from near the engine or underneath the car is a result of one, or both, of the following reasons: either the transmission is overheating, or the transmission oil is leaking into the exhaust. This is a fire hazard therefore do not postpone taking your automobile to the mechanic.

Oil Characteristics

Transmission OilTransmission oil is clear and bright-red, and smells somewhat sweet and pleasant. Reasons such as a low level of oil, leakage, or aging of the oil may cause it to change color, become thicker, and smell awful.

Oil Leakage

The lowest touch of oil pool forming underneath your automobile is cause for alarm. As you drive less oil for your transmission means more issues.

The objective is that if you ever notice any of the symptoms described above, promptly take your car to a trusted mechanic.  While scheduled regular maintenance is viewed as costly, it is an investment that will prolong the life of your vehicle and help prevent transmission slipping.