Is your transmission light on car shining brightly? If you catch it early enough, repair doesn’t have to be an expensive hassle. Here at Kernersville Auto Center, our ASE-certified technicians can diagnose the problem and give you options to fit your budget. We’ll get you back on the road quickly.
Dashboard Lights: What You Need to Know
While most vehicles on the road today have dashboard lights, this wasn’t always the case. These lights became more commonplace in the mid-1990s, when the the United States Environmental Protection Agency began requiring On-Board Diagnostics II systems for all passenger vehicles in order to reduce emissions.
Today, we have not only check engine lights, but also a wide variety of dashboard lights to alert you of potential problems. A transmission warning light typically looks like a circular gear with an exclamation point in the middle. In some cases, this light can also have a small thermometer inside instead, which indicates a specific problem, that your transmission temperature is too hot.
Sometimes, dashboard lights come on even if there’s nothing wrong with your vehicle. They can also indicate problems that are extremely minor. However, it is never a good idea to drive with any of your dashboard warning lights are on. These lights can indicate major problems that could cause your vehicle to break down or could even cause unsafe driving situations. If your transmission light is on, come into Kernersville Auto Center as soon as possible for a full vehicle diagnosis.
What is a Transmission
To understand what kind of transmission repair you might need, it’s important to know what a transmission does. Basically, this is the part of your car responsible for shifting gears. When you step on the gas to accelerate, the transmission controls the power sent to your wheels without requiring the engine to constantly run at different speeds. So, your transmission allows you to drive 15 mph in a school zone or 60+ mph on the highway, in a very reliable way.
Vehicles either have a manual or automatic transmission. With a manual transmission, the driver shifts between gears while driving. Most vehicles today have an automatic transmission, where the car decides to how shift without input from the driver. The built-in torque converter will decide when to switch gears to keep your vehicle running, which is typically more precise than the driver switching manually.
Common Transmission Problems
The transmission light on car dashboards can indicate any number of problems. That’s why professional diagnosis is important. Our certified mechanics can figure out exactly what is wrong and the best course to repair it. Here are a few common transmission problems we see at our shop:
- Overheating – A transmission can overheat due to not having enough fluid, problems with your cooling system, or internal issues within the gearbox. Low transmission fluid is common, and this typically indicates a leak. If you see a red puddle under your car, your transmission fluid is definitely leaking.
- Slipping Gears – Low transmission fluid can cause your gears to not engage properly. However, sometimes this is due to other issues with the gears, belts, or chains. Over time, all components of your vehicle will have normal wear and tear. Within your transmission, this can cause the gears to “slip” or not engage properly.
- Problem with the sensor – Sometimes, nothing is actually wrong. You might have a bad sensor or a wiring problem. Generally, these are extremely simple to adjust.
Along with your dashboard transmission light turning on, you could also hear whining noises. Or, you may not feel like you’re getting enough power to get up to the speed you want. You could also feel grinding while you’re driving and the vehicle is switching gears.
Avoiding Transmission Problems
If your transmission needs repair, we can help. That said, the easiest way to avoid a large transmission issues is to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Here’s how you can ensure your transmission is in good working order:
- Have your transmission inspected regularly. We can do a complete engine tune-up including checking the transmission.
- Periodically check your transmission fluid level. This fluid shouldn’t burn off over time, but it can be too low if there is a leak. You may not even notice a leak if it is very slow.
- Flush your transmission fluid, especially if you see signs of transmission problems even with no leaks.
- Make sure your cooling system is well maintained. Your cooling system not only keeps the engine temperature low, but it also can lower the temperature of the transmission fluid.
In addition to maintenance, you can also do a few things while driving to keep your transmission in good working order. First, during the winter, let your car warm up for a few minutes before you drive. Always do this in an open area, not a closed garage. Second, and more importantly for your transmission, do not manually change gears without fully stopping first. Namely, do not switch directly from driving to reverse (or vice versa). Always come to a full stop first. It can also help to avoid stomping on your accelerator or breaking quickly.
FAQs About the Transmission Light on Car Dashboards
If you’re worried about your transmission at any time for any reason, we can help. Our mechanics have experience working with a wide range of makes and models, including cars, trucks, and SUVs. The transmission light on car dashboards can indicate there’s a problem, but you don’t have to wait for it to pop on to make an appointment. It’s better to take care of any issue when it is small rather than wait for it to get bigger.
Here are a few FAQs about bringing your vehicle to our shop. We’re also happy to answer any other questions you may have:
Is it bad to keep driving with a transmission light on?
It can be. Although some transmission problems are no big deal, other transmission problems can make your vehicle unsafe. Always bring in your car as soon as possible for a diagnosis. We’ll work with you to make sure you can find a repair option within your budget. Additionally, we also have a loyalty program to help you save money on your repair needs, which includes a free birthday car wash! So, don’t put off a repair because you’re worried about your budget.
How long should a transmission last?
With routine maintenance, a transmission can last hundreds of thousands of miles. Most people will get a new vehicle before they have major transmission problems. However, without proper maintenance, a transmission can have issues much sooner. So, again, if the transmission light on car does come on, get it checked out as soon as possible.
What other maintenance and repairs do you do?
We can help you with the full range of maintenance needs for your vehicle, including state inspections, oil changes, and more. Our goal is to keep you on the road, so you’re spending as little time in our shop as possible. If you’re not sure what maintenance you need, don’t worry; we can help. Simply click here to set up an appointment, and our mechanics can get you on the right maintenance schedule for your vehicle.