Getting Stuck Can Seriously Damage A Transmission: Here's How To Avoid It

10 July 2017
 Categories: , Blog


During the rainy and snowy months of the year, people often get stuck in mud or snow. When this happens, they can end up seriously damaging their transmission trying to get out. Thankfully, this problem can be avoided.

Symptoms of an Overheating Gearbox

The gearbox or transmission is likely to overheat when it suffers from severe strain. When a person is stuck and trying to rock their vehicle out, there are several symptoms that they need to watch for to ensure that they don't damage their transmission. Some of the most common of these symptoms include the following:

  • Dark oil on dipstick
  • Smoking coming from the engine
  • Melting plastic near the transmission
  • Water spraying around the area

When trying to get a car unstuck from mud or snow, a person needs to avoid working the engine too hard. If they do, they run the risk of serious transmission issues. But why does getting stuck cause such a problem and how can it be avoided?

How Getting Stuck Can Cause This Problem

When a person gets stuck in snow or mud, they are likely to try rocking their vehicle out of it. These jarring changes of direction strain the transmission and literally cause it to rock and back forth inside of the engine. Even worse, the abrupt changes that occur on the wheels can cause further damage to the transmission, causing it to overheat, and even suffer from severe damage.

Those stuck in this situation need to shift to a low gear, use very little power when accelerating their vehicle, turn off traction control, and place traction items, such as rocks and sand, under the tires. These help the tires find a grip and should get the car out without rocking. If all else fails, call a tow truck to avoid transmission damage. Once you are over the hump and rolling in one direction, power out of the mess until you are on solid ground.

What This Damage Can Cost

If a person causes damage to their transmission when they are stuck in the mud or snow, they are looking at a pretty hefty bill to replace it. Installing a used or salvage transmission costs around $800 to $1,500 or so, a rebuilt one from $1,500 to $2,500, and a new one from about $2,500 to $3,500. And that's just for the parts. Replacing the transmission will cost up to $850 extra.

As a result, it is crucial for a person to avoid getting stuck in their vehicle, follow proper guidelines to get unstuck, and watching for signs of overheating. Getting a car to the automotive repair shop quickly enough may give them time to repair, rather than replace, a transmission. In this way, a person can avoid such a serious financial investment.