Your transmission is one of the key systems in your car – any type of mechanical failure in the transmission means that your car is no longer drivable. A flush and replacement of the fluid is on of the basic maintenance tasks you can undertake to ensure your car remains in operable condition. The following signs means that it's time to take your car into the mechanic's.
Sign #1: Hesitation or slipping when shifting
When you put a manual transmission into gear, the car should respond immediately. If it seems to hesitate before sliding into gear or if it slips out of gear, then the fluid has become dirty and is no longer lubricating the gears properly. This in turn makes it difficult for them to slip into place, thus the hesitation. In an a car with an automatic transmission you may notice that the car hesitates after it revs into the next gear – this is where the vehicle seems to stop accelerating or even slows slightly for just a second or two.
Sign #2: Noises when shifting
A problem in the transmission generally makes a grinding noise. In the early stages, this noise won't be exceptionally loud and you may feel it more than you hear it. If you allow the problem to persist, the grinding will become quite loud and jarring. In an automatic transmission, the grinding noises are present in the latter stages of damage from dirty fluid, but in the early stages you may just feel an odd vibration as the car revs slightly before entering the next gear.
Sign #3: Won't stay in gear
Transmission fluid's primary job is to build up pressure, which is what keeps the transmission in gear. If the fluid becomes low, then pressure can't build up and the car will pop out of gear. In a manual transmission, this generally means that the car will keep popping back into neutral, making it impossible to drive. In an automatic, the car won't be able to shift into higher gears, so your speed will top at fairly low and the engine will get exceptionally loud when you try to hit the gas to pick up speed. In both automatic's and manual's, you may also feel the car jerk as you put it into gear. This occurs when the fluid is low but still able to build up sufficient pressure to get into gear.
If you suspect an issue with your transmission, schedule a fluid flush and inspection.
For more information, talk to a company like Huntington Beach Transmissions.