Transmission repairs can be very expensive and very time-consuming, which is why most car owners dread taking their car to a mechanic when they think the transmission is acting up. However, it's good to remember that getting any part of the transmission that needs fixing repaired right away can mean ensuring that your car doesn't break down while on the road.
It's also good to remember that sometimes problems with your car may seem like they should be related to the transmission, but they're really something different entirely. Note when your car may be acting up and why you may assume it's the transmission when really it may be something else altogether.
1. When the Car Seems to Be Stuck or Hesitating after You Release the Brake Pedal
Very often a car may hesitate and then lurch forward after you put it in gear when a component in the transmission is breaking down, or when the car is low on transmission fluid. However, if you notice that your car seems stuck or struggles to move after you release the brake pedal, this could actually be the calipers of the brakes. These are little clips that squeeze the brake pads against the rotors and cause the tires to stop spinning. If the calipers are breaking, they may continue to squeeze the brake pads after you release the brake pedal, causing your car to struggle.
A good way to tell the difference is that the calipers often let go of the pads gradually, whereas a failing transmission may cause your car to suddenly jump into gear. Be mindful of this difference when you take your car into a mechanic so he or she can check either the brakes or the transmission.
2. When the Gear Lever Sticks in Park
The gear shifter or gearbox should move smoothly between gears, and when it seems sticky then this may mean a chain in your transmission system is getting stuck. However, if you have a hard time just getting the shifter out of Park, this might not be the transmission itself. Most cars have a chain or sensor that connects the gearbox to the brake pedal, so that you cannot get the shifter out of Park without having your foot on the brake. If either of these start to break down, the shifter may not sense that your foot is on the brake and won't let you take the car out of Park.
Note if the gearbox seems stuck between all gears or just when trying to shift out of Park. This will alert your mechanic (like those at Precision Automatic Transmissions) to which of these problems may be the culprit.