Tell-Tale Signs Of A Failing Transmission

A car’s automatic transmission system features incredibly complex and computer-driven systems. This makes it even more expensive to fix if it breaks down than even your engine. And it is a 9G Tronic or 7G Tronic automatic transmission, the cost of fixing it becomes even higher.

That is why you always need to be vigilant and spot any problem as early as possible. This way, fixing it won’t be nearly as expensive as it would if it completely breaks down. In this article, we tell you the sign of a failing transmission system. If you notice any of these, drop everything you are doing and head straight to your mechanic. That proactivity could be the difference between paying for a minor fix and installing a new transmission system.

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Grinding Or Shaking Sensation In Gear

A normally operating transmission system functions smoothly when it shifts from one gear to the next. It should do so without you feeling any slipping, shaking sensations, or grinding when your vehicle switches gears. These problems will not feel major when the transmission is just beginning to die out.

However, it is advisable to fix the problem now as the matter is only likely to become worse with continued use. If you experience pretty jarring sensations when the vehicle shifts, it’s best to have it checked by a professional mechanic. In most cases, automatic gears progressively get worse when they have problems.

The Car Doesn’t Respond Or Engage When In Gear

You can also tell that your 9G Tronic automatic transmission has a problem if it refuses to engage when in gear. For example, you may notice that it doesn’t reverse or drive immediately when it’s in gear. Sometimes, it may fail to engage completely when you put it in reverse or drive mode. These two issues could be pointers to a bigger problem. One issue could be the fluid whose protective properties have degraded. This problem could easily be solved by changing the fluid.

Sometimes, the issue could be a problem with the car’s computer system. In that case, all that is required is resetting the car’s computer system. The best part is that you don’t need a mechanic for this. Simply disconnect the battery for about half an hour. This allows the system to reset. If you try this and still nothing changes, then calling a qualified transmission repair pro will be the only option left.

Fluid Problems – Low And Leaking Fluid

All transmissions, whether manual or automatic, old or the latest model like the 7G Tronic model, need fluid. When this fluid starts leaking or gets dirty, it might open ways for even bigger problems. If you do not attend to the problem of leaking immediately, you could be staring at a complete transmission rebuild. Your transmission needs fluid to work under great pressure.

The fluids that automatic and manual transmissions use are different. However, transmission fluid is a critical component of your system irrespective of whether yours is a classic or a brand new Mercedes Benz. Get to the habit of checking the transmission fluid the same way you do to your oil level. While at it, check for dark spots underneath your car.

The normal color of transmission fluid is reddish. Dark fluid is an indicator that you should change it. The ideal time to do this check is after driving for a few blocks. You want to check it once every month at the fuel station.

A Strange Burning Smell

A burning smell almost always points to a problem and this is not just in your car but all circumstances. Therefore, if you experience a burning smell when driving, take your car to your mechanic to have the transmission serviced.

A burning smell could sometimes indicate a problem with the electrical system, but it could also be a result of an old transmission fluid that broke down and turned into sludge. This causes the transmission to be too hot for the old fluid to circulate properly. This is bad news as it can make the transmission self-destruct.

“Check Engine” Light Is On

In most cases, the “Check Engine” light notifies you that your car is about to develop a serious problem. However, the light can signal many problems and not just on the engine. It could be a transmission problem or not.

The latest transmissions like the 9G Tronic contain several sensors that pick up a problem in the system. The sensors then send signals to the computer, which is the notification you get on the screen via the Check Engine light.

Having the engine light checked is important because if the problem has to do with the transmission, detecting it early can make repairing it a lot less expensive. Waiting longer could have just caused you more money and unnecessary grief.

The Vehicle Has No Power

If your car has little or no power but the engine seems to be running perfectly, it could be that your transmission has problems. It could also be due to dragging brakes resulting from a faulty brake hose or caliper. Your car computer could also be restricting power because it has detected a problem and needs to protect your engine. Taking the vehicle to have the troubled codes be checked will help to isolate the issue.

Slipping Transmission Or Engine Revs High

The potential reasons for this problem include low transmission fluid, the internal transmission parts have worn out, or the transmission fluid being contaminated with water or as a result of not being maintained. When the engine is revving high, It could point to worn-out transmission parts.


You know your car better than anybody else. When it starts to act differently, you should take note immediately. A peculiar smell or sound, or strange noises are not to be taken lightly. Also, watch out for non-responsive gears or when they don’t switch smoothly as they used to. If you notice these signs and those mentioned above, take your car to your mechanic at your earliest convenience. It will help you prevent a costly repair.

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