If your car has started jumping or running sluggishly when taking off or shifting gears, your vehicle may be leaking transmission fluid. If you suspect this could be the case, look for one or more of the following additional signs you have a leak.
White Or Gray Smoke Coming From Your Engine
If your transmission fluid is leaking, you may see white or gray smoke coming from under your hood. This happens when the fluid hits the hot engine, creating steam.
While this could be a sign that your transmission fluid is leaking, smoke or steam coming from your engine could be a sign of another problem, such as a water leak. Since it does not by itself indicate a problem with your transmission fluid, you should investigate further, as discussed in the next section.
Sickly Sweet Smell
When you see smoke coming out from under your car's hood, either open your window or step outside to see what it smells like. Transmission fluid has a distinctive odor, often described as a sickly sweet smell.
If you smell something sweet after breathing in deeply to detect the odor, this is a pretty good sign that your transmission fluid is leaking and cooking on the hot engine. If this is the case, you may want to take it to a transmission repair shop as soon as possible to have the level checked to keep your transmission from seizing up.
Grinding Or Clicking Noise While Shifting
Another sign that your transmission fluid may be leaking is a grinding or clicking noise while your car is shifting gears. When the fluid is too low, there is not enough lubrication within the transmission to keep the gears running smoothly. As a result, the metal of one gear will start hitting the bare metal of another, grinding them both down and causing extensive damage.
If you notice this noise, especially with the other two signs discussed above, you should take your car to a transmission shop. Once it starts grinding, your transmission is close to seizing up, creating the possibility of stopping altogether and stranding you on the side of the road.
If your vehicle is exhibiting any of the signs above, you should check your transmission fluid levels. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you may want to take your car to a certified transmission service to have it checked, as well as have them discover and fix the source of the leak.
As the son and grandson of mechanics, I spent much of my child hood under the hood of many cars. I have listened and learned about so many different problems and how to repair them effectively. I created this blog to cover as many car problems as possible without overwhelming readers. You will find tips for troubleshooting, advice for when to take it to a professional and suggestions for when to stop driving the car or truck immediately to prevent further and more costly damage. We hope that you find all of this information helpful and useful, allowing you to have a great running car.