Can a Transmission Go Out Without Warning? (Explained)

Can a Transmission Go Out Without Warning

Transmission is very important for the engine to perform at full capacity. The transmission is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the wheels through numerous gears.

Depending on the vehicle and model, a vehicle can have a manual or automatic transmission. Irrespective of the type of transmission your vehicle uses, they are bound to go bad like some other parts of the engine. The transmission parts get old over time with usage.

Can a transmission go out without warning? No, the transmission will not go out without warning. A transmission always gives signs and warnings before giving out, the sign starts very small and it can escalate if no action is taken causing further damage to the transmission and even the engine.

Can a Transmission Go Out Without Warning?

No, your transmission won’t go out without warning. Before your transmission gives out it will always give signs that show something is wrong, but oftentimes we either ignore these signs or are just ignorant about them. When it eventually goes out it seems it just happened without any sign.

Some signs that your transmission is going bad are mentioned below;

  • Cracking sound: When a transmission is bad or a clogged transmission filter, it will affect the flow of fluid to the other components of the engine, lack of fluid in these areas will cause friction.
  • It Overheats: Little or no fluid in the transmission will eventually result in overheating because the engine will be an exacting force to function.
  • Irregular Performance: Over time, you get to know how your car reacts under certain conditions, but when the transmission is bad the car starts reacting differently under the same conditions; such as difficulty in changing gear, slow response, etc.
  • A bad or failing transmission will leak fluid.

These are signs that can help you know if you are having a failing transmission. These signs should not be ignored.

What is the First Sign of a Transmission Going Bad?

The signs of transmission going bad may vary under different conditions but you can be sure to experience some of the following:

1. Burning Smell

The leaked fluid if not noticed in time will eventually get on other hot components of the engine thereby burning the fluid. You will know there’s a transmission problem when you are perceiving a burnt smell or unpleasant smell.

2. Check Engine Warning Light On

When something is wrong somewhere in the car the engine light will come on, this does not necessarily point to a transmission problem but with it, you are able to troubleshoot to know where the problem is and take immediate action.

3. Leaking fluid

This should probably top the list of signs because almost every other sign stems from it. One thing you can be sure to experience with a transmission going bad is fluid leakage as there’s really nothing keeping the fluid from escaping.

4. Slow Response

Leaking fluid means other engine components will not be well lubricated which results in their slow response such as; delay when shifting gears.

What Causes Transmission Sudden Failure

A transmission can fail suddenly due to some underlying reasons, some of the root causes are below;

Little or no Transmission Fluid

This can be as a result of the irregular change of fluid or leaking fluid. As a car owner part of your responsibility is changing the transmission fluid as often as possible, the fluid could also drain out due to a bad part of the transmission. Without fluid, the transmission cannot function well and will eventually lead to its failure.

Worn Out Torque Converter

The torque converter pressurizes transmission fluid and enables it to provide the energy needed for shifting transmission gear.

The part of the torque converter that oftentimes gets worn out is its needle bearing, which produces a grinding sound when the car is in driving gear.

Contaminated Fluid

The transmission fluid can get contaminated by dirt, debris, etc. if this dirt gets inside the transmission it can cause severe damage over time.

Clogged Filter

The transmission filter can also get clogged with dirt from transmission fluid, this prevents the flow of fluid to the required gears in the engine which can also result in transmission failure.

How Do You Know if Automatic Transmission is Going Bad?

Transmissions get old just as the car does, this is absolutely normal. An automatic transmission gives signs of going bad just as the manual transmission does. Some of these signs are;

  • If you notice a wet spot under the vehicle then it’s probably from the transmission. A leaking transmission is a sign that shouldn’t be ignored
  • A sign of a bad transmission is a delay in shifting from one gear to the other. The delay in shifting gear can be frustrating, so when you notice this, the problem is from the transmission and you should look into it.
  • When the gear starts having a mind of its own, shifting and you can’t control it, this also indicates a transmission going bad
  • Rough Shifting. A bad transmission makes it hard to easily shift gears.

What Should You Do Afterwards

Some transmission problems can be fixed quickly after you must have troubleshot them. Depending on the severity of the problem you may require the service of an expert.

Here are some quick fixes for the signs;

  • For leakage of fluid, you will need to find out what part of the transmission caused the fluid to leak. You may have to repair the part.
  • When there is a delay in a shift you should have the car inspected and repaired.
  • A slipping transmission is very dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly, have the car checked by an expert.
  • The extent of the damage to the transmission will help you determine whether repairing is good or you will have to replace some parts or all.

In all, you will have to first diagnose the problem in order to know how to fix them.


You should always be on the lookout for the slightest change in your car, taking note of changes in time will help you take appropriate measures in fixing them before they escalate.

All transmission problems should be fixed in time and not overlooked, if they are not worked upon on time, they could lead to further damage to the vehicle.

General maintenance of the car should be done at all times, you shouldn’t wait till something is wrong with the car before you have it checked.  Checking in time can prevent you from spending so much money on repairs.