There's nothing quite like loading your car with perishable groceries on a hot day and then not being able to put the vehicle in gear. A broken transmission linkage is just one of several problems that can crop up without notice.
Transmissions are usually good workhorses, but when they break, you're not going anywhere. They must be towed to a repair shop. Your best choice for a mechanic is someone certified for transmission repair. Here are some common problems:
Red Driveway Stains
Transmission fluid leaves a red stain in your driveway when it's leaking. The shade of red can give you an idea of whether the problem is minor or not. Bright red fluid is indicative of a leak. Check the fluid level, and if it is low, then you do have a leak. This is the easiest and least expensive repair.
Dark red fluid needs the immediate attention of a mechanic. Sometimes draining and changing the fluid solves the problem, especially if you used the wrong type. If you ignore the issue, then you will end up paying an expensive repair bill. If the transmission burns out, it must be rebuilt or replaced.
Automatic transmissions change gears smoothly. You should hardly notice it. Sometimes the car will jolt as it changes from one gear to the next. This could indicate a problem with the gear teeth or with the linkage cable, especially if there is hesitation going from neutral to drive.
Newer cars have electronics controlling the transmission. A faulty sensor can make it run roughly. A transmission repair shop can run a diagnostic test to identify the problem. Sensors are rather inexpensive, and certainly cost significantly less than repairing a transmission.
Noisy at Red Lights
Your vehicle's transmission should run quietly when sitting at a red light. Worn parts are about the only reason it would make noise while in neutral. Alternatively, it might need new bearings. Unfortunately, both of these repairs are on the expensive side, although not as costly as purchasing a new transmission.
If you are like most people, you depend on your vehicle to get you to work, school, shopping, and everywhere else. Routine transmission maintenance can prevent most of these problems from happening prematurely. The most important thing you can do is monitor the fluid. It keeps the individual parts lubricated and running at the proper temperature.
Take your car to a mechanic as soon as you notice a problem. Where a transmission is concerned, that problem will never go away on its own. Early maintenance can keep your transmission humming along for 100,000 miles. Talk to your mechanic, such as someone from national transmissions, for more information.