3 Common Causes of Transmission Noise

(Updated on April 16, 2020)

The transmission is an essential component of a vehicle because it sustains its drivability. Basically, the transmission works to redirect the engine power to the driveshaft so that the driver can successfully turn the wheels of the car. If you take care of your car and get bring it to the shop for maintenance on a regular basis, then you should not have any problem with your transmission for a very long time. In fact, you should be able to get at least 100,000 miles out of your transmission before any problems arise. You will want to properly maintain your transmission because replacing a faulty transmission will cost you thousands of dollars. That would be too much for anyone to pay.

When your transmission first starts going bad, you may hear some strange noises coming from it. These noises will be most noticeable as you switch gears. Remember that the transmission is connected to the gearbox, which is a device that gives drivers the ability to switch gears. When you switch to a different gear, the engine adjusts its speed and power to accommodate this new demand being put on it. The rotating components of the transmission speed up during this process because the transmission is now redirecting this new engine power to the driveshaft.

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Top 3 Reasons Transmission is Making Noise

Remember that transmission noises do not necessarily mean your transmission is already bad. But they could be a sign that you need to fix or replace something in the transmission soon or else it will go bad. It may even impact your engine too. So, the best way to stop the noises is to figure out what exactly is causing them.

Below are the top 3 causes of transmission noise.

Old Transmission Fluid – If you look at the owner’s manual of most economy cars, they will tell you that the transmission fluid should last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. If your transmission fluid has not been changed after your car has traveled this many miles, then it means your fluid is too old and must be replaced. Old transmission fluid leaves varnish debris on the moving components of the transmission. This varnish debris forms after the fluid has gotten too old. If the debris remains on the components, those strange noises are going to be heard, especially if the filters are clogged.

Petroleum-based Transmission Fluid – There are many types of transmission fluids available on the market today. In the old days, there used to only be petroleum-based transmission fluid which would cause varnish deposits to form quickly. It would only take a couple of years for the filters to get clogged and prevent the normal flow of the transmission fluid. If you are still using this type of transmission fluid, then it will cause more heat and friction from the moving components of your transmission. This will mean more unpleasant noises will be heard. Fortunately, the quick solution to this problem is synthetic transmission fluid. Just replace the petroleum-based fluid with the synthetic fluid and then all that nasty debris will be washed away. Synthetic is formulated to have extra amounts of lubrication strength to ensure the components stayed cool.

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Bad Torque Converter – The transmission depends on the torque converter to allow it to shift gears properly. There are needle bearings in the torque converter which may get damaged or worn out after a while. If this were to happen, your transmission will make unusual sounds whenever your driving gear is set. These are often grinding noises which will be annoying to hear. If you set it to the neutral gear, then the sounds will stop. This is a clear indication that you need to replace your torque converter.

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