Powertrain Problems

One of the most important systems in your car is the powertrain. This complicated machine is what provides power to your vehicle, allowing it to move down the road. If you’re having a problem with your powertrain, you’ll want to get it looked at right away. At Stan McNabb Chevrolet, you’ll find an expert team of service technicians that can help you keep your powertrain in tip-top shape. Let’s go over a few of the reasons you should have your powertrain looked at and why it’s important to maintain this system.

The Powertrain System

suburbanYour car’s powertrain system consists of the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. If you provide adequate care for the individual components of your powertrain system, your vehicle will always perform as the manufacturer intended. In order to maintain this system, oil changes, filter replacements, and spark plug swaps, among other things, will need to be done routinely.

If you notice that your vehicle is overheating, shaking, emitting unusual sounds, or handling differently as you drive, it’s a sign that there’s a problem with your powertrain. Here’s a more detailed look at what these symptoms mean for your vehicle.

Check Engine Light

One of the most helpful tools in your car is the check engine light; it alerts you when there’s a problem with your engine and can, in some cases, alert you to issues before they become a problem. Bear in mind though, this tool is only able to indicate that there is a problem and could signal that something is wrong with either your drivetrain or your transmission.

Never ignore your check engine light, even if you don’t notice anything wrong with the way your vehicle is driving. Detecting powertrain problems early on not only saves you money, but it also ensures that your car has a much longer lifespan.

Grinding and Shaking

The automatic transmission in your vehicle should always transition smoothly when shifting gears, without any slipping, grinding, or shaking. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, your transmission may be the cause, and it’s time to bring it in to the professional service team at Stan McNabb Chevrolet. Even if the problem seems fairly small, over time, these symptoms will only get worse, and delaying service to your vehicle can end up costing you quite a large chunk of change.

No Engagement

If your car fails to engage immediately after you’ve put it into drive or reverse, it could signal that there’s a problem with your transmission fluid. Typically, failure to engage while in gear is a result of transmission fluid that has lost its protective properties over time. If your mechanic confirms that this is the problem, a simple fluid exchange should take care of the issue.

Now, these symptoms could also be the result of a computer system issue. If you suspect that this may be the case, you can try having the battery disconnected and reset. A qualified transmission mechanic can do this for you and confirm whether or not something more serious is going on under the hood.

Whining and Clunking

You may have a problem with your transmission if your vehicle suddenly emits whining or clunking noises. Sometimes, noises coming from your transmission can be related to the breakdown of the automatic transmission fluid. This fluid serves the vital role of keeping your car’s gears and other components lubricated.

As this fluid ages, there is an increase in friction. This friction is what causes damage to your car’s transmission system. The clunking noises may be coming from the transmission, and if that’s the case, an internal part of your transmission might be on the verge of giving out. You’ll need to call your mechanic so they can inspect it as soon as possible.

Burning Smell

You should never be able to smell a burning scent coming from your car. If you do, the smell could be coming from overheated fluid. If the transmission fluid has reached this point of degradation, you could be looking at a complete transmission breakdown.

Of course, the smell could also just be the result of a low level of transmission fluid, which could be caused by a leak. In short, if you pick up whiffs of something burning coming from your powertrain, it’s time to bring the car in for an inspection — before you’re faced with a much larger problem. 

Gears Slipping

If you notice that your car is slipping out of gear, this is a very serious safety concern, and you should get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. You are likely facing an issue with your car’s computer. The computer in your car tells the transmission when it needs to shift between gears. If the gears are slipping, it indicates that the computer and transmission systems aren’t communicating properly.

Leaking Transmission Fluid

The pooling of red fluid on your driveway is never a good sign. That liquid is the automatic transmission fluid. If your transmission fluid is leaking, you could be facing some serious issues with your transmission. The leak may not look very intimidating, but doing nothing will have disastrous results. Taking action is your best step, as, on some occasions, fixing a leak simply means replacing a gasket or hose. A repair like this is much simpler if you catch it early on. If you suspect that you’re losing transmission fluid, take a look under your car, and then call your mechanic immediately if you see any red fluid on the ground.

We at Stan McNabb Chevrolet of Columbia hope this information has helped empower you to take charge of your car’s care. As you’ve read, most powertrain issues can seem insignificant at first but have the potential to become a real financial headache if they’re ignored. If you think your car is displaying some of the symptoms we covered, schedule an appointment with our service department. We look forward to getting you back out on the open road.

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