If your car struggles to shift gears, pops out of gear, or makes grinding noises when you shift, you can be fairly sure there is a problem with your transmission. When you experience problems like these, you shouldn't drive your car as you can cause further damage. Instead, take your car to a transmission shop to have it inspected. Here are some of the options you face.

Fluid Change

Hopefully, the problem is with a simple leak that caused the fluid levels to drop. By repairing the leak and filling the fluid, your problem may be solved. Keep in mind though, the condition of the transmission fluid is usually a symptom of problems rather than the cause of the problems. The fluid level should stay constant and its color should be pink and transparent.

One of the first things the mechanic does when you have transmission trouble is to check the fluid. If it's low, it's a sign of a leak in the system. If it is a dark color, it's a sign the transmission is overheating and burning the fluid. If the fluid is full of tiny metal shavings, that's an indication parts are worn down, and more extensive repairs need to be done.

If changing the fluid alone will fix your problem, it is drained out and replaced with new fluid. Another option is to flush out the transmission. This is a process that forces out all the old fluid and debris in the system so it's clean before new oil is put in.

Transmission Repair

Rebuilding is a common way to repair a transmission. To do this, the mechanic takes your old system apart and cleans and inspects each individual part. The worn pieces are replaced with new parts, so when it's finished, the transmission is good as new. Rebuilding a transmission requires specialized skill, so you may need to take your car to a transmission specialist rather than a general car mechanic to have the work done.

Another option is to replace the transmission. Your mechanic may be able to find a suitable replacement in a car that was totaled in an accident. The used transmission is inspected, and if it is still in good shape, it can be switched out with your old unit. Factory-remanufactured transmissions are another possibility. These are rebuilt from damaged transmissions, but the work is done in a factory in assembly line fashion, and then the transmissions are available for your mechanic to order.

Transmission repair can cost quite a bit of money. You'll need to decide if repairs are worth it based on the age of your car and whether it is still under warranty. Once the repairs are done, be sure to have your car serviced regularly. How often you need to have your transmission fluid changed depends on the climate where you live and the type and amount of driving you do. You can refer to your owner's manual for recommended guidelines for transmission maintenance.

For more information, contact a transmission company like Shiftright Transmissions.