Northwest Metro Denver

3686 W. 72nd Ave
Westminster, CO 80030
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 421-4140

(303) 421-4140

Southwest Metro Denver

SE Corner Mississippi & Pierce
1194 S. Pierce
Lakewood CO 80232
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 922-4102

(303) 922-4102

Lakewood 303-922-4102

Westminster 303-422-4140

When Should I Visit a Transmission Shop?

When Should I Visit a Transmission Shop?

Something just isn’t right with your car. You can feel it. There are some other noises and weird symptoms, too. It can be hard to know where to go to get it diagnosed correctly, and who to trust to do the job right. It’s normal to wonder, how should I know when to take the car to my mechanic? Or, when should I visit a transmission shop?

Auto repairs can be expensive, and no one wants to take their vehicle to the wrong shop. If you call and ask, a quality shop will tell you if the symptoms you describe are engine related or transmission related.

Even better is if you know which symptoms lead to engine repair and which mean a transmission repair is needed. 

Symptoms of Engine Problems

These symptoms are good indicators that you should be taking your vehicle to your mechanic for evaluation. When you get there, make sure you tell them any sounds, leaks, smells, when and how often they happen, and when they began. Then, take a seat while they look at your car, and be patient.

Backfire: It sounds so much like a gunshot, you might actually duck and look around. It comes from the engine or tailpipe.

Bottoming: When going over bumps, it might feel like the bottom of your vehicle hit and scraped along the ground, creating noise inside the car and/or vibration in the steering wheel.

Bucking: This one is tough as it can be a symptom for both, happening when the engine hesitates or when the transmission slips gears. Lurching of the vehicle when this happens is more likely to mean it’s an engine problem.

Dieseling: When the engine continues to run for a short time after the car has been turned off.

Hesitation: When you accelerate and the car loses power for a moment, then returns.

Knocking: A fast rattle when accelerating.

Misfire: A quick pause or hesitation when one or more engine cylinders don’t fire correctly.

Shimmy: A side-to-side motion felt inside the car, through the tires or steering wheel.

Sluggish: When your car feels tired and doesn’t want to accelerate smoothly or confidently.  In some cases, this can be transmission-related if shifts are not timed correctly.  In other cases, it could be a clogged exhaust system.

Surge: When your car increases speed significantly without warning.

Symptoms of Transmission Problems

While it’s certainly possible to misdiagnose car symptoms and take your vehicle to the wrong place, reputable shops will redirect you if it’s not something they do. However, if you go to a general mechanic and they diagnose a transmission problem, you should then take your vehicle to a transmission repair shop rather than risk a sub-par repair job because the shop didn’t specialize in transmissions.

Below are common symptoms of transmission problems that will help guide you if your car is having transmission trouble. If you have any of these problems, take your vehicle to a reputable transmission shop right away.

Odd Shifting Habits: erratic shifts, skipping gears or being stuck in limp/safe mode can all point to a transmission issue. The problem could be either mechanic or electronic.  It can also be a product of low or deteriorated fluid.

Burning Smell: If something smells like it’s burning, and you see no flames, chances are good it’s your transmission fluid overheating and breaking down. 

Delay or No Response When Put in Gear: If your car doesn’t respond when you shift it into drive or reverse, or if there is a long delay before it responds.

Grinding or Shaking: Grinding or shaking while in gear, or when shifting gears, is not normal transmission behavior.

Low or Leaking Transmission Fluid: If you’ve seen a liquid on your garage floor or driveway where you park that is bright red or a dirty brownish-red, it probably means you have a transmission fluid leak.  Some makes and models use transmission fluids that are other colors such as blue or even clear. 

Makes Weird Noises: Weird noises such as whining, humming, clunking when driving or a car that is clunking or noisy while in neutral are not normal.

Slipping Gears: If your vehicle feels like it’s slipping in and out of gear, and you must give it gas to get it back in gear, or switch between neutral and drive to get it to engage, that time while it’s not responding can seem like an eternity and it’s scary. This can be a safety issue; don’t ignore it.

Additional Considerations

How often should I have my transmission inspected to avoid sudden failures?
It’s wise to proactively schedule transmission inspections, aligning with your vehicle’s maintenance guide, typically every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. This foresight can prevent unexpected failures, ensuring your car remains reliable and roadworthy.

Can driving habits influence the frequency of transmission problems?
Adjusting your driving habits, such as avoiding harsh acceleration and ensuring proper gear usage, can markedly extend your transmission’s lifespan. Conscious driving not only reduces wear but also decreases the likelihood of frequent repairs.

What are the cost benefits of early transmission problem detection versus emergency repairs?
Addressing transmission issues at the onset is invariably more cost-effective than deferring until an emergency repair is needed. Early intervention can avert extensive damage, keeping your vehicle’s maintenance economically manageable over time.

We Can Help You!

If you are in the southwest Denver, Colorado, area, come in to Advanced Transmission Center in Lakewood, while those in the northwest metro area of Denver, should come to our location in Arvada/Wheat Ridge. We specialize in servicing automatic and manual transmissions, differentials, and four-wheel drive, in addition to our popular transmission power flushing service.

Westminster – Northwest Metro Denver: (303) 421-4140
Lakewood – Southwest Metro Denver: (303) 922-4102

Owner at Advanced Transmission Center | Website | + posts

Advanced Transmission Center is a Colorado-owned and operated auto repair shop with locations in Denver / Lakewood and Westminster. ATC specializes in driveline issues such as automatic transmission repair, four wheel drive repair, clutch replacement, differentials, manual transmissions and CVT. As Colorado's first AAA approved shop our goal is to provide accurate, timely service with exceptional customer satisfaction. All of our technicians are certified in the latest makes and models and we are one of the few transmission repair shops with a nationwide warranty.

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Our Commitment to You

Free towing is just one of the ways we strive to save you money on a major in-house repair such as a transmission rebuild. With our thorough TrueTest™ Inspection process, you will fully understand what is wrong with your car and only pay for the repairs you need.
Every transmission repair should start with a thorough and accurate diagnosis of the problem. Our multi-step TrueTest inspection procedures have been designed over decades to identify whether a minor repair can fix your issue or if a major repair is required.
We can turn around a transmission repair in as little as 2 days with our fast services! Our in-house rebuild department, expert technicians and strong vendor relationships help us get vehicles fixed ASAP. It also helps to have two local repair shops with identical operating procedures and quality standards.
After a major repair, you can take a breath and know Advanced Transmission Center has your back! We offer various warranty options (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, local or nationwide) and make sure any warranty claim is hassle-free for our customers.

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