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Detecting 6 Common Automatic Transmission Problems

There are two types of transmissions that vehicles can be built with. These include either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. If you have any plan for long drive and out of town driving in a remote area and suddenly you realize that the automatic transmission of your vehicle is not working. Now, what is your automatic transmission troubleshooting solution. This kind of situation does not arise all of a sudden. However, your vehicle starts giving enough warning signs well in advance, to detect such failures. For that reason, here are the list of automatic transmission problems.

Some of The Most Common Automatic Transmission Problems

If there is a mechanical problem with your vehicle, it will start giving distinct sound and lack of response from your vehicle. Not only that, It will release unusual smell of the burning fuel. In electrical problem case, the vehicle dashboard might even starts indicating!

If you are noticing something out of place in your vehicle, then you should consider it to be a problem sign.

1. Transmission Fluid Level And Leaks

Low Fluid Levels or Leaks
Always provide regular check on transmission fluid level. (photo source: Mericar)

The most common problem is transmission fluid level check or leak. If you see any liquid red or black in the garage under your vehicle, this could be transmission fluid. Don’t be panic and get your vehicle immediately checked. Auto transmission problems mostly can be avoided by changing the filter and fluid on a timely manner as per manufacturer specification.

 2. Slipping Transmission

Automatic Transmission Problems
Slipping transmission is always a nightmare to drivers. (photo source: fast eddy vision geneva 14456 @ Youtube)

If you are driving in a certain gear and suddenly, the gear automatically shifts to another one. It also appear unusual sound coming from underneath the vehicle. In some cases, your vehicle suddenly starts falling under powered.

It could be a sign of wear and tear in your transmission line. As terrify as it sounds, you need to get your vehicle checked immediately.

3. Electric Component Failure

Automatic Transmission Problems
This is a quite common one in automatic transmission problems list. (photo source: Marjan Laznik/Getty Images)

Imagine while driving home, you detect damage in vehicle speed sensor or some fuse. Feeling bad, right? Yet it can get even worse, since it could be electric component failure.

Of all automatic transmission problems, this may not allow the Electronic circuits to control the transmission. You will a vehicle which cannot work properly. Sadly, your vehicle must be fixed this issue as soon as possible.

4. Broken Flax Plate

Automatic Transmission Problems
The flax plate is easy to check. (photo source: flmmaz/Youtube)

In the list of automatic transmission problems, broken flax plate is the easiest to spot. You can check the flax plate state just by looking.

A broken or damaged flax plate (alternatively called flywheel) will not transferring complete engine power to the transmission.

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5. Gear Shift Lock

Automatic Transmission Problems
You don’t want to parking with first gear, trust me. (photo source: Nissan Owner Channel/Youtube)

Imagine you can only drive on the street in the first gear. Terrible right? In the automatic transmission problems list, gear shift lock is by far the most dangerous. Vehicle goes into the first gear but refuses to shift into another gear. This could be caused by the transmission shift solenoid. It pushes the transmission fluid throughout the system and if it is broken or jammed could result into not transmitting enough power as you drive. When automatic transmission problems shifting gears happens, shift lock release mechanism might be the best solution. Make sure you know how it works.

6. Transmission Overheat

Automatic Transmission Problems
Don’t ever ignore overheating transmission signal. (photo source: M5Board)

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One of automatic transmission problems that require many attentions is overheating transmission. Especially, if u are owning a Toyota car, this is common issue among Toyota automatic transmission problems,

This usually happens due to burnt, dirty or no fluid. Driver should replace this fluid immediately to avoid further damage to the vehicle. Whenever you feel such issues with transmission, you should bring your vehicle to professional vehicle mechanics.


  1. Irap Pururul says

    I have a problem:

    I have Nissan X-Trail 2003/3 model (Auto) and looks it’s not changing gear and still on first gear. When I travel a steep hill, it should change the gear auto but it does not and climbs the hill on the same gear. When Travel on high speed 80-90kph, it gives a high cry from the engine.
    I don’t know what’s happening and need advise as to what’s causing it so I can fix locally asap.

    Many thanks.

  2. Roshan says

    Toyota crown 2008 hybrid ..gear are very smooth when i start my drive when i did nearly gear box start giving trouble. When u speeding gear changes very smoothly.when u slow down and give gas gear doesnt enter it come to neutral then i have to wait few seconds to get enter…it happen when the rpm is in 40 or little less..its really annoyinh when drive fast specialy when over taking pls advice me what to do…toyota company in sri lanka couldnt rectifi the problem it doesnt shows when scanned the vehicel..

    1. Teye says

      My toyota have same problem i want to know if u are able to fix yours

  3. waseem says

    hallo need some information about Toyota Carina 2001 model gearboks liver is free.
    it was on D and i started car normal way butt after thar gearliver is free.. not sign for any Critical info. on the panel.
    somebody know how to reset or is broken?



    I have Toyota Noah 1az fse engine , as I was driving to my town in MUMBWA , I parked my car to drop my wife. After she came out, I engaged the gear to D position but it failed to move forward and I changed to reverse it moves backwards now from that day my car is behaving same thing. Please help me because ATF fluid is at right level. what could be the problem?

  5. Sylvester says

    Which type of engine oil and ATF transmission fluid does a Toyota caldina 7A use?

  6. fereshteh says

    I have some problems with my prado 2017 GXL monitor system. The camera is Ok and shows the surrounding well but other software systems like navigation, usb, etc. don’t play. what can the problem be? I really need your help

  7. Lajo Cymbalski says

    My Nissan is about 10 years old. When I start it sometimes the gear does not connect. Reverse works and when I am going there is no problem. Any suggestions as to what the problem could be.

  8. Ayanda says

    i have a problem with my toyota vitz ,having a problem reversing and there it raves when trying to ingage on the nest gear. i have tried changing oil but it did not work. what could be the problem?

  9. Shawn says

    Hello can someone help with my 96 Subaru legacy it slipped into reverse on accident an now it drives a for a little then stop an act like it in neutral an it’s not an when u shut it off an start it back up it will go for a little again please someone help me

  10. Shawn says

    Can someone help me please I was driving an it slipped into reverse on accident it will drive then stop an act like its in neutral an when u shut it off an start it will move for a little again please can someone help me

  11. Elizabeth says

    Hello, I have a Toyota duet, the gear box failed and I replaced it the new one failed again in a span of 1year ,what could be the cause?

    1. amen amin says


  12. Allan says

    May car is automatic transmission. During inclined or uphill driving i noticed that the power is weak ( it seems that the car cant make it and will stop) then i will shift from D to 3D or 2 just to increase the power.

  13. Tom says

    Can you kindly explain to me where the transmission fluid filler port for Toyota Ractis 2007 model is???.

  14. Thein Myint says

    I am now using Toyota Alphard which is model of 2003/2004.Now I am facing a problem that when I shift the start to drive(D)gear but not responding until half an hour.But raise the engine accleretor two or three time that working D gear shift.Why?How do I fix it?

  15. […] Overheating of the transmission […]

  16. Damijan says

    my Toyota 3.4 V6 4runner used to cut off in motion specially when driving on sandy road for a distance or towing a trailer.. but if I let it cool for more than a hour it drives just well again till it starts after again.. pls help me, what could be the problem.?

    1. NELSON says

      Is it having automatic transmission? the problem could be worn clutch plates that make them sleep.

  17. Chris says

    Got a problem with my automatic yaris,judders badly on setting off when cold,and somtime snatches when its changing gear when warmed up,need to get it fixed.

    1. Dan says

      having the same problems. did you have thid fixed?

  18. Peter says

    Please good people help out. I have an automatic Toyota Runx 1.5 with 1nz vvti engine. While driving it sometimes make a loud knock sound but it’s as if it’s in the gearbox. Sometimes when you come to a complete stop and you take off it struggles to accelerate and later take of with a high speed, and while it’s in high speed it’s charging the gears backs and u can hear a knock in the gearbox. So far I replaced the gearbox 3 times, replace air sensor, knock sensor and cut out the catalytic converter, replaced spark plugs, ignition coils and the throttle body. I also replaced the fuel filter in the tank and changed the computer box(ecu) but the problem is still there. The car doesn’t show any fault code on the diagnostic tool. Please help here is my email

  19. Obasi nnabuike says

    I have Toyota corolla 2007 my car is not accelerating very well and sometimes it picks well while some times it will not. And I have changed my gear oil but still noting works out plz what can I do.

  20. Briston Chirenda says

    I have a toyota vitz 1SZ it is leaking betwn the engine engine and the gearbox the colour of the oil is red wat culd be the problem

  21. Victor says

    i had consistent leakage in my gear oil, care make is Sienna, 98 model. i had replace the oil seal like tw0 times, the problem keep persisting , what should i do?

  22. Harrson says

    I drive a Mitsubishi colt plus 2006 when driving I can’t feel the changing of gears is this normal ? Could the be having problems in changing gears,what could be the problem and solution.

  23. K Singh says

    Hi…we just replaced a broken diff on my 2003 subaru legacy wagon (auto) .the gears are selecting but for some reason there is not enough pressure and the car wont move…what could cause this?

  24. judges Sparks says

    Hi please could you help me? I have a Toyota yaris 2006 model which has a combine automatic and manual transmission. when driving at a point the automatic transmission warning light comes up, if that happens the gear box freezes and the car stops. this mostly happens when the car slows down to say 10-5KM/h or at a complete stop. when that happens I put off the car completely, push the gear to N and then wait for some seconds or a minute for the warning light to disappear after which I start the car and drive. the frequency this time is appauling and I am afraid it can cause something real bad. please what do I do, I have taken the problem to various mechanics to no avail. Please help me.

  25. Modise bashanako says

    i bought a run-x six months ago but its not shifting gears, i change the atf fluids like two times still the problem persists please help.

    1. NELSON says

      Did you put correct fluid type for your gear box? if the fluid wasn’t correct for your transmission, probably you might be already damaged clutch packs of your cars that hold power from engine to car’s tires. so you either need transmission rebuild or buy new gear box.

  26. Igwe prosper says

    TEL. +2349021102723

  27. Tafadzwa Gomwe says

    Hi people. I have a Toyota Mark X 2005 model. It is failing to engage the reverse gear but all front gears are changing and are ok. I changed the gear box but the problem did not end. What cld the cause. Please help

    1. Tafadzwa says

      Have you tried resetting the computer box?

  28. NYanie says

    I am now using Toyota Alphard which is model of 2003/2004.Now I am facing a problem that when I shift the start to drive(D)gear but not responding until half an hour.But raise the engine accleretor two or three time that working D gear shift.Why?How do I fix it?

  29. Stephanie says

    Please, we need your help. Out 18 daughter was driving her 1998 Toyota Camry home. She was at a stop light that was red. Accelerated when light turned green. Car slipped into reverse and she hit the car behind her. Thank God she, her passengers, and the people in other car are alright. However, she now has pain. WHY AND HOW CAN A CAR SLIP OUT OF DRIVE, INTO REVERSE?? This is VERY DANGEROUS.

  30. Navy says

    i am having a problem with my hybrid 1.5, it about the power of my car,it is powerless when it comes to hills,but goes well in flat areas ,pliz any one have a clue or a solution on this issue……plizz

  31. Colin Lambert says

    A transmission is known as the brain of the speed machine. Apart from regulating the engine speed, it transfers the motor’s power to the wheels. Basically, it is a fluid driven component. A small leak the transmission system can make it faulty. A transmission usually gets malfunctioned, when the fluid level goes low. A clogged transmission fluid filter plays a key role in making the transmission system sick and unreliable. That’s servicing the transmission from to time is recommended. And when it comes to servicing vehicle’s transmission system, service it at an authorized car service center.

  32. alex mwiya says

    Your Comment hi my vw polo it has no revese motion after atf in the gearbox what could be a problem

  33. alex mwiya says

    vw polo no motion in revese after changing oil .what can be the problem

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