(780) 573-7676


There were
34.3 million registered vehicles driving the roads of Canada in 2017. One-third of vehicles that are 3 years old or more will break down within the next 12 months.

Dead batteries and flat tires are two of the most common causes of breakdowns, both in cars and heavy-duty trucks. But transmission trouble is also a common problem. Transmission symptoms are easy to identify if you know what to look for.

What Does Your Transmission Do?

Your transmission’s job is to ensure the right amount of power gets to your wheels. This allows you to drive at certain speeds. When you switch gears, either with an automatic or 
manual transmission, you’re changing how much power is being delivered to your wheels.

Your transmission is a vital piece of your heavy-duty truck. When transmission problems go unfixed, they can lead to expensive repairs for your vehicle.

8 Transmission Symptoms to Look Out For

Take your truck in for regular maintenance to diagnose potential problems. In the meantime, here are 8 transmission symptoms that indicate there’s a problem.

1. Strange or Alarming Noises
When your truck shifts, you might hear a strange squeaking noise. There could also be a loud thudding or clanking sound.

This is usually an indication that your transmission fluid is low. When your fluid is low, you suffer a loss of hydraulic pressure that disrupts the rhythm of the shifting’s timing. This pressure must be just right to achieve a smooth transition and this can occur in both automatic and manual shifting vehicles.

If you let your fluid remain low for too long, it can damage your transmission. This may require you to buy new parts to fix your heavy-duty truck. It can also lead to breakdowns.

2. A Delay in Shifting
If you’re your truck’s RPMs suddenly jump when you shift gears, it means there is a delay. This could indicate that your transmission fluid is low.

A delay may or may not be accompanied by strange noises. If you feel a delay when you’re shifting gears, don’t wait until you start hearing sounds. Bring your truck in for maintenance immediately.

3. Grinding Gears
Grinding gears are some of the most common signs of transmission trouble. This may occur if you try to put your truck into gear without using the clutch. If you are using the clutch and you still feel grinding, it means there’s a problem.

Once again, grinding gears are an indication that your transmission fluid is low. You may be able to refill this fluid on your own. However, you may want to bring your truck to a shop to make sure there isn’t any damage.

4. Popping Out of Gear
If your truck is shifting erratically or shifting on its own, you should stop driving it immediately. This can be dangerous out on the road, especially on the highway.

For example, if your truck pops in to neutral unexpectedly, you could lose momentum. This could cause you to slow down quickly, without any warning to vehicles behind you. This problem is a common cause of transmission-related car accidents.

If your transmission is popping out of gear, don’t drive your truck to the shop. Call a heavy-duty tow truck instead.

5. Fluid Leaks
If you see fluid where it isn’t supposed to be, there’s something wrong. It may not be your transmission, but it could be the culprit.

There are several types of fluid in your vehicle: fuel, motor oil, coolant, power steering fluid, and brake fluid, for example.

Transmission fluid typically is amber for manual transmissions and red for automatic transmissions. The darker it is, the dirtier is. If your transmission fluid is a light pink, it could mean there is water in your transmission.

Meanwhile, coolant is typically red or green. Motor oil is dark brown. Brake fluid is clear but with a yellow tint.

Other fluids may vary in colour. Regardless, if there is fluid leaking from your vehicle, one of your components requires repair. You should take it into the shop for an inspection.

6. Dashboard Warning Lights
It’s common for drivers to ignore the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light. It’s the last thing you want to see when you get in your tuck to start the day. But ignoring this warning could cause serious damage to your vehicle.

Your dashboard warning lights are there for a reason. There are sensors throughout your vehicle to detect problems. Your vehicle even has an onboard computer to regulate and interpret them.

If your dashboard light is on, it could indicate any number of problems. But it’s also one of the easiest transmission symptoms to identify. Take your truck in for a checkup if you see a warning light.

7. The Smell of Burning
A burning smell can mean several different things. For example, you may have a plastic bag stuck in your engine or your heating system could be broken. Regardless of the cause, it indicates a serious problem.

If it is a problem with your transmission, it usually occurs because your transmission is overheating. Overheating is the cause of most transmission problems.

Overheating can occur because your fluids are low or because your fluids are old and need to be replaced. There could also be a transmission fluid leak.

8. Overheating
Your transmission could be overheating even if there isn’t a burning smell coming from your car. If your fluid levels aren’t low and your fluid isn’t burnt or old, you could have a problem with your solenoids.

The solenoid is an electrical component that regulates how much fluid is passed on to your transmission. When it malfunctions, it could prevent the right amount of transmission fluid from reaching your transmission. This causes the same overheating effects as low fluid levels.

If your solenoid is malfunctioning, it may need to be replaced. But sometimes, it just needs to be rewired.

Get Your Heavy-Duty Truck Serviced in Bonnyville, Alberta Today

Overdrive Heavy Duty is a family owned business based in Bonnyville, Alberta. We specialize in heavy-duty truck repair and provide quality parts for trucks.


If you are experiencing any of these transmission symptoms, give us a call at 780 573-7676 or contact us online to make an appointment.

We understand that your truck is part of your livelihood. We’ll help you diagnose your problem and get you back on the road as soon as possible.