Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

5 Signs Your Car Isn't Shifting Correctly

Shifting Top 5

If your car is not shifting properly, you could end up with very expensive transmission repairs. So, how do you know if your car isn’t shifting the way it should? Watch for these signs to avoid serious transmission trouble.

  1. Warning light comes on: A warning light alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a shifting problem, but if you notice it along with any of the symptoms that follow, you should get it checked out.

  2. Car is shifting hard: The car feels as if it’s reluctant to shift gears the way it usually does, or isn’t shifting smoothly. You might notice a clunking or thudding sound when the car shifts gears, or has difficulty reaching the proper speed.

  3. Gear changes for no reason: If you’re driving a manual transmission in a certain gear, and the car suddenly changes gear with no action on your part, or if it suddenly slides into neutral in an automatic, you have a shifting problem. You might notice a whining sound or a change in the usual sound from your engine when this happens.

  4. Fluid leak: If you’re having trouble shifting, it could be something as simple as a transmission fluid leak. Usually, transmission fluid shouldn’t leak, and if you see a puddle of fluid under your car, that can be a sign of a clogged filter or a loose plug. Transmission fluid is clear red, and has a slightly sweet smell.

  5. Delayed engagement: Your car waits for a bit before going into drive and moving forward. You’ve pushed the clutch pedal down, brought it up to the point where the gears should engage and move your car forward, but there’s a pause before the vehicle moves. Even if you rev the engine, there’s still a delay.

Any indication that your car is not shifting properly should be dealt with immediately. You might have a simple issue that can be repaired inexpensively, but if you wait too long you could end up with serious transmission trouble and have to pay to repair or even replace your transmission. Be sure to contact a mechanic to check your transmission fluid and other parts of the transmission system as soon as you experience any shifting problems.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...


Related questions

Q: Rough shifting when the engine is hot on a 2002 VW Golf 4 TDI

If it's having a problem with shifting, obviously there's a problem in the transmission system somewhere. Find a mechanic who has a VAG-COM or similar dealer-level computer for VW's and have them run a full transmission test on that car....

Q: How Long Does a Transmission Filter Last?

Most transmission filters are designed to filter the transmission fluid of metal particles from normal wear of a transmission. The filter is made from a paper filter media or a fine metal mesh screen. Some filters are an external screw-on...

Q: Rransmission slipping causing check engine light to come on hard shifting when warm only first gear is harsh

Hello. From what you describe it would appear that your vehicle may be experiencing some mild to serious transmission issues. If the Check Engine Light is on I would recommend retrieving the trouble codes, as they will likely shed some...