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Grinding noise while shifting Inspection Service

The choice between a manual and automatic transmission by a car owner comes down to issues of convenience, fuel economy, and cost. Both transmission choices come with their own set of advantages, disadvantages, and potential issues. Typically, drivers who have a manual transmission are more likely to encounter a grinding noise than drivers with automatic transmissions. On vehicles with a manual transmission, the clutch and gear synchronizers wear out over time, which may lead to a grinding sound or sensation when shifting between gears.

How this system works:

Both manual and automatic transmissions allow a driver to control how much power an engine uses. When driving in a vehicle with a manual transmission, the driver must manually engage the clutch to switch between gears, allowing for more or less power depending on whether the driver shifts up or down. When a driver tries to shift the car without engaging the clutch, the transmission produces a grinding sound. A vehicle may also produce a grinding sound if the clutch has gone bad or if the gear synchronizers have worn out. Automatic transmissions do not require driver interaction to change gears except between forward, backward, and neutral motion. As an automatic transmission ages, the gear changes may not be as smooth and the car make shake in between gears.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Forgetting to Engage Clutch: A grinding noise does not always signal an imminent problem. Inexperienced and experienced drivers alike occasionally forget to engage the clutch when shifting. When a driver attempts to shift while the clutch is not engaged, the car produces a grinding noise.

  • Worn out Clutch: Over time, a vehicle’s clutch can wear out causing a grinding noise and sensation. City driving and excessive use can cause the clutch to wear out sooner.

  • Worn out Gear Synchronizers: Gear synchronizers can also wear out over time. Gear synchronizers allows a gear to match speed when engaged to avoid having to “double-clutch” while shifting. The teeth on the synchronizer can wear down, causing a grinding noise when shifting.

  • Chipped Gear Teeth: On vehicles with automatic transmissions, the teeth of each gear may chip over time, making a grinding noise. Usually, when automatic transmissions begin to fail, the driver will notice some hesitation or shaking when the vehicle is shifting gears.

What to expect:

A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the cause of the grinding noise. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report outlining the problems with the clutch and transmission including the cost of any repairs that need to be made.

How it's done:

A mechanic will first determine what repair if any needs to be completed. By using a code reader/scanner and checking engine warning lights, the mechanic can get a better idea of specifically what is going on inside your transmission. If the clutch needs to be repaired or replaced, the mechanic will start by removing the vehicle’s transaxle. With the clutch now exposed, the mechanic will inspect the flywheel and clutch to see if there is any damage. The mechanic will then replace the clutch and flywheel if necessary.

If the mechanic suspects the issue may be with the gear synchronizers, the transmission may have to be rebuilt or replaced. With an automatic transmission, the mechanic will inspect and may have to replace the torque converter clutch.

How important is this service?

Any unusual noises coming from your vehicle’s clutch or transmission should be addressed immediately by a mechanic. Paying attention to warning lights and unusual noises can help limit potential damage to your vehicle and may save you money when repairing your vehicle. Letting your mechanic know about any noises or sensations you may have observed could help him or her better identify the problem and begin the necessary repairs.

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