Is My Transmission Failing or Am I Just Being Paranoid?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertIs My Transmission Failing or Am I Just Being Paranoid?
Evelyn Martin asked 7 months ago
I'm seeking advice regarding my 2003 Isuzu Rodeo with an automatic transmission. Recently, I've noticed some concerning issues:
  1. The gear shifts feel more noticeable than usual.
  2. It takes longer for the car to shift gears.
  3. The gear lever feels stiffer when moving from P to R and D.
  4. At speeds of 25-35 MPH, when I try to accelerate, the car doesn’t speed up as expected.
I've had no observable fluid leaks, but I'm not very mechanically inclined. The car was recently in for brake work and a leak, which was initially thought to be transmission fluid but turned out to be a power steering fluid leak. I'm worried about the financial implications if my transmission is failing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 7 months ago
Hi there, Evelyn! It's understandable to be concerned about potential transmission issues, especially given your car's age and symptoms. Here's a breakdown of what might be happening, from what I can tell based on your explainer and description:
  1. Noticeable Gear Shifts: This could indicate wear in the transmission but isn't necessarily a sign of imminent failure. Transmissions in older vehicles often become more perceptible in their shifts.
  2. Delayed Shifting: This might be due to low transmission fluid or a clogged filter. However, it could also be a sign of wear in the transmission's internal components.
  3. Stiff Gear Lever: This issue is likely related to the linkage or cable that connects the lever to the transmission, rather than the transmission itself.
  4. Lack of Acceleration: This could be a sign of slipping gears, a serious transmission issue, but it might also be an engine performance problem.
Given your financial constraints, here are a few steps you can take:
  • Check the Transmission Fluid: Ensure it's at the correct level and look at its color. Dark or burnt-smelling fluid indicates a problem.
  • Observe the Tachometer: If the RPM increases without a corresponding increase in speed, this could indicate slipping.
  • Seek a Professional Opinion: When possible, have a trusted mechanic inspect the transmission. Some shops offer free or low-cost diagnostics.
Remember, it's hard to accurately diagnose transmission issues without a hands-on inspection. Be wary of assuming the worst; some problems might be simpler and less costly than a full transmission replacement. I hope that answers your question! Best Regards, Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team