My Car Isn’t Shifting Gears Like it’s Supposed To

We hate to say it, but if your car isn’t shifting gears like it’s supposed to, you have a problem with your automatic transmission. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Ideal Automotive can repair your transmission if it is going bad. Aside from your gears not shifting like they’re supposed to, which we will discuss in greater detail below, we are also going to list the other signs of transmission problems.

Gear Trouble

Gear trouble can include anything from your vehicle refusing to go into gear to slipping out of gear. You may find it impossible to get your transmission to go into reverse or drive. If you can get it into gear, it may not shift through the gear cycle properly and skip gears. It could also slip out of gear and go into neutral while you are driving or refuse to shift the gears even though it is in gear.

Hot/Burning Smells

You may also detect hot or burning smells coming from underneath your automobile if your transmission is having problems. This is a sign that the transmission is overheating. The most common cause of this is low transmission fluid or transmission fluid that is too old to do its job. It’s important to have your transmission fluid changed every 30,000 miles to prevent this from happening.

Humming in Neutral

If you suspect that your transmission is having problems, park your car while it is idling and put it in neutral. Listen for strange sounds such as humming. If you hear humming noises, this is a sign that you are having transmission problems.

Fluid Leaks

Another problem with the transmission can be fluid leaks. The transmission fluid can leak out of the seals and gaskets in the system, as well as the transmission pan and torque converter. It’s important to have transmission fluid leaks repaired as soon as possible to avoid low transmission fluid levels and the overheating discussed above.


Your transmission should not make strange noises when it shifts gears. If it grinds or squeals, there is a problem with the transmission that could be attributed to low transmission fluid or internal mechanisms that are wearing down.


Gear shifts should also be smooth. Your vehicle shouldn’t shake and you shouldn’t hear and feel your transmission “clunk” into gear. If it is doing this, you’ve got transmission problems.

Check Engine Warning

Finally, the transmission does not have a dashboard warning light so the engine control module will turn on the check engine light if the transmission is having problems. Check engine warnings should be taken seriously because studies show they are accurate nearly all of the time.

As we said above, Ideal Automotive in Blaine, MN, can fix your transmission. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

Photo by michaelmjc from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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