Can you drive with a bad transmission?
Procrastination: it’s something we’re all guilty of. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right? But what about your transmission? How long can you drive with a bad transmission?
Car problems always seem to strike at the most inopportune times. If your transmission is acting up, how long can you get by before taking your vehicle into a transmission shop?
You know the feeling. You’ve got a big presentation at work, a big exam coming up, or you’re about to attend your best friend’s wedding where in the ceremony you’ll be the best man. And then your car decides it won’t work. If it’s your transmission that’s the problem, maybe you’ll keep slipping out of gear and into neutral. Maybe you’ll have a struggle just to shift gears at all. Or maybe it will make such a noise that you are afraid to keep driving it. Just your luck, huh?
Except, in many cases, luck had little to do with it. Usually, you had a chance to repair your transmission before, but for one reason or another, you did not. Maybe you were just procrastinating or maybe you did have a good excuse, but that does not change your current situation. Now you have a bad transmission. What will you do?
Very few transmission problems come out of nowhere and instantly render your vehicle inoperable. Usually you have a bad transmission before you have a completely broken transmission.
Can you still drive your transmission if it changes gears roughly? Can you still drive your transmission if you see that it is leaking a little transmission fluid? Can you still drive your transmission if it is making funny noises? Can you still drive your transmission if it keeps slipping out of gear and into neutral?
The answer to all these questions is, usually, yes, though in this last scenario that can be quite dangerous. The truth is you almost always can drive on bad transmission. But for how long? Well, that is up to you.
Driving with a bad transmission is a simple matter of risk analysis. How much are you willing to risk having to get major transmission repairs or even a transmission replacement?
It’s always best to nip small problems in the bud before they become big ones. If you absolutely must drive with a bad transmission, check your transmission fluid first. Topping that up may ease (or even solve) the problem. If you’re really not sure, contact us at Mister Transmission and we might be able to give you an idea of how bad your transmission is. In any event, you want to drive with a bad transmission for as short a time as possible.
What will happen if I run out of transmission fluid?
The transmission fluid prevents the gears in your car from grinding. No transmission fluid means you can damage the gearbox. You probably already know what happens if you run out of engine oil; your engine will have a meltdown. And no, we aren’t using figurative language. Your engine will overheat and damage itself if you continue to try and drive without oil. That is pretty much what will happen to your gearbox if you let your transmission fluid run out as well.
So, can you drive with a faulty transmission? Well, sure. Probably. Until it gets super damaged. Should you? Nope. If you first notice something wrong when your vehicle tries to shift you’ll want to get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as you can.
Is it worth it to fix the bad transmission?
When determining the answer as to how long can I drive with a bad transmission, the first step in determining if it is worth fixing the transmission is to assess the damage. You need to check out what the professional says about your car’s damage – if your car is completely destroyed and your engine still runs, then you could keep your car.
If you are wondering about a rebuilt transmission, this is still a good option that can keep your car running at a high level, although not as high as new transmission. You need to evaluate what your vehicle is worth, and the cost to fix your transmission. You then need to have the repair estimate, the vehicle’s value, and undermine the next step from here.
A used or slave transmission ranges from around $800 to $1500, a rebuilt transmission ranges from $1100 to $2800, and a remanufactured transmission ranges from around $1300 to $3400. The total cost of these services can help you answer the question of how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
The labor to remove and replace a transmission can be quite expensive as well, with the average cost ranging from around $500 to $1200, with the labor taking between 4 to 10 hours of billed time. Despite being expensive, transmission problems should never go unattended and cause further problems. By determining what you need to have fixed in your car, you can answer yourself the question of how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
How to Tell You Have a Transmission Problem
There are a number of ways you can tell whether or not your transmission has a problem. One of the most identifiable signs is through your vehicle’s dashboard. If your engine light is on, this can signal a variety of things, but often times it means there is a problem with the transmission or engine. If you do notice that the engine light is on, make sure that you have the vehicle checked right away.
Another indicator of a bad transmission is when the transmission is not properly shifting into gears. Your vehicle should move from one gear to the next without you even noticing. You should never feel the shift or hear the shift while you are driving. If you can hear or feel the vehicle shifting then there is a problem.
You can also tell the transmission has problems if you notice that the vehicle does not move right away or has trouble getting up to speed. These are two signs that the vehicle is in need of a transmission repair. Your vehicle should not have to work to get up to speed and you should be able to accelerate and the vehicle move down the road.
Signs of transmission failure
When you start to notice signs of a transmission slipping in your car, this means that you have a limited amount of time to fix the issue and keep your car running in smooth condition. If the transmission in your car starts to act up and is not working properly, then it is key to check it fast, either yourself or by a local mechanic. These problems can quickly escalate and cause you to not be able to drive with a bad transmission.
Luckily, there are a few blown transmission symptoms to keep an eye out for that will alert you to when your transmission is going bad or give you information as to how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
Regardless of whether you have an automatic transmission or a manual transmission, both of these systems contain a clutch system that is in charge of separating and changing gears, switching between the gears to let you maintain a high performance by our car. With time, this system can wear down and your transmission system will literally start to slip while changing into the next gear.
Another cause of a slipping transmission is low transmission fluid pressure, caused by low levels of transmission fluid, clogged transmission filters, or a bad pump. These issues will continue to worsen over time, until they reach the point where the transmission will completely cease and not be able to engage at all.
This can provide the answer to the question of how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
As you know by now, various components in the car have their own fluid types and fluid levels, so the transmission has its own fluid to keep it running properly and prevent overheating. The transmission fluid is designed to lubricate and prevent overheating, making sure all of the gears are spinning correctly and smoothly. After the vehicle reaches a high mileage, this transmission fluid can either leak out or burn inside of the transmission.
If you see any fluid leaking under your car, check the fluid to see if it is red in color. If the fluid is red and you notice an unusual smell accompanying the red fluid leak puddle, then this can be a clear sign that your transmission is in need of service. The servicer required is a change of the transmission fluid or adding transmission fluid levels to keep it topped up correctly. If you do not do this, it can lead to a blown transmission.
Transmission warning light
Many cars that are on the market today have various warning lights and sensors that can alert the driver, and even the passengers, to common problems inside of the car. This can prevent the problem from getting worse, and allow you to fix the issue before it turns into a costly replacement. Most of the new cars today have sensors to make sure you do not harm the car, so keep an eye out for any check engine lights that turn on your dashboard.
This check engine light and transmission warning light shows that the transmission fluid is either running too low in the system or it is burning out too quickly, causing the temperature within the transmission system or the engine to rise beyond the normal limit. When the overheating occurs, this can cause the transmission to seize or blow. If you notice that your transmission is going to seize, you need to stop driving before you learn the hard way how long I can drive with a bad transmission.
You might notice that your shifting has become very rough, along with rough engine idling, and the car jerking while accelerating or shifting. The most common cause of hard shifts in your vehicle is low transmission fluid level, so make sure you regularly check your fluid level with the schedule that your mechanic or manufacturer has set forth for your specific car. Jerky shifting can also be caused by too much line pressure, due to a clog or malfunctioning transmission shift solenoid. If the jerking while shifting occurs, you need to ask yourself how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
Transmission fluid leak
Along with the strange smells in your car, the fluid leak accompanies the odor coming from the transmission area. A transmission has its own fluid, as we know, that is designated just for lubrication and preventing overheating of the transmission. The fluid in the transmission is there to lubricate and ensure the gears are spinning smoothly and running together.
If you notice that there is red fluid leaking from under your car or a weird smell, then your transmission will need a quick fluid service as soon as possible. If you do not fix the transmission fluid leak, this can cause a blown transmission. A blown transmission will mean you can’t continue driving your car, answering the question of how long can I drive with a bad transmission.
Grinding or odd sounds
Not just automatic transmission, but both manual and automatic transmission will make strange sounds that can get quite loud when they start to go bad or become damaged over time. If you have a car with automatic transmission, you might hear a sound or some low humming noises, or even buzzing sounds coming from under the hood.