How Do You Know If Your Gearbox Needs Replacing?

There are several factors which determine when your gearbox needs replacing. This includes whether you drive an automatic, semi-automatic or manual vehicle, what make and model you are driving, and the kind of distances and terrain that you regularly encounter. 

Luckily, there are often clear signs that you should replace your gearbox. Knowing what to look out for can save you time and money in the future, as can performing regular maintenance at home. 

Automatic Man are automatic gearbox specialists. We operate honestly and believe that knowledge and understanding are essential when it comes to owning and running your own vehicle. We often get asked, how do you know if your gearbox needs replacing?, and so wanted to answer your questions in one accessible space, to make your life easier.

If you are looking for specific information, we are going to cover the following areas:

What Is A Gearbox?

A gearbox is also known as a transmission, and there are three main kinds: an automatic gearbox, a semi-automatic gearbox and a manual gearbox. The easiest indicator of which kind your vehicle has, is what kind of gear system is inside. 

The gearbox is typically attached to the rear of your engine, and so can be found under the front hood. It is a mechanical unit containing a series of integrated gears. All kinds of gears can make up a gearbox, from wormgears to planetary gears. Again, this is something which depends on its type. They are mounted on shafts and rotated using rolling element bearings.

How Long Should A Gearbox Last?

There is no set time that your gearbox should last. This is because people drive for different distances, in different temperatures and across different terrains. However, if regular servicing and maintenance is performed, you can greatly increase the life of your gearbox. When properly taken care of, it can last more than 300,000 miles.

Repairs, servicing and reconditioning are best carried out by a professional. This is because it is their area of expertise, and something they are highly knowledgeable about. Attempting to carry out such activities yourself could result in damage to your vehicle or injury to yourself. If you’re based in London, Automatic Man provides a free diagnostic session on any automatic vehicle! 

There are a few things that you can do at home to properly maintain your gearbox, and work well when they are done alongside other kinds of routine vehicle maintenance. These are relatively easy to do, and there are often guides available either online or alongside the documents that accompany your vehicle. 

Gearbox Maintenance

  • Warming up the car: especially in winter, it is important that you warm up your engine. As little as 30 seconds is enough, and can make a difference. 
  • Changing the oil: Although you shouldn’t do this too often, changing the oil will lubricate the different components and allow for smoother transitions.
  • Keeping it clean: Make sure your gearbox is contained, and that no water or debris can enter or collect inside. 
  • Checking your fluid level: This can help you to spot any pressing issues that may require a mechanic or technician. Knowing how to top up, drain and refill your fluid can also be really useful. 

These simple methods of gearbox maintenance are both preventative and proactive. They can help to ensure that you don’t need to replace your gearbox earlier than normal, and can reduce the likelihood of you requiring professional services.

Do I Need To Replace My Gearbox?

Unfortunately, even if you take excellent care of your gearbox and perform additional maintenance yourself, issues can still arise that are out of your control. These issues can make replacing your gearbox unavoidable. Failing to do so can result in bigger problems, as your vehicle can pose a danger to both yourself and others on the road. It can also make the problem significantly more expensive.

If you notice any of these signs, you should contact a garage immediately. This is because you may require crucial repairs, or a complete gearbox replacement. These common signs include: 

Strange Noises

If your gearbox is making unusual noises, such as buzzing, clunking or humming, then there may be damage to the gears, or some other internal problem. If these noises are out of the ordinary, it is best to seek advice from, or book an appointment with, your local mechanic.

Burning Smell

A burning smell can be a sign that your fluid is low or leaking. If your fluid is low, you can check and fix the issue yourself; there will be a manufacturer’s guide to your specific vehicle that can provide further instruction. 

If it is leaking, there could be a number of things responsible, such as a gap in your transmission or a broken seal. While it is not immediately dangerous, you should contact a mechanic, as continuing to drive with leaking fluid can create problems further down the road.

Transmission Fluid Leaking

As mentioned above, leaking fluid is a bad sign. It can be especially dangerous if it leaks onto something that it shouldn’t, such as a hot pipe. The safest thing to do, for yourself and those around you, is to seek advice from a qualified mechanic, who can tell you if you should make an appointment.

Failure To Engage

If any of your gears fail to engage, you should have your car towed to a mechanic. It is typically a sign of a larger problem that requires professional repairs. It is most common that a lower gear will fail to engage, but it can happen with the higher gears too.

Feels Different

Once you’ve been driving your vehicle for a few weeks, you begin to develop a good sense of how it normally feels and operates. This means that if your car suddenly doesn’t feel right, there is a good chance that something is wrong. Even if there are no lights on your dashboard, and there isn’t anything obviously different, the best thing to do is to take your car to a mechanic. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

No Power

If your vehicle has no power, and everything else is operating correctly, there could be a problem with your gearbox. To identify the problem, you will need to take your vehicle to a garage where they have the necessary tools to check the trouble codes. Advanced diagnostic software can help to isolate the problem.

Check Engine Light

If the check engine light appears on the dashboard, this does not exclusively indicate a problem with the vehicle’s engine. It can instead suggest numerous problems, including there being something wrong with your gearbox.

Why Choose Automatic Man For Your Automatic Gearbox Repairs?

At Automatic Man, we are automatic gearbox specialists. All of our highly qualified technicians are capable of servicing, repairing and reconditioning automatic gearboxes for all makes and models, from BMWs to Vauxhalls. 

We have over 30 years of experience, which means that we are an established presence throughout London, and have had plenty of time to perfect our service. Your car is guaranteed to receive the highest quality of care, and all customers leave the garage feeling safe and confident on the road.

If you are looking for the best vehicle technicians in London, then look no further than Automatic Man. We are based in Acton, West London, and have customers which come to us from throughout the city. Whether you are seeking general repairs, a complete replacement or specialist advice, we are confident that we can help. 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as a member of our friendly and professional team can’t wait to discuss your needs. Contact us today by calling 020 8740 1020 or emailing info.automaticman@gmail.com