If you were a driver in the 1960s, chances are you were a backyard mechanic or at least acquainted with one who knew exactly what to do if a car’s clutch wore out. Why? As a society, we did more maintenance tasks ourselves, and most vehicles had manual transmissions, making clutch replacement commonplace. Since the mid-to-late-1980s, most cars driven in the United States have automatic transmissions because many opt for what they consider to be an easier, less complicated driving experience. Also, Americans seem to be busier than ever, and fewer people make car repairs at home. If you’re somewhere in between–driving a manual auto but not working on your own car–Dave’s Ultimate Automotive in South Austin, Texas, is here for you.
Since drivers are generally a little less experienced with transmission differences than they used to be, perhaps you’re unsure of how to tell the difference between clutch problems and transmission issues. While we need to check your auto to give a definite answer, some signs may tip you off to trouble with one or the other. Unusual sounds can clue you into clutch trouble. These include chirping or squealing when you engage the clutch, loud noise that accompanies acceleration, grinding sounds, and noises that occur only when the vehicle is neutral (and stop once you depress the clutch). Other signals are difficulty getting the auto into gear and the feeling that the motor is overworking as if trying to go fast when the car isn’t moving at a similar pace.
If your transmission is the problem, however, you will likely experience different symptoms. One indicator could be an illuminated dashboard warning light. Whining, humming, or clunking noises, as well as the sensation of grinding or shaking as your car moves between gears, may also provide clues. Other warning signs include a delay between accelerator depression and vehicle movement or the car’s hesitation to change gears. Also, slipping gears almost surely signal a transmission problem. This occurs when the transmission goes in and out of gear on its own or moves between gears unexpectedly. This can be very dangerous. If you notice a burning odor, it could be an overheating transmission that is burning the fluid. Finally, a transmission leak may reveal itself with a puddle of reddish fluid underneath the auto.
If you need help determining your auto’s issue or if you already know you need clutch repair, rely on Dave’s Ultimate Automotive. We have experience with all makes and models, whether you change your own gears or have a vehicle that does it for you.