Cash Emergency Bible: Common gearbox failures and how to identify and fix them

Cash Emergency Bible: Common gearbox failures and how to identify and fix them
May 2, 2018 Lauren Howells

Gearbox failure? Common issues and how to identify them

For many of us, our car is our only way to get to work and take our children to school. A gearbox failure can put a serious spanner in the works.

When we hear the words ‘gearbox failure’, our immediate reaction is likely to be of one of dismay, as repairs can sometimes be costly. Plus, if your gearbox stops working, your car will be out of action.

Here, we will take a look at how to identify if you have some of the more common gearbox problems. Although the repairs should usually be left to the professionals, it can help if you can spot and identify a problem and get a professional to fix it, before it gets any worse.  

Gearbox failure: Is your transmission fluid leaking? 

Are your gears slipping or is your clutch making a grinding type of noise? Experience either of these things and you could find yourself worrying that an expensive gearbox failure is imminent.

However, although it could be something else, these ‘symptoms’ are both signs of a transmission fluid leak. 

This is one of the most common problems that could eventually lead to gearbox failure, if not spotted and repaired in time.

Luckily, a transmission fluid leak is usually relatively cheap and simple to repair.

Transmission fluid is red in colour and looks oily. It also smells quite like petroleum.

If it is leaking, you may see it pooling under your car.

Leaks can be caused by a number of different factors. If you take your car to a garage, they should be able to identify the cause of a leak.

Sometimes, it may just be loose bolts that need to be tightened in your gearbox system. If you are confident you know what you are doing, you may be able to do this yourself. 

Alternatively, eroded parts may need to be replaced by a professional.

Hearing a whining noise when you change gears? 

If you hear a whining noise (or indeed any other type of unusual noise) when you are changing gears, this may be an indication that there is a problem with your clutch. If this is the case, you will find it challenging to change gears, too.

This could be anything from your clutch needing to be slightly adjusted, to a worn clutch plate which may need to be replaced.

Alternatively, your transmission fluid may need to be changed (see above).

If you have the necessary knowledge, this could be something that you could repair yourself. Otherwise, it is best to take your car to a garage, so that a professional can undertake any necessary repairs.

Gearbox failure? Common issues and how to identify them

My gears are slipping. Is this a sign of gearbox failure?

If your gears are slipping, this is something that needs to be repaired urgently. This is because it can be unsafe to drive a car with slipping gears.

This is not, however, always a sign of gearbox failure. It could simply be that your transmission fluid is not at the right level. Alternatively, some parts may be worn out and may need to be replaced.

Prevention is better than cure 

As one of the most common gearbox problems is to do with transmission fluid, it is important to make sure that your transmission fluid is changed when necessary (check your car’s manual) and any leaks are repaired as soon as possible.

On some cars, you can check the transmission fluid level yourself. However, this is not possible on many cars and you will need to take your car to the garage and have a professional check for you.  

Slipping gears or strange noises do not always mean gearbox failure

It is reassuring to know that if your gears are slipping or you can hear a strange grinding noise, this does not necessarily mean the dreaded, costly gearbox failure. 

Most of the time, it is simply a problem with transmission fluids.

However, if costly repairs are necessary to get your car back on the road, it can sometimes be difficult to find the money at such short notice, especially if you do not have any savings.

If you need your car for work, getting the repairs done becomes even more urgent.

If you are struggling to find the cash, you could ask a friend or family member for help.

Alternatively, you could look into taking out a short-term loan.

Short-term or payday loans are designed for use in emergency situations, as some lenders may be able to get the money into your bank account in as little as one hour if you are approved.  

As with any type of financial product, it is vital to ensure that you can comfortably afford to pay back anything that you borrow.