Gearboxes in cars are intrinsic to getting anywhere – without one you would only have one ‘gear’ which would severely limit your options in both speed and acceleration. “Why don’t I just need 6th gear? It goes fast enough for motorway driving?” Well have you ever tried taking off for stationary in 6th gear? You need all of the other gears to build up your speed to get to the point where the engine will accept 6th gear!
Gearboxes therefore are a very important component within your car, and actually they are pretty bog too – taking up a lot of space between your engine and cabin, often extending underneath the cabin too. As you might expect, as they are so big and so important, they are pricy and are potentially quite costly to repair.
Anyway, as with any of the blog posts from A1 Clutches the point of this post is to educate you to look out for problems – it is not intended to scare you! We will now take you through the steps to spotting what might be wrong with your gearbox, so you can catch any fault early on.
Please note – Some gearboxes work better when they are colder, so allow yours to warm up before you try to diagnose any issues.
Delays between shifts
Your gearbox is usually crisp between gear changes, you change gear, release the clutch and gear engages immediately allowing you to accelerate in the new gear. It is fairly noticeable when this changes, and the delay is a big giveaway that something is not quite right with your gearbox. The delay could be a sign that your gearbox is getting worn out, which is something you should seek our help on as soon as possible.
Increase in Gearbox Volume
Along with being nice and crisp in the gear changes, they should also be pretty close to silent. They should not be accompanied by a clunk or clang, and if they are then again this is most likely a sign that one or more of your actual gears is worn down. The gear struggles to engage smoothly, hence
the clunk or the dreaded grinding noise – although grinding noises can be heard on a brand new gearbox and are more associated with a rough (read poor) driving style.
Low Fluids causing an issue
Like any system in your car that relies on fluid for lubrication, unfortunately your gearbox can develop leaks. There is a gearbox dipstick you can check to make sure your levels are to the required standard – check yours if you notice any change in your gearbox behaviour. Also check out the colour and consistency of your fluids, it should be clear and there shouldn’t be any flakes in it – if there are then it’s time it was changed.
You are driving along and suddenly the gear slips out into neutral. This is clearly a dangerous situation for you to encounter while driving along. Firstly you lose any engine braking, second you lose control of your speed and acceleration and thirdly you could panic in this situation, making things worse! If you notice your clutch slipping out of gear at any speed or in any gear please make sure you get it checked out at your earliest convenience.
There is always the warning of the engine management light coming on as well – This could be for a LOT of problems with your car though and is not exclusive to your gearbox. While it could be a tiny issue that won’t affect your car very much, it is still highly advisable that you get the ‘check engine’ light seen to, to make sure it is nothing more serious.