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5 Most Common Transmission Problems in Lemon Cars

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  August 10, 2023
A blue-shirted man standing underneath a car and working on the transmission.

Are you tired of dealing with frustrating vehicle problems that seem to never go away? If you’ve experienced transmission issues with your car, you’re not alone.

Our experienced California lemon lawyer breaks down the five most common transmission problems that can occur in lemon cars here.


Common Transmission Problems


  1. Leaking Transmission Fluids
  2. Fluid underneath your vehicle or a low fluid level in the transmission are two of the most obvious signs of a faulty transmission. Leaks can occur due to damaged seals, gaskets, or other components in the transmission systems.

    Low fluid levels could lead to further damage and potential engine failure if left unaddressed.


  3. Difficulty Shifting Gears
  4. Trouble shifting gears is another common sign of transmission problems. It can manifest differently depending on the type of transmission your vehicle has.

    For example, grinding noises or resistance when shifting gears may indicate a problem in manual transmissions. On the other hand, you may experience hesitation, jerking, or slipping between gears with automatic transmissions. Worn clutch plates, damaged shift solenoids, or other mechanical failures within the transmission can cause all these issues.


  5. Transmission Overheating
  6. Transmission overheating is a serious problem that can happen for several reasons, such as low fluid levels, a malfunctioning cooling system, or excessive strain from towing heavy loads. Signs of an overheating transmission include burning smells, fluid discoloration, and the vehicle going into limp mode.


  7. Noisy Transmission
  8. Unusual noises coming from the transmission may also indicate underlying problems. These noises tend to include grinding, clunking, whining, or humming sounds.

    • Grinding noises might suggest worn gears or synchronizers in manual transmissions. 
    • Clinking or banging sounds can indicate issues with the torque converter or transmission mouths.
    • Whining or humming noises could be a sign of low transmission fluid or problems with the transmission pump.

  9. Transmission Slipping
  10. A slipping transmission can affect both manual and automatic transmissions. It happens when the transmission fails to maintain a consistent connection between the engine and wheels, resulting in loss of power and an inability to accelerate or maintain speed. A few likely culprits are worn clutch plates, damaged bands, or issues with the transmission fluid pressure.

    If you notice your engine revving without increasing in speed, or if your vehicle feels like it’s driving on a slippery surface, it’s likely experiencing transmission slipping.


What Is the California Lemon Law?

The California lemon law helps those who have bought or leased vehicles with serious or ongoing issues that affect the car’s use, value, or safety. If your transmission problems fit the bill, you might be able to get your vehicle replaced or refunded.

However, to qualify, your transmission issues must have happened while the warranty was active and after a reasonable number of attempts to fix them.


What Is a Reasonable Number of Attempts?

California’s lemon law doesn’t give a specific number of repair attempts that count as reasonable. But, there are situations where a vehicle is considered a lemon if it happens within the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of owning it (whichever comes first):

  • The manufacturer has made four or more unsuccessful attempts to fix the same transmission problem. 
  • There is a transmission issue that could potentially cause death or serious bodily injury, and the manufacturer has made two unsuccessful repair attempts. 
  • The vehicle has been out of service for repairs related to the transmission for a cumulative total of 30 days or more.

Think You Have a Lemon? Contact Our Firm Today!

If you’re experiencing transmission problems and suspect your vehicle may be a lemon, contact our knowledgeable lemon law attorneys at Norman Taylor & Associates. We can provide the guidance and representation needed to resolve your lemon law claim fairly.

Call 818-244-3905 today to schedule a FREE consultation.

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