Car Mechanic Inspecting a TransmissionYour new car should be pretty close to perfect. No matter what a dealership or mechanic says to you about a “breaking in” period, your car should run smoothly right off the lot and every component should work perfectly. If you feel that something is not right, you should take it back to the dealer immediately and begin keeping a repair record. This holds especially true for the engine and transmission.

Signs of Automatic Transmission Trouble in Your New Car

A new car will take a little getting used to. It won’t drive exactly like your old car and you will have to get a feel for what is normal. However, one thing you should be able to count on is smooth shifting and reliable acceleration. If you are not getting this, there may be a problem with your transmission. According to Consumer Reports, new car owners are reporting more transmission problems in recent years as manufacturers try to get better fuel economy from their engines with new transmission technology. Reports of rough shifting or getting stuck in a gear plague some new nine-speed transmissions. Other signs of transmission problems include:

  • Fluid leaks. If you notice fluid on your driveway or in your garage, you may have a transmission leak. Unlike motor oil, your transmission does not use up the fluid in its components, so it should not have to be replenished. If you are losing transmission fluid, you have a problem.

  • Warning lights. Never ignore a warning light. These sensors will recognize vibrations and early transmission problems that you may not be able to feel or see. Don’t attempt to determine the cause of the warning yourself. With a new car, always take it to the dealer for evaluation.

  • Strange smells. If a transmission is running hot, it will burn the fluid and you will notice the smell. This should never happen with a new car. As soon as you notice a burning odor, take the car in.

  • Delayed response. An automatic transmission should shift smoothly so that there is no delay in acceleration. However, if you notice a hesitation in shifting when you press the accelerator, there is likely a problem with the transmission.

The first time you notice one of these problems, take the car in for troubleshooting. Under Virginia’s Lemon Law, you will only have 18 months to document three or more repair attempts for the same problem and file a claim in court.  Particularly with a transmission problem, if the car has a problem from the start, it is likely to become a persistent issue. If this is the case, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement of the vehicle.


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