Transmissions are prone to several problems, especially if with heavy use or low levels of maintenance. If your transmission is having difficulties, check whether any of the following symptoms occur.
If you have a Trailblazer, you may have encountered one of the common transmission problems that occur with many transmissions. These problems may include the following:
- Clutch Problems
- Transmission Fluid Leaks
- Worn or damaged Torque Converters
- Worn or damaged Gears
- Solenoid Damage
Let’s find out what to look for and how to troubleshoot problems you may encounter with your trailblazer transmission.
What to Look for?
Common transmission problems include:
|Clutch Problems||When the engine doesn’t shift into gear while driving, this could indicate a problem with the clutch. You may experience grinding and shaking when using the clutch.|
|Transmission Fluid Leaks||Low fluid level or thickening of transmission fluid can cause shifting problems. Slipping out of the particular gear suddenly while driving, especially if the engine slips into neutral, may mean the clutch disc may be worn and need to be replaced. Low fluid can cause a number of issues. |
Transmission fluid is responsible for the bumping noise in neutral gear. To help this, add or change the fluid. Noisy transmission in neutral could also be caused by the Worn bearings, gear teeth, or the reverse idler gear.
|Worn||If you feel and hear grinding or brushing sounds when driving, this may mean that there is a torque converter problem. Worn or damaged torque converter needle bearings may cause transmission damage or failure or cause the transmission to make strange noises when operating in different driving gears.|
|Gears & Damaged Torque Converters||Sometimes, gears can also wear and get damaged, likely from low fluid or extreme operating conditions if you experience troubles while in gear or strange noises, your gear may be worn or damaged.|
If you hear noises that stop when you are in neutral, your torque converter may be the problem and may need replacement or to be fixed.
|Solenoid Damage||Gear slippage or slow shifting are symptoms of solenoid problems and may also signify the transmission has low fluid levels. If you don’t have any leaks, it indicates there may be damage to the solenoid, which may be caused by low fluid levels or electrical problems.|
When looking for leaks, you’ll usually want to check the gasket seals or input and output fluid ports.
Automatic Transmissions of the Trailblazer
Automatic transmissions will not have a clutch which can eliminate some of the issues you may face with your transmission. An automatic transmission will encounter similar issues to a manual transmission depending on fluid levels and temperature extremes. What to look for:
- Make sure the correct levels of fluid are maintained.
- Fluid may leak through worn seals in the transmission, torque converter, and lines too and from the transmission.
- If the radiator coolant somehow mixes with the transmission fluid, problems can occur. Fluid problems can cause the gears to slip and the vehicle to shift irregularly or slowly.
- A solenoid valve controls the flow of fluid through a system and, if damaged, will disrupt the flow of fluid in the transmission, and the gears may not shift or work properly.
- Operating the vehicle when the transmission fluid is low may damage the valve. It may also not work correctly when there are electrical problems. Vehicles that do not shift properly, even when fluid levels are full, are usually experiencing solenoid valve problems.
- It uses a clutch in the torque converter. It sometimes causes jamming and locking of the solenoid valve. The problem initially seems like a low fluid problem, but eventually, there is a loss of power.
Manual Transmissions of the Trailblazer
Manual transmissions use a clutch, and shifting is done by the driver. A manual transmission will encounter similar issues to that an automatic transmission but may need less work overtime when kept up. What to look for:
The major culprit of all transmission failures has to do with the fluid. Old, burnt, thick, or low fluid can eventually break your transmission.
Check the transmission fluid at least two times a year to prevent possible problems. Older cars and recently serviced ones need to be on the lookout for leakage of fluid.
It’s easy to check for the leakage in the transmission because only a few places in the system are there where a leak may appear.
In addition, the filter may have a clog. The filter is vital to the transmission’s performance, so make sure it is replaced when you change your transmission fluid.
- Grinding or shaking may indicate a problem with the gears. Grinding noises are more common, which may or may not be because of damaged or worn gear synchronizers.
- Noises that occur after engaging the clutch and shifting gears may indicate that a clutch adjustment is required or a replacement is overdue.
- There is a higher tendency of shaking or jerking rather than grinding; you may need to disassemble the transmission to locate the source of the problem, but not before exhausting all other avenues.
- Burning smells from a vehicle may indicate overheated transmission fluid.
- Transmission fluid must be cooled properly to lubricate transmission components. A system that runs too hot can cause increased friction and premature wear.
- Two common causes of overheating could be low fluid levels or using a type of transmission fluid that is unsuitable for your vehicle.
- If the problem gets worse, then a new or remanufactured transmission could be an option when heading for transmission failure.
Some Important Things to Consider
If your transmission fluid is leaking and the fluid under the car has a burnt smell, this can indicate the fluid needs to be chained immediately, and your transmission has probably already taken on the damage. After you change the fluid, your transmission may not shift correctly since the damage has already occurred.
(It only shifted normally before the fluid change, possibly because the old fluid had bits of metal that aided while shifting.)
The solenoids are attached to the vehicle’s electric system, and when the ECU encounters an error and it can trigger the check engine light if anything goes wrong. The transmission may enter Limp Mode, where it engages only second or third gear to limit the speed of the vehicle but without immobilizing the vehicle.
Transmission solenoid failures can occur because of electrical issues. Dirty fluids can also cause the solenoid to be stuck open or closed. Some of the problems that can occur due to changes in transmission fluid pressure are the following:
- Shift Solenoid: There could be difficulty getting out of third gear, which may be caused by a faulty shift solenoid.
- Jerking: Problems with shifting from first to second gear with a hard jerking are possible.
- Continuing Forward: Sometimes, when the transmission is cold, the car may experience surging after the brakes are applied, requiring the driver to put the vehicle in neutral.
- Transmission Failure: The transmission is a complicated piece of machinery in your car. Because of their complexity, they can be complicated and get costly to fix. If the fluid levels are not maintained, the inability to change gears and problems starting the car may be experienced.
- Erratic Shifting: When dealing with a transmission solenoid that has failed, the gearbox could skip a gear up or down or shift back and forward in between the gears. It may also get stuck in the same gear, and that doesn’t want to shift.
- Transmission Won’t Downshift: Whenever it happens that the transmission does not downshift, it could mean one of the shift solenoids is stuck in the open or closed position. This restricts fluid from entry into the transmission valve body so it can pressurize the right gear.
- Severe Delay in Shifting / Stuck on Neutral: In electronically controlled transmissions, the gear shifting occurs as the solenoid operates correctly. Fluid pressure needed for gear changes can’t happen if the solenoid receives too much or too little electrical current. This may make the transmission temporarily lock into neutral.
Be prepared to act quickly if you are experiencing a transmission problem. The same day that the problem occurs, try to get a diagnosis. You may be able to partially diagnose problems yourself through inspection or using an OBD2 scanner. It can be very costly to wait in terms of money and safety.
A fault in the transmission may cause a delay in responsiveness from gears and may affect steering as well. This could be dangerous when driving, and some loss of control over the car occurs.
You or a mechanic can inspect error codes on an OBD2 scanner. Evaluate the symptoms yourself or ask a technician to find out possible issues. It could also be as easy as bad ground or as complicated as a solenoid pack that has failed.
Some other resources for troubleshooting the Trailblazer transmission issues include these articles: