6 signs drivers should look out for a possible transmission problem

6 signs drivers should look out for a possible transmission problem (Especially during car collection)

One of the thrills for choosing car rental/leasing option is the flexibility to switch cars frequently. As a car rental patron, what will you look out for during car collection process? Upon car collection, many clients tend to focus too much on the vehicle appearance like scratches and dents instead of operational issues which will incur more repair cost.


Some of the more expensive repairs for automatic transmission vehicles are engine overhaul and transmission failure (e.g. replacement) from at least a few thousand onwards depending on your vehicle type. For transmission failure, some of the possible reasons to it are the way the vehicle is handled overtime; e.g. wear and tear due to poor vehicle maintenance. Some of the bad driving habits that will destroy the transmission are overheating of the vehicle, failure to change and maintain fluid levels, incorrect use of fluid type, stopping abruptly, lifting of the handbrake up without the parking brake, frequent engagement to the park gear at traffic lights and many more.


According to CASE, the number of complaints involving motorcars (car defects, car rental in Singapore and repair workshop) rose 12% since 2013. Do keep a lookout for these signs to spot a possible transmission failure during car collection. For those who intend to rent the vehicle for a road trip, you won’t want the vehicle to break down halfway, don’t you?


Image Source: CASE Singapore


Transmission/Gear Slipping


Noticing the gear changes as you drive? Do the engine revs when you intend to accelerate? If you experience any, it may be signs of transmission gear slipping and it’s a serious safety risk to continue driving. The possible reasons can be worn clutches or failure of other parts of the transmission. In the event of such cases, please do not continue to drive the vehicle. You may wish to report the problem to your car rental vendor or take your vehicle to the workshop as soon as possible.


Fluid Leakage


If you spot any red fluid patch under the vehicle, most likely there’s a fluid leakage and should be returned for repair immediately. Fluid leakages are dangerous especially if the leaks on a hot pipe or surface. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is the fluid use in automatic transmission vehicle for brake band friction, torque converter, gear lubrication or acting as a hydraulic fluid. Without it, the engine will stop operating. Wonder where to check and what the colour tells the condition of the transmission fluids? Do check out the following:


  • Clear Pink / Red: New transmission fluids
  • Amber / Brown: Used transmission fluids
  • Dark Brown/ Black: Time to replace the fluid as soon as possible.


Over time, the fluid’s colour will darken due to the age and the usage of the vehicles. If you happen to spot any fluids that are milky pink, milky brown or any dark in colour giving off a burnt odour, there’s a mechanical problem. Eventually, it will lead to low fluid levels causing slipping, shaking and delay in the gear shift.  Do report the problem to your car rental vendor immediately.


Image Source: Pinterest


Delayed Engagement/ Rough Shifts


If you experience any delay or resistance in the gear shift, stop pushing the gear shift hard as there’s definitely something wrong with the transmission. A common cause of such cases is due to low transmission fluids due to leakage, incorrect use of fluid type and adjustment required for shift cables or clutch linkage. Eventually, it may also lead to the overheating problem.




The burning smell can be an indicator of overheating and it is a potential fire hazard. A common cause of overheating is due to low fluid levels and usage of wrong fluid types. Transmission fluids prevent engine parts from damage due to wear and tear by keeping them lubricated and cooled at all times. Some symptoms of an overheating car include ticking sound from the engine, smoke/steam pouring out from the car hood and reduce engine power. The easiest way to tell if the engine is overheated is to take a look at the reading of the temperature gauge located on the vehicle’s dashboard.


Image Source: meineke


“Check Engine” Lights Up


Image Source: Autointhebox Blog


Apart from vehicle appearance check upon car collection, do start the vehicle engine and let it stay for a while. If you happen to spot the check engine lights up on the vehicle’s dashboard, there’s something wrong with the vehicle. It is a very helpful sign and an early indicator to warn drivers of the vehicle’s condition.


Noisy transmission


For manual transmission vehicles; if the vehicle shakes, jerk or the gears grind when you shift the gears, the clutch may need to be adjusted or replace. Otherwise, the problem can come from the transmission fluids as well.



If you suspect or spotted any of the signs above during the checks, do highlight your concern to the car rental vendor immediately. For some unscrupulous car leasing companies in Singapore, they might even put the blame and repair cost to the clients upon returning of the rental car. For car owners, do take your vehicle to the workshop for a check for your own safety. It’s very dangerous to ignore the problem and continue driving the vehicle at that state.


As a reliable full-fledged automotive solutions provider, ETHOZ is trusted by our clients for high service standards. To optimize the best driving experience for our clients, we conduct stringent quality checks and regular servicing for every vehicle, even if they are not taken up by any clients. These checks are performed by experienced mechanics in our own workshop facilities, certified by our service engineers before the vehicles are released for use.


Sourcing for reliable car rental in Singapore? ETHOZ is your choice! With over 36 years of experience, ETHOZ has evolved from its humble roots in car rental services to a full-fledged automotive solutions provider in Singapore.  Trusted by our clients, we are known for our reliability and service standards.  Contact us for more information on car rental or car leasing services in Singapore


Related Post


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin