Cash for Clunkers

Tara Hornor
Written byTara HornorUpdated - October 19, 2023
Tara Hornor
Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor is an experienced writer and entrepreneur with over two decades of experien... | See full bio

John Rush
Edited and Fact-Checked byJohn RushEditor
John Rush
John Rush
Automotive Content Accuracy Auditor|||

With over four decades of experience, John Rush is a highly accomplished business owner... | See full bio

Meaning of a Blinking Transmission Light

The cars we have these days are known to have really fancy-looking dashboards. With a myriad of flashy and beeping lights which serve as an alarm for any malfunction or problem within the car’s parts and systems, your car’s dashboard can now help you deal with different types of car trouble before these problems get too big. Even transmission troubles are manageable if you catch it early enough.

Unfortunately, most car owners and drivers are not that familiar with transmission lights in the dashboard. However, it is best that the dashboard parts and pieces must be understood to ensure a safe and smooth ride.


What causes the transmission light to blink?

Transmission lights are triggered for various reasons. Overheating is the most common reason for why the light comes on. If the engine fluid is depleted, it can possibly cause the transmission to overheat. Internal damage is attributed to overheating and low fluid levels.

Basically, you have nothing to worry about when the transmission light is off. This simply means that things are working normally. Thus, if the light is on, this is a pretty glaring sign that your car is in trouble and needs to be taken to the mechanic to be serviced appropriately. However, there are situations when the transmission lighting is confusing and is not the usual warning for impending car trouble.


What are signs of transmission problems?

There are plenty of symptoms of a bad transmission. If you happen to experience any or several symptoms below along with a blinking transmission light on the car’s dashboard, then you’ll probably want to look for a mechanic to address your vehicle’s problem immediately.

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A burnt smell in your car: 

When the engine overheats, then you might begin to notice a weird burning smell. This is brought about by old or contaminated engine fluid. Getting your car into the mechanic right away will prevent your engine from burning up, which could be an even bigger expense than just getting the transmission repaired.

Unable to move the shift: 

If the transmission system is not functioning well, then you might have trouble shifting gears. The gears will be too hard to handle, and you’ll even struggle to even put the car in reverse or to park the car. The reasons behind this may include leakage or old and contaminated transmission fluid.


Gears are slipping:

This is another concern apart from the difficulty in shifting gears. This happens when your car slips in between gears which means that your car is changing gears even when you did not move the stick shift. This often occurs from high gear to low gear. This is really dangerous and risky especially while you are on the road and should be repaired right away.

Grinding noises:

Perhaps one of the most common signs and symptoms, most specifically in automatic vehicles, is a noticeable and loud sound when starting the car or when changing the gears. In addition, you’ll notice a weird shaking of the car.

Leaking fluids:

Basically, transmission fluid is reddish in color. As such, it is very noticeable if it forms a puddle in the garage or in the driveway. Keep in mind that sometimes the leak can be small and therefore hard to detect. Just remember, bad transmission fluid is muddy in color and is more viscous, so if you spot this type of fluid, even if it’s a few drops, take your car in to a shop right away.


What are my options?

When your car’s transmission system fails, you don’t have much time. If the transmission light begins to blink, then you should take it in to a mechanic immediately. If you wait too long to get it repaired, you could be looking at a very hefty bill.

Make sure to also observe how your car behaves. After all, a leak could simply mean an easy flush. A burnt smell, though, could mean a complete rebuild.

At Cash for Clunkers we recommend that you address all the alarm systems you might have on your dashboard. If you are unable or not willing to deal with your car’s problems, junking your car is an option. Get a free quote for cash for your junk car today!





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