Five Signs the Transmission in Your Vintage Vehicle Is About to Blow

Driving a classic car that is over thirty years old is something many people enjoy. It flaunts your interest in vintage things, while sporting a ride that everyone else can admire. There is just one tiny problem with driving a vintage vehicle: fixing it. Usually, something with the engine or transmission is always the first to go. If this is the first vintage vehicle you have ever owned, you should know the warning signs of a transmission about to blow.

The Vehicle's Wheel Is Very Hard to Steer

The transmission in any vehicle is directly tied to the power given by the engine and the steering power of the wheel. If you need superhuman strength to turn the wheel in this car or truck one minute, and then it turns smoothly the next, your transmission is failing. The harder it gets to steer, and the more you force it, the more pressure you place on the transmission until it breaks.

There Is a Lot of Gear Slippage and Clutch Slippage

Many vintage vehicles, especially those that predate the sixties, required a clutch to help you shift into gear. Today that is called a manual transmission, and even the modern ones have problems. If you can shift gears without even pressing the clutch down, or the gear stick allows you to slip between two gears without the clutch, your transmission is literally on the road in about six months or less.

The clutch can have a similar problem. When the clutch just glides and then slips downward with no foot pressure, and then rebounds at will, your vintage vehicle will jerk, bounce, and slam on the brakes on its own. If the clutch goes, it will take your transmission with it because your transmission will be unable to shift gears, slow down, stop, and/or park.

Lots of Snapping and Clicking

If you back out of a parking space and hear a lot of snapping and clicking, the transmission may be trying to get the drive train and drive train knuckle to move. You may even feel this in the wheel with a slight bit of resistance followed by a snap-click, and then smooth movement. It feels a lot like a giant rubber band being pulled taught for a second, and then released. In a vintage car this is not uncommon when the transmission is beginning to fail.

You Notice a Lot of Rust Underneath the Vehicle

Despite all of the work of the previous owner, the underside of the vehicle should have received equal attention. This is where your drive train and transmission are exposed to the elements, including puddles of rain, snow and ice (if you actually drive a vintage vehicle in that kind of weather!) and cleaning agents for roads. If your vehicle starts acting funny in any way, look underneath the vehicle carefully. A ton of rust spells death and doom for a transmission in any vintage vehicle.

Scraping on the Ground

Yikes. If your vehicle starts doing this, you have something loose, and it could be any part of your transmission or engine. Stop driving immediately and take a look underneath. Then call for a tow because, even if it is not the transmission or engine, you do not want to accidentally spark a fire in a vintage vehicle. This is especially true if the vehicle still requires a liquid lead additive in the gas tank, since liquid lead on fire is extremely toxic.

Repairing the Transmission Problems Yourself

If you have the time, the money, and the knowledge to fix the transmission in your vintage vehicle, go for it. Just be aware that it may be both difficult and expensive because vintage parts are not a dime a dozen. The more vintage the vehicle, the more difficult this task will be without a professional mechanic's help. Talk to a mechanic at shops like Karry's Automotive Service Center to learn more.