Hopefully our FAQ section has answered some of the questions you may have about gearboxes. However, if you would like more information, we have the produced the following guide to help you understand the subject in greater detail.
The gearbox is a highly complex system which can be effected by a variety of issues which this guide will help you identify.
Recognising that you have a gearbox problem can be tricky unless you are an expert and knowing how much gearbox repair costs can be even more difficult.
That is why it is essential that you use WhoCanFixMyCar to find the best gearbox repairs in your local area.
What is a gearbox?
A gearbox is essential for transmitting power from your BMWs engine, to the wheels of the car and controlling the speed of the vehicle.
The gearbox allows a driver to utilise different gears while driving in different conditions such as accelarating or moving on an incline.
The gearboxcan only connect to the engine after the clutch has been engaged which is why you need to push the clutch before driving in a manual car.
The gear stick is responsible for changing the gears in the gearbox in a manual car where as this is done without the driver in an automatic.
What causes gearbox problems?
The transmission (gearbox) in your BMW is subject to constant friction and heat build-up which will eventually lead to parts wearing down.
The longer you leave a potential gearbox problem the worse it will get and the cost of repairing the transmission will increase significantly.
That is why it is essential to understand gearbox problems as early as possible.
What are the most common gearbox issues?
A dragging clutch is caused when the flywheel and clutch fail to disengage which makes changing gears almost impossible.
This gearbox problem will likely be accompanied by a grinding noise being emitted every time you try to change gears.
Luckily a gearbox repair cost will not be extortionate if you are suffering from this problem.
If the clutch has too much slack in the pedal then the linkage between the clutch disk and the pedal wont be able to pull the two parts apart.
Therefore, the linkage simply needs to be tightened or replaced which isn't as expensive as other gearbox repairs.
If you are putting your BMW into a gear, only for it to slip out, it’s obvious you have a fault. A likely cause is that the gears themselves will be worn down.
You will have to have the parts replaced as a result of the damage as it will only get worse as time progresses.
It would also be wise to check your transmission fluid levels as the parts may have worn down as a result of low lubricants.
Noisy while in neutral
Like many of the issues listed on this guide, low levels of transmission fluid can be the reason for the problem.
If you are hearing more noise than usual from your car while it is neutral, then check the levels of fluid and try topping it up.
If this does not resolve the problem, then the most likely cause will be worn down gearbox parts.
The engine light is on
As soon as you see ‘Service Engine Soon’ in yellow on your dashboard, that is exactly what you should do as it is an indicator that something is about to go wrong or already has.
There are a variety of sensors on different parts of your BMW including ones on the transmission. They are in place to detect specific signs of an issue developing such as vibrations or jerks which you may not be able to see, hear or feel.
Paying attention to the light could help you save money on a gearbox repair so make sure to do so!
Won’t go into gear
If your car simply refuses to go into a specific gear it is worth checking the level of you fluid as this is a common issue, though can be resolved by topping the liquid up.
There are other potential issues that would prevent you being able to go into a specific gear.
Occasionally the computer which is part of your car can be the source of the problem, alternatively the shift cables could require adjusting.
A burning smell in a car is never a good sign and as soon as you notice it is vital that you call a mobile mechanic or break down assistance in order to diagnose the problem and find a solution.
When it comes to the gearbox, a burning smell can be the result of transmission fluid overheating.
If the fluid system fails, then other parts of the system will suffer as a result.
Transmission fluid acts as lubricant and a cooling agent for the moving parts of a transmission as they are in constant perpetual motion as a car is driven, this causes friction and a build-up of heat.
Therefore a lack of transmission fluid will be harmful to these parts and a burning smell will be emitted.
If you ignore the burning smell in your car then an entire transmission replacement is likely to be required.
Shaking or grinding
A car should not grind or shake at all so do not think that its normal even if it is gradual and only minor.
If ignored the issue will get worse and you will end up incurring a higher gearbox repair cost.
Grinding and shaking is a common symptom of a faulty gearbox when you move from one gear to the next.
There may even be an issue with the clutch if you feel these effects after you change gears.
If so it is likely that your clutch will need replacing.
The gear synchronizers in your car may be also be badly damaged or worn down if you feel shaking or grinding.
Leaking and low fluid
The transmission system can only operate while automatic transmission fluid lubricates, cleans and conditions the seals while acting as hydraulic fluid.
Even if the transmission fluid is below normal levels, your car will suffer and if it all leaks, you will face serious problems.
Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is bright red and, surprisingly, smells sweet (that is if everything is in working order).
If you detect a leak and the fluid fits this description then you are in luck, all that you require is a hole to be filled.
However, if you come across liquid which is dark and emits a burning smell then the issue is likely to be worse.
Typically this will require the entire transmission system to be flushed or changed as it has become contaminated and is no longer suitable for use in the engine.
ATF liquid is different to motor oil as the engine doesn’t consume any of it, therefore, if it is below its normal level, it’s a fact that you have a leak.
If you would like to check the fluid level of your BMW, try to locate the transmission case (close to the fill plug) and perform a visual assessment.
Once more, if you have a leak, it is essential that you address the issue and find a clutch or gearbox specialist using WhoCanFixMyCar as we will be able to provide you with a range of quotes from local mechanics.
No response from gearbox
If you try to move into a certain gear and you feel resistance, or the gearstick keeps popping out, then there is definitely an issue.
There should not be any pushback when you go into gear and so if you even feel the slightest change you should take your car to a gearbox specialist or automatic gearbox specialist as soon as possible.
Typically, this is a problem involving the clutch as well so be prepared to replace it if you run into this type of issue.
It can be difficult to diagnose the extent of a gearbox problem which involves the clutch, so the best advice is to take your BMW into a clutch and gearbox specialist as mentioned above.
Strange noises – Whining, clunking and humming
Hearing a strange noise from your car is probably the best way to know that something isn’t right.
There are a plethora of issues which could be causing a noise to come from your BMW engine and the gearbox is one system which could be causing a new sound.
The specific noise will vary greatly on the model of your BMW, part and specific issue so it is almost impossible to specifically identify an issue from a sound alone.
The biggest indicator that your gearbox has an issue will be if you hear a clunking noise when you shift gears which sound mechanical, abrupt and loud.
The same can be said of automatic gearboxes, if you notice a clunking noise as you accelerate, slow down or drive on an incline, it would be indicative of an issue with the transmission.
Even if the noise sounds severe, it may be a minor issue, however it will turn into a major one if you do not diagnose the transmission problem.
The gearbox repair cost will spiral if you neglect to address the problem.
How much to replace a gearbox?
Whether you need to replace an automatic gearbox or replace a manual gearbox, the price will vary from one garage to the next and the cost will also vary on the model of the car.
What is a reconditioned gearbox?
A reconditioned gearbox is a part which has been broken but has been fixed by a transmission expert. If you suffer from a gearbox problem, there is the worry about spending money on new parts, however, it is often possible to salvage engine parts and a reconditioned gearbox is ideal from those wanting to avoid spending money on expensive new parts.
Reconditioned gearbox prices vary depending on the car model however it is always worth shopping around for the best price.
Finding a mechanic you can trust to do a good job and charge a fair price, is not always easy, which is why we've simplified the process.
We work with a network of 8,000 mechanics and garages across the UK so we can find competitive gearbox repair deals for you.
To find the best gearbox service available in your region;
You can then compare the quotes and read reviews from previous customers to find the best deal in your area, before booking the gearbox repair online.
- Enter your BMW registration number
- Give us a few details about your car and your requirements
- We’ll send you a great selection of quotes from mechanics and garages in your area