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    5 Most Common Signs of Gearbox Failure

    Gearbox Failure Common Reasons Explained

    Signs of Gearbox Failure

    While the engine might be what provides the power, the gearbox is actually the heart of any vehicle. Without a functioning gearbox, the power produced by the engine cannot be transmitted to the wheels, meaning that you’re stuck in one place if it fails. And, make no mistake, gearbox failure can and does happen. Protecting your fleet vehicles from premature damage is important and will require that you understand the most common signs of gearbox failure.

    Gearbox Failure Symptoms

    Unusual Noises

    Whining, clunking, or grinding noises while driving can point to failing bearings or other internal gearbox damage.

    Oil Level: Signs of Gearbox Failure

    The single most common reason for gearbox failure is improper gearbox oil level. Unlike engines, gearboxes don’t “burn” fluid. Low Manual Transmission fluid levels are the result of leaks that have gone unnoticed and unrepaired, so this is directly related to poor maintenance. When gearbox oil levels drop too low, it robs the gearbox of the lubricant it needs to prevent wear and tear, as well as creating operational problems due to a lack of fluid pressure. The most common sites for fluid leaks include at the driveshaft, interior seals, and gearbox gasket seals.

    Torque Converter Problem

    The second most common signs of gearbox failure is a problem with the torque converter. This sits between the gearbox and the engine and allows the engine to spin independently while still pressurizing the fluid within the gearbox so that the gears will shift. Needle bearing wear and failure is the most common torque convert-related issue, but there are others.

    Solenoid Issues for Gearbox Failure

    Another very common gearbox-related problem is an issue with the solenoid. It is responsible for controlling the flow of oil or level of oil within the gearbox, so when it experiences problems, the gearbox will not shift properly, or not at all. Solenoid issues can be caused by low gearbox oil levels, but also by solenoid failure. The good news is that this is usually a simple replacement to make. You can check this link for solenoid troubleshooting checklist and how to address them.

    Clogged Gearbox Fluid Filter

    Every vehicle has a gearbox Oil filter, which is responsible for catching debris suspended in the fluid and preventing it from building up within the gears and other internals. The filter should be cleaned periodically during manufacturer-recommended gearbox maintenance services. If service is neglected, the filter can become clogged, which affects oil pressure and flow throughout the system. This can cause damage to the gearbox and will affect operability, too.

    Gearbox Fluid Quality

    Incorrect Or Low-Quality Gearbox Oil

    Each gearbox requires a specific Gearbox Oil type formulated to its needs. Using the wrong fluid in a drain and fill, or replacing old fluid with inferior quality fluid, will lead to gearbox damage and potentially to failure. Always ensure that you are using OEM-quality transmission oil. This does not mean that you must purchase gearbox oil from the vehicle manufacturer, but you do need to ensure that the fluid you purchase meets or exceeds industry and manufacturer standards.

    Burning Smell

    A burning odor emanating from the engine bay could indicate overheating in the gearbox due to low fluid levels or internal friction.


    Ultimately, the most common signs of gearbox failure are the improper maintenance and failure to catch leaks before they deplete gearbox oil levels to critical levels. It is essential that you monitor the gearbox, driveshaft, and other seals for signs of leakage, while also checking fluid level and color periodically.

    When it comes to ultimate gear protection, Armor Lubricants stands head above the rest of the manufacturers in the UAE. As one of the leading gear oil suppliers in the UAE, with a high reputation for quality, innovation, and gear oil performance, offer a comprehensive range of products formulated to meet the specific needs of a wide variety of applications. Whether you’re operating heavy machinery in construction, protecting the gears in your high-performance car, or anything in between, Armor Lubricants has the perfect solution to keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently.

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