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Automobile Lemon Law

Car Transmission Defects

What is NHTSA?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a governmental agency that is part of the Department of Transportation. It was created to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce vehicle related crashes. At part of it’s duty, NHSTA investigates vehicle manufacturers and has the authority to issue vehicle recalls to protect the motorists and the public at large.

What is a transmission?

The transmission is a major system of your vehicle comprising of the clutch, gearbox, prop shaft, differential, and drive shafts. It’s part of your vehicles powertrain and is responsible for transmitting propulsion power to your vehicle. It the simplest sense, it is the system causes your car to move. So if it is defective or not functioning correctly, your vehicle will have a major issue.

Causes of transmission problems

Since your car’s transmission is a complex system there are many ways that it can have problems or be defective. Some of the most common causes of transmission problems include:

  • Low or dirty transmission fluid

  • Clogged transmission filter

  • Torque converter issues

  • Solenoid issues

  • Worn clutch

  • Worn gears

  • Software malfunction

  • Electrical problems

Because most people are not trained mechanics it is difficult to find and diagnose these defective parts in your car or truck. But there are signs that you can look for to know that your vehicle transmission is not functioning properly.

How do I know my transmission is not working right?

There are many common signs that a person can see or notice in there vehicle where are indicative of transmission issues. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms in your car or truck, if mostly is due to a malfunctioning transmission system:

  • Vehicle shaking

  • Vehicle jerking or erratic driving

  • Rough shifting

  • Grinding noise coming from your car

  • Your car is not responsive

  • Lack of power in your vehicle or when you press the gas

  • Gear slipping/slippage

  • A burning smell coming from your car

  • Leaking fluids

If you find any of the above, you should take your car to the dealer for diagnosis and repair. Because a vehicles transmission is very complex, it is very common for vehicle’s have transmission issues or for there to be a defect in the manufacturing of the a manufacturer’s transmission that affects thousands of the same make and model vehicle. If this is the case and there is a wide spread problem with a particular vehicle transmission system, your vehicle may be subject to recall to fix the transmission.  

How I do I know if there is a recall on my car’s transmission?

If your vehicle is subject to recall for a transmission defect, you should receive a notice in the mail from the manufacturer. The notice will explain what the problem is and provide instructions on the repair and what steps you need to take. Typically, this involves taking your car, truck or SUV to your dealer who will make the necessary repairs for free. You can also search online on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to see if your vehicle has any outstanding transmission recalls, or any other recalls. Almost all vehicle manufacturers have had recalls relating to transmission defects at some point, so it’s important for you to check.

What are my rights if my car has a transmission problem or defect?

If your car is under warranty, the manufacturer must repair and fix your car’s transmission problem for free. Additionally, most vehicle manufacturers include an extended powertrain warranty, above and beyond their manufacturer’s standard warranty. So often many of your transmission problems or defects will be covered by a warranty long after you purchase your vehicle. If your car is just to a recall, even if your manufacturer warranties have expired, the manufacturer must make the necessary recall repairs for free.

More importantly, if you are having transmission issues, you very well may qualify for compensation or relief under California’s lemon law.

Get Help from a California Lemon Lawyer For Your Transmission Defects

We have helped vehicle owners across California with their vehicle transmission problems and defects. California’s Lemon Law offers consumers many forms of relief if their car or truck is a lemon, including a refund, replacement vehicle, transmission repairs, a new transmission, or cash compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn about your rights.    

If your car is subject to recall or you have any questions about recalls, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll take the time to explain your rights. Many times recalls can result in a vehicle being classified as a lemon. If that is the case you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.


Thank you for submitting your inquiry. A firm member will contact you to follow up shortly after we review your information to see if we can assist you. If you do not receive a response within 48 hours, please call our firm to ensure your message was received. 

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