Even if you aren't very familiar with cars, it can be quite clear when it's time to get the transmission on your car serviced. While fluid on your driveway may be one indication, so is difficulty accelerating or staying in gear. If you are worried about your car transmission, waiting isn't going to make the problem go away. Your car transmission is responsible for providing power to your wheels, allowing your car to travel at the speed you are indicating. If your car is slipping out of gear or it doesn't stay in gear while you are driving, it's time to have your transmission serviced.
Your Gear Keeps Slipping
Whether your car is an automatic or a standard, it still goes into gear while you are driving it. If you are driving a standard, it is easier for you to notice when it's difficult to shift your car into the next gear. With an automatic, your car will struggle to get into gear when the transmission is having problems. This may feel as if your car isn't engaging fast enough or the ride isn't feeling smooth. Gears that are slipping cause your car to jerk while you are driving, and make it difficult to drive the car safely.
Your Car Pauses Before Engaging
If you put your car in reverse, step on the gas, and your car doesn't go for a few seconds, the transmission is probably not working properly. A lack of engaging or a pause in engagement is an indication that you may be low on transmission fluid or you need your transmission repaired. While you can probably safely drive your car to a mechanic, don't drive your car around for too long when your car pauses when getting into gear.
Transmission Fluid on Your Driveway
Transmission fluid isn't supposed to leak, so if you notice a dark brown, bright red, or darker red fluid on your driveway, this is probably transmission fluid. Place a piece of cardboard beneath your car overnight, right at the front of your vehicle. If there is fluid on the cardboard, you probably have a transmission fluid leak that needs to be repaired right away.
A transmission will generally last about 100,000 miles with some basic care. Make sure that you get your transmission serviced regularly, and that you adhere to an oil change schedule as recommended by your car manufacturer. Some transmissions can break after 30,000 miles, so it's important to take care of your vehicle properly.