Screeching Sound When Changing Gear: 4 Common Reasons with Solution

Any unexpected sounds coming out of your car is never a good sign. And if it’s a nerve-wracking, screeching sound, then you should be worried about your car.

Screeching noises while changing gear can make you go insane trying to figure it’s source out.

Buy why exactly are you hearing screeching sound when changing gear?

Screeching sounds can come from the low or contaminated transmission fluid. The grinding between gears could be the source. In manual transmissions, worn-out clutch plates or bearings could cause the gears to screech too. Checking out the motor mounts is also worth a shot.

Well, if you’re done with the basics and want to know more, here is an article for you. We’ve compiled all you need to know about these problems. With possible causes,

Let’s get started.

What Can Sounds From Gearbox Mean?

While driving many like to hear the humming noise that comes from the engine. It sounds like music to most petrolheads. 

But unpleasant noises like clunking and screeching, are not something that you’d want to hear. Sometimes you can also hear metal clattering noises while coasting in gear. All of them indicate that there is something wrong.

If you hear a loud squeaking noise from car, it’s most probably from the transmission gearbox. And it needs to be checked out.

There are a few common causes that can make these noises appear. And they aren’t pleasing. All of them are associated with different kinds of problems. 

If the problem is in the gearbox, then you’ll notice it mainly during shifting gear. So you could ask why does my gear make a noise when I shift?

First of all, manual gears and transmission gears may make noise due to different causes. In manual, you need to press the clutch pedal to shift gear. A worn-out clutch can make noises. Similarly, for an automatic transmission, clutch plates are at play. They can create noise too if they are old.

So, Let’s check out some of the most common causes of sound here.

Common Causes for Transmission to Make Sounds

You might not be an expert in cars. But as a start, there are a bunch of things that you might look at. 

For an initial inspection, you should check out a few common problems that happen often. And you might get the answer for weird noise when changing gear.

So let’s look at some common problems that can happen.

Low Transmission Fluid

Problems in transmission fluid must be the most common cause of weird noises. If your transmission fluid level is low then these problems can occur.

Transmission fluid works as the lubricant & coolant for the internals of your ear. They make sure all the gears that touch have less friction & good heat dissipation. Transmission fluid provides hydraulic pressure as well.

Low Transmission Fluid

If the transmission fluid level is low, then the friction between the gears will increase. That will cause a screeching sound when turning gears. Low levels of transmission fluid will also result in more wearing of the gears.

Also if there are any leaks in your transmission system. Transmission fluid can get contaminated and cause changing gear makes noise.

So low transmission fluid or contaminated transmission fluid could be a probable cause.

Solution: Transmission Maintenance

Refill transmission fluid if you think it has been quite some time. Sometimes there might be a leak in the transmission. And that could lower the fluid level as well.

Check for any leaks. If found, repair that and refill transmission fluid.

Getting the right transmission fluid for your transmission is always important. You really can’t go wrong with the transmission fluid. We decided to extend a helping hand and recommend some great transmission fluid to you:

Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC ATF Transmission FluidEnhanced friction durability30K miles of lifetimeCheck Price
Valvoline Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission FluidHigh-Performance Seal ConditionerAnti-Wear Technology Better Oil Flow At Low TemperaturesCheck Price
ACDelco GM Original Equipment Dexron VI Automatic Transmission FluidOxidation resistantHigh friction durabilityAeration and foam controlCheck Price

These transmission fluids will help to gift your transmission an extended lifetime. With less friction and anti-wear technology, you won’t have to worry about a damaged transmission.

Worn Out Clutch

The Clutch is essential in manual transmission cars. To shift gears you need to press the clutch pedal and then shift gears.

If your car squeaks when shifting gears manual then it could be a worn-out clutch. Running long miles and driving on bad roads can cause your clutch to wear out sooner. And a worn-out clutch can cause these sounds.

An automatic transmission has a clutch system as well. The gears are connected with clutch plates. With time they can experience wear as well. And that can cause noises.

Solution: Replace Weared Out Clutch

If this is the case then changing your clutch is the only option. Because a worn-out clutch isn’t something that can be repaired. That might solve the problem for a few days max.

Replacing the clutch is the best way to go.

Replace Weared Out Clutch

Problems in Motor Mounts

Transmission has to support a lot of loads while driving. So there are mounts in the transmission. 

If somehow these motor mounts are misaligned or worn out. Or if any mount is missing, that can cause various sounds. Especially when you’re changing your gear.

Solution: Reposition the Motor Mount

Correct misalignment by taking help of an expert mechanic. And check if any mount is missing or has worn out. If found, replace that as well.

Throw Out Bearing & Pilot Bearing

In manual gear cars, we’ve seen that changing the gear is strictly connected to gear shifting. So squeaking or clunking noise when gear changing manual gear cars, can be deduced to bearings.

There can be two stages where you can notice the sound. One is when you press the clutch pedal. And another is when you release the clutch pedal.

If the sound comes just as you press the clutch pedal. This indicates that the pilot bearing has problems.

And if you’re noticing a noise specifically after you release your clutch. And then changing your gear, it could be the throw-out bearing.

If that throw-out bearing is failing due to long-term use, then this could happen. All you can do is replace it with a new one.

Solution: Replace Faulty Bearing

Find out by observing which bearing is responsible for the noise. And after identifying replace that throw-out bearing completely.

So, these are the basic and most obvious reasons behind your problem. A little bit of looking around might get you more information. Which could be useful when you take it to the mechanic.

What Steps Can I Take?

As it is a problem with the internal workings of your car. There is nothing much you can do on your own. But what is the best possible course of action? 

Here are some steps that you can follow.

Take Expert Opinion

The best thing would be to take it to an expert mechanic who can take care of it. The best you can help is to correctly identify where the problem is occurring.

Even when you can identify where the problem is coming from. An expert would be better at identifying the exact solution. And he will know what is the best course of action.

Try Gathering Useful & Relevant Information

You can take your car and notice the noise while driving. As said previously, there are some obvious ways you can identify the cause of the sound. Such as in a manual car, any sound that is related to the clutch means there is a problem with the bearing.

Take your car and shift through the gear. Notice if the sound is coming from changing any specific gear. Identify the nature of the sound or how it sounds. 

These are quite important pieces of information that can make your and the mechanic’s life easier. And also save you some bucks.

Because sometimes emergency brakes can fail after a brake job is done by expert mechanics. The same could happen to you if you can’t provide the necessary information to your mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Change Gears In Automatic Cars While Driving?

Technically you can. But that can bring about disaster if you’re unlucky. When you’re driving an automatic vehicle you must stop before changing into a lower gear. But if you do so while driving the locking mechanism can get damaged. Most modern cars won’t let you change gears while driving.

Can Tires Explode While Driving In Extremely Hot Weather?

No, the tires won’t explode while driving in extremely hot weather. Unless there are overloading or physical injuries to the tire at play, it won’t burst. Tires are usually pumped at 30-35 psi. And in extreme weather, up to 50 degrees increase causes tire pressure to increase by only 5 psi. The normal burst pressure of the tire is 200 psi.

Will Skipping Gear While Shifting In Manual Damage My Car?

No, skipping gear while shifting in manual won’t damage your car. You can easily skip gears when driving. People usually go 3rd to first or 4th to 6th by skipping the gears in between. It’s perfectly fine and does not hurt your gears. But shifting without holding the clutch pedal will cause grinding. Which can cause your gears to wear.

Parting Words

Now you know the causes behind the screeching sound when changing gear. Hopefully, this article made you stop scratching your head. Take care of your car and don’t ignore what your car tells you.

Ignoring problems for a long period will only exceed the problem. So observe carefully and get expert opinion when needed.

See you later, until then get your pedal to the metal!

Robert Lozano

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