Top 4 Transaxle Problems (And What to Do About Them)

The transaxle is located behind your car’s engine that houses the transmission and the differential in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles. While the transaxle essentially has the same job as the transmission in rear-wheel-drive cars, some issues are unique to transaxles. This guide will help you spot common issues with your car’s transaxle before they become more significant problems.

What Is a Transaxle

Your car’s transaxle combines the features of a transmission and differential into one unit that is used on front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars. The transaxle eliminates the need for a drive shaft, simplifying your car’s drive train. Most transaxles are transversely mounted and are smaller than a standard transmission.

Shifting Issues

One of the first issues you may notice with your car’s transaxle is problems shifting gears. You may see rough or jerky shifting or slipping gears which can indicate a problem that should be diagnosed by a professional.

Strange Noises

If you notice a whining noise while driving or grinding noises when you shift gears, you could have an issue with your car’s transaxle. Your mechanic must trace the noise to the cause, which can take some time, but getting this checked out is essential. While your car’s transaxle is three components in one, more issues can arise than just problems with gears or shifting.


Another common issue with your car’s transaxle is overheating. Transaxle overheating can occur for several reasons; the results can be total transmission failure if ignored. If you notice any warning lights or a burning smell coming from underneath your car, see your mechanic as soon as possible to get the problem diagnosed and fixed.

Fluid Leaks

Transaxles, like transmissions, use automatic transmission fluid to perform the function of turning the engine’s rotations into power for your wheels. This may indicate a leak if you notice fluid on the ground under your car. Because checking your transmission fluid is not as simple as checking oil, you may need to bring your vehicle to a professional if you suspect your car is leaking transmission fluid.

While a transaxle is a more compact design than a transmission, it potentially has more chance of failing because it contains more components. If you notice any signs of transaxle problems, see your auto care specialist as soon as possible to get your car back on the road without shifting issues.

Photo by Supersmario from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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