Kenworth Automatic Transmission Problems And Symptoms To Know

Have you ever wondered about the usual Kenworth automatic transmission problems?

Unfortunately, problems with the automatic transmission can cause massive and serious repair issues and costs. For instance, it can be simple as simply getting the fluids replaced or end up costing you over $5000 in reconstruction.

In the case of minor transmission issues, the repair work may merely include replacing solenoids that are found to be defective, as well as some parts that no longer function as they should. It could also be as easy as adjusting the throttle cable.

On the other hand, if it is a major issue, then it may involve disassembling, cleaning, inspecting, and rebuilding the system, which are all labor-intensive and expensive repairs.

With that being said, it is important to pay close attention to symptoms of automatic transmission problems. Here are some warning signs to take note of, which happen before your transmission goes out completely.

kenworth automatic transmission problems

Symptoms Of Kenworth Automatic Transmission Problems

There are key signs of an automatic transmission problem with the Kenworth truck that should be in the back of your mind. Here they are.

1. Foul odor

There are strange odors that you may notice while driving on the road. However, if the smell originates in your engine, then you need to pay very close attention. Any burning smell means that something is not right with your vehicle.

When your transmission fluid is low or is slowly degrading, it tends to overheat and burn. Thus, the engine may run hot and this leads to overheating and burning. As a result, the engine becomes hot and becomes more prone to early wear and tear, as well as corrosion.

But do keep in mind that these smells can also mean other things such as dripping antifreeze or even a heater core that is melting. This is why burning smells should be inspected right away since other issues may be linked to it.

2. Clunking noise

It is also worth noting that a breakdown in your transmission can be linked to symptoms such as clunking noises. So, you should never disregard these sounds when you hear them. Such noises include a humming or whining sound, which are typical of an automatic transmission problem.

Get a mechanic to check this problem, particularly if it is something that is a telltale issue of a transmission breaking down.

3. Check engine light

Many drivers are prone to ignoring it each time their check engine light comes on. But you should not take this lightly, especially if you see a blinking light combined with a red light. This means that the problem needs to be attended to urgently.

Moreover, there are sensors that can trip your warning system such as when the gas cap gets loose. Since a number of issues can trigger the check engine light – including an automatic transmission problem – you need to get it checked sooner than later.

4. Fluid Leaking

Your vehicle has various fluids that are there to cool, lubricate, brake, steer, as well as keep your windshield clear and clean. But if there is a breakdown or a leak in the fluids, and you fail to address the issue sooner than later, this impacts the engine’s performance.

When you notice a sweet smell and a red color leaking, this means that your automatic transmission fuel is leaking. Others may come with a toasty smell and a dark color, which means the leak has been going on for a while.

Inspect for any leak, especially if there are fluids found on the driveway. You can do this by warming your engine up by driving for a short distance and inspect the transmission dipstick. There is an indent to the mark which identifies the right fluid level. When the fluid runs low, this means that there is a leak somewhere. So, you need to top the fluid off initially and then have the transmission re-sealed.

5. Shaking

When you notice that the vehicle shakes each time you work on the transmission, then it means that there is a problem. Some people simply downplay the issue but the problem tends to get worse over time because of wear. The increase in the shaking and jerking can be a problem until the gears become shot.

6. Gears won’t respond.

Your vehicle may not go into gear, which means there is a problem with the fluid. But if you are well aware that the fluids are filled and cleaned, then the shift cables may be to blame. The clutch linkage is another culprit to consider.

Thankfully, these are quick fixes. Just disconnect the battery for 30 minutes and this will cause a reboot in the computer once you reconnect it again.

7. Gears are slipping.

And lastly, your truck depends on an external input that informs any change with the gear. If the car slips between gears, it means that the fluid runs low and you need to replace the transmission bands because they are worn. Thus, gear slipping occurs.

Read More: What To Do With Peterbilt Light Problems To Avoid Further Issues


Sometimes, problems with the automatic transmission in your Kenworth truck occur because of certain issues such as wear and tear, debris, and so on. With these things in mind, it is best to have your vehicle inspected when you notice these symptoms present themselves. By doing so, you can prevent the issue from getting worse, which can also spare you from more expensive repairs over time.

Regular maintenance checks and service should be able to prevent these issues from occurring. Furthermore, you should never disregard the need to have a professional mechanic inspect your vehicle when such symptoms exist.

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