Signs Your Planetary Gears are Failing – and What to Do About It

Planetary gears are often found in automatic transmissions because they allow for efficient changing of gears without taking up much space. Most automatic transmissions on the market today utilize a planetary gear system. This guide will teach you how to recognize potential car transmission problems.

What Is The Planetary Gear Set

The planetary gear set provides different gear ratios in your car’s transmission. The planetary gear system consists of a central or “sun” gear that several smaller gears rotate around, and a ring gear surrounds the gear set. While planetary gear sets usually don’t fail, they can wear down or be damaged over time due to overheating, low transmission fluid or issues with other transmission components.

Signs Your Car’s Planetary Gear Set is Failing

If you’re having transmission trouble, it could be a sign that your car’s planetary gear set is failing. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Grinding or shaking when shifting gears: This is usually a sign that the gears are not meshing properly. The problem may be in the teeth of one of the gears. Many shops specializing in transmissions can help you determine whether or not this is an issue for your vehicle.
  • Unusual noises coming from the transmission: Shifting gears should be silent, but if there’s any noise (even something as innocuous as knocking), it could mean that some parts need to be replaced soon. Checking for noises early on will save you time and money.
  • Fluid leaking from under the car: A leak means either the gasket has failed or there’s been damage to one of the transmission lines. Low transmission fluid can cause damage to one of the gear sets. Again, you’ll want a qualified mechanic to look at this immediately!

How is A Failing Planetary Gear Fixed

If you have transmission problems, you must bring your vehicle to a qualified mechanic to diagnose. If your mechanic determines that the issue is due to damage to one of the gear sets, they may need to replace the entire gear set. In most cases, you will be looking at a hefty repair bill.

If you notice any signs of transmission trouble, see your mechanic to get your transmission diagnosed and fixed. While planetary gear sets typically last the life of your vehicle, they can wear down over time due to various causes. So see your trusted mechanic get your car’s transmission back in top gear!

Photo by pelucco from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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