Cars are everyday objects for most people, but their inner workings remain a mystery to the vast majority of those who use and depend on them. While things are running smoothly, ignorance may be bliss; however, in the event of a mechanical problem, it can be helpful to know what to look for and when to take your car for an inspection. With this in mind, consider the following six warning signs that there may be an issue with your gearbox and that you may need a gearbox inspection.

1. Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can have a number of sources coming from your car's engine; however, if a leak is paired with any of the symptoms listed below, arrange for an inspection of the engine and gearbox right away.  

2. Delays in Gears Shifting

In cars with automatic gearboxes, any delay felt in the gear change when moving from park to reverse, or park to drive, could indicate a mechanical fault in the gearbox. This applies equally in manual cars when moving up or down through the gears.

3. Smoke and/or Burning Smells

As with oil leaks, smoke or burning smells could come from a variety of sources; however, the most common cause is generally the gearbox and clutch, particularly if any of the other listed symptoms are present.

4.  A 'Slipping' Feeling When Accelerating

When you initially press on the accelerator after changing gears, any feeling of slipping, uneven acceleration or erratic RPMs are likely pointing towards a damaged or improperly maintained gearbox. Spontaneous increases in the engines RPM are similarly indicative of a fault.

5. Trouble Reaching the Desired Speed

If you are having trouble reaching your intended speed, accompanied by shudders in accelerating, this can be related to gears sticking in the gearbox and should be examined by a professional immediately. Strange sounds coming from your car at different speeds, particularly when coming on and off the accelerator pedal, are yet another sign that the gearbox may be faulty.

6. Grinding or Clunking Sounds

This is one of the clearest indicators of a faulty gearbox. Low shuddering sounds or even high pitched whining sounds should be investigated immediately.  In bad cases, the car's handling and feel may be affected, with vibrations coming through the steering wheel. If you have observed this, or any of the issues outlined above, be sure to arrange for a gearbox inspection with a certified professional as soon as possible to avoid causing any lasting damage.