Sprinter is Mercedes’ excellent interpretation of the van. Reliable, functional, and yet still stylish, many of us in the service industry, or just with large families, couldn’t live without our Sprinter! While of course Sprinters are notoriously reliable, like all cars they aren’t without common issues. Therefore, today we’re going to be looking at one of the most common Sprinter issues: problems with the gear box.
One of the most common issues that Sprinters experience is the failure of the torque converter within the automatic transmission unit. But why does this happen?
Well it all comes down to the nature of owning a van. Vans are designed to work hard, driving long distances, day in and day out, as well as carrying heavy loads such as tools or furniture. Put simply, a van works really hard when compared to a standard car.
This hard work puts extra strain on the Sprinter’s gearbox, causing it to start to wear down faster than a car’s gearbox might.
One of the first signs of gearbox failure you’ll likely notice is the illumination of warning lights on your Sprinter’s dashboard, most notably the transmission temperature light. This light will illuminate when your transmission fluid temperature is running high. When you notice this, fill up your coolant and transmission fluid levels and see if this resolves the issue. If problems persist, bring your van in for a checkup as soon as possible.
If you notice droplets under your van when it has been parked for a few hours, then it’s clear that one of your Sprinter’s fluid systems has a leak. Transmission fluid is typically red in color and smells sweet, so if you notice your mystery liquid has these characteristics, you’re dealing with a transmission system leak. There are several factors which can cause transmission leaks such as lose plugs; clogged filters; wear to seals, gaskets, or axles; engine/transmission mount problems; bell housing damage; pan leaks; or an imbalanced drive shaft.
Burning smells, or even more pleasant sweet smells that are noticeable while driving your van can be a sign you need your transmission fluid changed. The transmission fluid is essential for the health of your gearbox as it keeps temperatures produced by gear changes down, which stops the system from overheating and wearing down prematurely.
Probably the most irritating and hard to ignore symptoms of gearbox issues, knocking and screeching noises not only signify an issue but are irritating and disruptive to put up with. This issue typically indicates loose gears within the system, with the looser the gear the louder the noise. Alternatively, whistling noises can indicate wear to your gearbox bearings and jarring sudden sounds indicate a worn or clutch or damaged synchronizers.
You use your Sprinter on a daily basis, so you know better than anyone how it feels to drive. Therefore, you’ll notice when things start to change, be this suddenly or more gradually. In regards to your gearbox, you should pay attention to issues such as slipping gears, trouble shifting gears, hesitation when changing gears, and general trouble with the gear box. These changes will all tell you that it’s time to visit your auto repair shop of choice.
When it comes to gearbox issues in your Sprinter, it is important to never ignore symptoms. Ignoring the issue will only allow the problem to get worse, and you’ll likely only end up with more severe damage to deal with that will cost you more and take longer to fix than your original problem. Instead, at the first sign of issue you should head to an auto repair service that you can trust, such as European Service Center.
European Service Center is perfectly situated for those living in or around Alpharetta, Chamblee, Cumming, Norcross, Dunwoody, Buckhead, Roswell, Atlanta, GA. We are experts in Sprinter repair. A family business started in 1979, European Service Center has grown with the community and we now offer 8 locations across Georgia and Texas, meaning if you’re in the south you’re never far away from great repair services.
* Mercedes Sprinter image credit goes to: DarthArt.