If your car has an automatic transmission, you may have noticed lately that your vehicle has difficulty whenever you try to go from a dead stop, or while it is shifting gears as you speed up or slow down. While the transmission itself could have an issue, there is a possibility the clutch that engages the gears during shifting is the problem. Below are a couple of signs that your car's automatic transmission clutch is going bad.

1.  The Car Shakes When the Transmission Changes Gears

One sign that should alert you to a potential problem with your automatic transmission's clutch is when you start noticing that your car shakes whenever you feel the transmission shifting up or down. Normally, whenever your car changes gears, you should either not feel it at all, or only sense a slight vibration as the engine revs momentarily.

However, if the clutch is not fully engaging the gears within the transmission, it will be out of alignment until the teeth grab it. While the teeth are skipping, the strong vibrations will make the car shake until the clutch engages.

If this is happening, the gear teeth will eventually wear down to the point that they will no longer engage, making it necessary to replace them. Have the clutch inspected and replaced before this problem occurs.

2.  The Engine Races, But Your Car Does Not Speed Up

Another sign that there could be a problem with the clutch is when you notice that your engine races during gear changes. However, although the engine is revving up, your driving speed stays the same.

When working as intended, whenever you speed up or slow down, the transmission is signaled to engage the clutch so that it can switch to the proper gear. However, if the clutch is going bad, there will be a delay in this engagement, which in turn, causes a delay in the gear change.

Not only does the clutch delay cause wearing of the transmission, but it can also affect your car's engine. If the engine continuously revs too high without the transmission compensating, it could blow a head gasket or damage the pistons.

If your vehicle is exhibiting the above signs, there is a good chance that the transmission's clutch is going bad. If you continue to drive with a failing clutch, it could do further damage to the automatic transmission, requiring extensive repairs. Before this happens, take your car in for repairs so that they can verify that the clutch is bad and replace it and any stripped gears. For more information about transmission repair, talk with an auto technician.