Taking care of transmission repair work is essential to keeping your car on the road. Detecting whether an auto transmission repair job is in your near future, though, can be difficult. Transmission problems may slowly sneak up on folks. By monitoring your ride's behavior, you can spot these three issues and get out in front of any possible trouble.

Red Fluid on the Ground

Transmission fluid has a dark red color to it, and it can drip out from the transmission system onto the ground. If you're seeing any signs of red fluid dripping on the ground, such as in the space where you park your car, you'll want to have a technician look at it. While there's a chance that it may be a power steering issue, as some systems use transmission fluid for that job, you're still going to want to get it checked out regardless of which problem it is.

The Check Engine Light

If the check engine light comes on, you can connect your vehicle to a digital scanner called an OBD-II system to read the code. Many auto parts places will perform scans for free using their own equipment, and some will even loan or rent scanners for use by customers. If the code comes back as one related to the transmission, then it's time to go to a service station. Indicator lights don't always do a great job of flagging trouble so don't depend solely on them coming on to let you know when to take action.

A Gear Just Isn't There

When shifting through gears while driving a car, the feel of how the power changes should be evident. In some cases, the gear just won't be there. For example, you might be in third gear and going up a hill. When the transmission drops into second gear, you just won't have any power.

You should be able to manually select a different gear, even if you're running a car with an automatic transmission. While it's not great for a car to run this way, you can use it to get the vehicle safely off the road or home. Most modern cars are RPM governed, but you should still be careful about over-revving the engine if you end up using a lower gear to drive.

Be aware some newer continuous transmission systems don't have traditional gears. That can make diagnosing their issue trickier.