A Complete Guide to Your Chevy Cobalt Transmission

Because of its affordability and reliability, the Chevy Cobalt is among the most common cars you'll see on the road today, despite the fact it was only made for a span of a few years. This popularity means lots of owners driving lots of Cobalts, but it also means lots of need for information about taking care of the Cobalt. If you own a Cobalt, or any other car for that matter, one of the parts you should be most aware of is your transmission. Here's everything you need to know about the function and maintenance of your Chevy Cobalt's transmission.

What Does Your Transmission Do?

As you almost certainly know, the power for your car is provided by its engine. However, in order for the energy generated by combustion in the engine to be delivered to the wheels, it must first be conveyed indirectly to the powered axle. Your transmission is a critical link in the chain of transferring force from the engine to your wheels, as it is the part that is connected directly to the engine. Inside your transmission, there are multiple different gears that engage as your engine moves up through its RPM range. These gears may either be engaged by hand, as in a manual transmission, or in a preset manner, as in an automatic transmission. These gears, which work in different ratios, allow force to be transmitted seamlessly as the engine reaches higher speeds.

Can Transmissions Wear Out?

Like engines, transmissions are remarkably durable, especially considering the mechanically precise demands that are placed on them. As a result, few people really think about their transmissions wearing out. Nevertheless, time and continuous use wear down transmissions just as they do any other car part. Aside from regular wear and tear, transmissions are also subject to sudden failure for various reasons. In a manual transmission, such as the five-speed transmissions that some Cobalts are equipped with, improper shifting can cause significant damage to the gearbox, resulting in failure to shift. The degree to which this affects the vehicle will depend on the exact nature of the damage. In some cases, it will prevent the transmission from engaging at all or keep in stuck in a single gear. In others, it will only be one gear that will not engage. Another common problem that can cause transmissions to give out suddenly is a leak of transmission fluid, which is the hydraulic fluid contained within a transmission. If this fluid begins leaking, the transmission will begin to have a harder and harder time shifting into different gears, eventually losing the ability altogether than the fluid runs out. This can also cause permanent physical damage to the gears of the transmission.

How to Tell Your Transmission is Going Out?

Depending on exactly what is wrong with the transmission in your Chevy Cobalt, you might notice one or more of several signs that its transmission is having problems. If you have an automatic transmission, one of the most common symptoms of a bad transmission is a failure to shift as your engine enters a higher RPM range. When this happens, you'll hear the engine running faster, but your car's speed won't increase. If you're driving a Cobalt with a manual transmission, you might notice that it's getting harder to shift into one or more gears as you drive. This can be indicative of wear. However, there are other issues that can cause this, such as a bad clutch, so don't jump immediately to the transmission. A preliminary sign that something might be about to go wrong with your transmission is a small transmission fluid leak. If you're seeing small puddles forming under your transmission where your car is parked, there's probably a leak. Even though it might take some time to affect your transmission's function, especially if the leak is very small, you should repair it right away rather than waiting for it to become a problem.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Something you should do on a regular basis is check the fluid level in your Chevy Cobalt's transmission. Even if there isn't a leak, it may need a slight top off from time to time. Checking automatic transmission fluid is fairly easy, but there is a precise way to do it. First, let your engine run for a couple of minutes, just enough to warm it up. Next, pull out the transmission dipstick. Just like an oil dipstick, your transmission dipstick will indicate the proper fluid level. Before you check it, however, wipe it off with a rag, reinsert it and then pull it back out, as this will give you a more accurate read. If your automatic transmission fluid is low, you can top it off a little by funneling some additional fluid into the dipstick tube. You should also look carefully at the fluid on your dipstick. If it is too opaque or seems to have solid material in it, it's time for a complete change of the old fluid.

Extending the Life of Your Cobalt's Transmission

There are a few steps you can take to make sure that the transmission in your Chevy Cobalt stays in good shape over the years. First and foremost, if you own a Cobalt with a manual transmission, try to shift gently. Shifting too suddenly puts undue strain on your transmission, causing it to wear out faster. You should also be sure to keep your transmission fluid topped off, as running on too little fluid can damage an automatic transmission slowly over time.


If you have suffered damage to your Chevy Cobalt and need a new automatic or manual transmission to get it back on the road, be sure to get the best value on GMWarehouseDirect.com. Since 1929, we've been providing customers with great service and excellent pricing. Wherever you live, we've got the genuine OEM parts your GM-manufactured car needs to stay in the best possible condition.