A crack in the tooth root, which often leads to failure in gear unit operation, is the most undesirable damage caused to gear units. This article deals with fault analyses of gear units with real damages. Numerical simulations of real operating conditions have been used in relation to the formation of those damages. A laboratory test plant has been used and a possible damage can be identified by monitoring vibrations. The influences of defects of a single-stage gear unit upon the vibrations they produce are presented. Signal analysis has been performed also in concern to a non-stationary signal, using the Time Frequency Analysis tools. Typical spectrograms, which are the result of reactions to damages, are a very reliable indication of the presence of damages.