Signs of transmission slipping are physical manifestations of issues with your car transmission system. The signs accompanying transmission issues are often frustrating as the car is often unable to generate enough power.
Also, if you fail to amend these issues, they may damage the entire transmission system. This article provides the signs for easy identification, the causes, and quick fixes.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 What Are the Causes of Slipping Transmission?
- 2 How To Fix Car Transmission Slipping Issues?
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
What Are the Causes of Slipping Transmission?
The causes of slipping transmission are having low or depleted transmission fluid. The fluid aids the optimum functioning of your car’s transmission system. Therefore, if the fluid level is low or of poor quality, it won’t be enough to perform its function – consequently, transmission slips.
Transmission Fluid Issues
The primary function of the transmission liquid is to lubricate and cool down the transmission components, preventing heat buildup from friction. However, when the transmission oil is lower than the gauge level, it cannot function effectively.
This may arise from other issues, such as transmission fluid leaks or it gets burnt. Whatever the cause, when the fluid is insufficient, there’s increased friction and heat, resulting in a slipping gearing system.
Another issue with transmission liquid is contamination or quality issues. Ideally, you should change gear fluids during routine maintenance as you service your car. As the fluid performs its function, it starts to degrade and lose its lubricating quality, so over time it becomes ineffective. Therefore, if you fail to change the spent fluid regularly, you will experience this car issue.
Defective Torque Converter
The torque converter (fluid coupling) is an integral engine part. It is responsible for transferring power in the form of torque from the engine to the transmission. Therefore, when the converter is faulty, this fault carries to the transmission, which can be in the form of slipping. The torque converter issue may arise from typical wear and tear, worn needle bearings, worn transmission liquids, etc.
Indeed, automatic transmissions don’t have the typical mechanical clutch in manual gear transmission. However, they also have clutch packs and a torque converter that performs the role of manual clutches.
Your car, especially modern and sophisticated vehicles, has increasing functionalities managed by software programmed by the manufacturers. Therefore, even though it’s rare, your car’s transmission issue may be associated with error codes. The more reason we recommend consulting with an expert when you notice faults with your vehicle.
Typical software issues affecting your transmission include problems with the electronic control unit (ECU), sensor malfunctioning, etc. If there’s a fault or glitch with one of these systems, it may transmit into the transmission, causing problems.
Faulty Transmission Solenoid
The solenoid is an electro-hydraulic valve present in sophisticated auto-transmissions. Its primary function is effective gear engagement and controlling the free flow fluid throughout the car’s transmission system.
Therefore, issues with the solenoid, such as its sticking, may cause incorrect fluid flow and delay in shifting gears, among other signals of transmission problems.
Faults With Internal Components of the Transmission
The car transmission system consists of components such as gear teeth, transmission bands, clutch packs, valve body, etc. Faults with either of these components will result in issues with the car transmission. The main suspect for these faults is wear and tear or low transmission fluids. However, engaging in routine servicing and maintenance practices can help prevent transmission slipping issues.
How To Fix Car Transmission Slipping Issues?
To fix car transmission slipping issues, start by addressing the cause; usually a low fluid level, a leak, or a degrading fluid. Immediately notice the slipping symptoms, then check the gear oil level and check for possible signs of a leak if it’s low.
However, if the cause of the slipping issues arises from more severe problems like worn or defective bands, you should seek the help of a mechanic. As cases like this often required the disassembly of the clutches and gear during repairs. The same goes for repairs involving the torque converter and the solenoids.
Inspect and Top-up Low Fluid Level
Routine transmission oil inspection is the easiest way to prevent this issue. We recommend doing this once or twice a month, depending on how often you drive and the condition of your vehicle. To do this, ensure your car is parked, pop the hood, and reach for the dipstick.
However, it is crucial to keep the car running when checking the oil gauge, as this ensures that the car’s internal pump is also in action, ensuring you obtain an accurate result. Now, completely insert the dipstick into the tube, so you can use the oil stains to gauge the fluid.
If you notice the oil is not reaching the required level, add more oil for better lubrication if your engine components and to prevent further damage. On the other hand, if the oil is thin, dark-colored, dirty, or has a burnt smell, the fluid is already degrading and needs immediate replacement.
Drain and Refill Degrading Fluid
If, after inspecting the fluid, you notice it needs to be changed, you can do it yourself. However, you should know it’s pretty messy, and if you prefer to avoid getting your hands dirty, just visit the auto shop for professional assistance.
First, ensure that your car is switched off and properly parked. Next, jack up the vehicle and unbolt the pan using the appropriate tools. As you start loosening the pan, you’d notice the worn fluid is already draining, so you might need to put a container under it to collect it. Now, you should replace the old filter and the transmission pan gasket with a new one.
Afterward, refix the unbolt pan, and remember to tighten it, so there won’t be a leak when introducing fresh fluids. Now, you can introduce the new fluid, and your car is back in good condition with no transmission issues. However, you should check around to confirm there are no leaks.
Replace Damaged Parts Causing Fluid Leak
If you notice the fluid is leaking, topping up will not be enough. Instead, it’s best to find the source, as even upon adding more fluids, it’ll just continue leaking, and the opening may begin to expand, potentially leading to more severe issues.
Possible areas to look out for when detecting the leak’s source include the transmission pan gasket, transmission lines, cracks, openings in valves and solenoids, etc. You see repairing or replacing these worn parts is often more tasking, and may require the help of an expert. However, many experienced DIY-ers will often research the issue and find out how to address it.
On the other hand, if you are unsure about addressing the repair yourself, it’s best to take your vehicle to an auto shop where an experienced mechanic will handle the problem. Or else, you end up causing more severe issues attempting to repair the worn parts.
Replace Entire Transmission
If all effort to identify the cause of the transmission slipping issues fails, then this is the last resort. Again, it’s best to seek out a reputable repair shop for the best services. That said, for a simple repair, such as fluid change, they may charge around $80 and $250.
However, for more complex transmission issues, such as changing the entire transmission, it may cost you over a thousand, or even up to $6,000, depending on the issue, the car type, year, and model.
What Are the Signs of Slipping Transmission?
The signs of slipping transmission are erratic or delayed gear shifting, with the vehicle seeming sluggish and slow to respond. This is the primary signal of a defective transmission, which may accompany a slight hesitation or pause as you attempt to switch gears.
You may hear a jerking transmission slipping sound as you attempt to shift gears. In severe cases, your car may not even go into gear at all. However, this issue is more pronounced in cars with manual transmissions. In manual transmission gears, users often have to switch the gears themselves.
You may hear whining, jerking, or grounding sounds as you switch gears or the gear changes (in an automatic transmission) while driving. Also, as you drive further, you may notice your car jerking forward or backward. You may even see automatic transmission slipping when acceleration. And if not amended, transmission issues may become severe.
How Can You Prevent Your Gear from Slipping?
You can prevent your gear from slipping by practicing routine maintenance checks and procedures. The main cause of gear slipping and other transmission issues is related to the fluid. Therefore, ensuring that the gear oil is at the normal level is critical for avoiding gear slipping.
Besides oil levels, you should also check the quality, and consult with your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure you are using the correct type of ATF fluid. Other measures include changing the fluid and filter after traveling for about 30,000 to 50,000 moles or after every two years. Also, ensure to take your car to the auto shop for routine servicing to ensure the proper functioning of all engine components.
Thus far, we have discussed the signs of transmission slip, the causes, and solutions.
Below we will make a quick recap of all the article entails.
- The main symptom that suggests your car’s transmission is slipping is delayed or erratic gearing. You find it challenging to switch gears or hear an abnormal slipping transmission sound.
- Other signs that your car has issues with the transmission include: difficulty maintaining high speeds or acceleration on highways, reduced fuel efficiency, low power generation, illumination of the warning engine light, etc.
- The main cause of issues with your car’s transmission is issues with the transmission fluid. It may be because it’s not up to the appropriate level, or it’s already degrading because you failed to change it after it was due.
- Other issues that may affect your transmission include faults with the clutch, torque converter, transmission solenoid, or other integral components of the transmission system.
- Transmission repairs that exceed improving low fluid levels are pretty tasking and time-wasting, so we recommend consulting with an expert.
When next you notice your transmission is slipping, the first thing to do is to check whether the fluid is at appropriate levels; if not, add more gear oil. However, there may be other underlying factors, such as a leak, so you should visit your mechanic.
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