Transmission Slipping

A slipping transmission is a serious issue, particularly for an automatic transmission. If your car is showing signs of a slipping transmission, you’ll need to get it to a reputable transmission repair shop right away to avoid more damage. What may start out as a small, inexpensive repair could turn into a much larger and more expensive repair down the road if you continue to drive with your transmission in disrepair. Slipping doesn’t necessarily mean that your transmission is close to failure, however it is a sign that maintenance is required. Because of the complexity of automatic transmissions, there are several possible causes of transmission slipping, whereas for manual transmissions, problems are usually related to the clutch.

Signs Your Transmission is Slipping

There are a few common signs that you should keep an eye out for when attempting to determine if you have a possible transmission issue. Signs of a slipping transmission will appear in a wide variety of forms when you are driving. Signs can include, but are not limited to:

  • High RPMs (over 3,500)
  • Delays in acceleration
  • Inability to reverse
  • Unusual or burning smells
  • Check Engine light
  • Difficulty shifting gears
  • Shifting gears produces grinding or jerking

If you notice any of these symptoms, your transmission is most likely showing signs of a transmission problem. There are a few causes for these symptoms and we strongly suggest having your transmission diagnosed thoroughly by a qualified transmission expert.

What causes a transmission to slip?

  • Low fluid levels: the most common cause of transmission problems is low fluid levels. Too little transmission fluid will cause a variety of issues, like overheating and not enough hydraulic pressure to engage the gears. The best way to determine if you have low fluid is to have Eagle Transmission check and make sure that there is an adequate amount of fluid and that there are no leaks present.
  • Burned fluid: healthy transmission fluid is a bright reddish color. Burned fluid has a burnt toast smell and a blackish color. Fluid burns when your transmission overheats. If this happens, you’ll need to have your transmission fluid changed as soon as possible and have the transmission diagnosed by a qualified transmission expert to determine why the transmission is overheating to begin with and prevent more harm.
  • Worn or broken bands: bands within your transmission will wear out and break overtime, which will cause your transmission to slip. The bands are what links gears within the transmission. To fix this situation, you’ll need to replace the ruined band.
  • Clutch issues: both automatic and manual transmissions use clutches. Automatics have clutch plates throughout the transmission and inside the converter which can become worn or burnt in the event of too little transmission fluid.
  • Worn out gears: as with anything else, the gears within your transmission will wear out over time. This is usually because of regular wear and tear or an ill-fitting set. Worn or damaged gears don’t properly link together and this could cause a hard shift.
  • Solenoid issues: the coil is an electro-hydraulic valve and its job is to regulate the flow of transmission fluid through your transmission. Any damage or electronic problems will cause the incorrect amounts of fluid to be distributed.
  • Torque converter problems: converters are what changes the engine’s power into torque, which the transmission uses to make your car move. Converters can become worn over time. If transmission fluid fails to flow through the converter, your transmission will behave poorly and transmission slipping is a sign. 

How to Fix Transmission Slipping

Sometimes fixing a transmission slipping issue can be as easy as checking the fluid and either modify the levels, change the fluid entirely, or repair any leaks. On the other hand, issues such as repairing clutches, bands, or gears would require more labor-intensive work and call for dismantling the transmission. These jobs require a qualified transmission technician from Eagle Transmission.

How to Prevent Transmission Slipping

To prevent your transmission from developing a slipping problem, you’ll need to regularly maintain the health of your transmission by having a technician check the fluid levels and change the fluid or filter if necessary. Preventative maintenance is always the best way to avoid any automotive issues.