What Causes Transmission Slipping?
Is Your Transmission Slipping? This is a common sign of a transmission problem. Automatic transmissions transmit power from the engine to the rear drive wheels by smoothly shifting through a variety of low- and high-level gears to provide a comfortable, non-jarring ride. Automatic transmissions have complex interior workings that must all function precisely so it can deliver smooth shifts and attain the best fuel economy for each gear speed. Although some warning symptoms of a slipping transmission can be easily solved, problems related to transmission failure will result in a complete transmission overhaul or rebuild.
Low Fluid Level
- To first thing to check on a slipping transmission is the fluid level. Check the dip stick when the engine has reached normal operating temperature, with the engine running. No fluid appearance on the dip stick end (marker) means the minimum fluid level has been reached or surpassed. This could indicate the transmission has lost too much fluid to keep the valves and pumps of the transmission filled so they operate properly. Filling to the prescribed mark on the dip stick can remedy this problem.
- Check the dip stick to assess the condition of the transmission fluid. Good quality transmission fluid has a clean, red coloration to it that gives off no particular foul odors. Contaminated fluid can look like mud or have a frothy brown or yellow coloration to it. Old fluid that has not been changed can have similar coloration but feels gritty in the fingertips and gives off a burnt smell. Such fluid that has overheated or has lost its chemical viscosity can no longer lubricate and flow through the transmission properly. Contaminated fluid requires a complete flush–emptying the transmission, torque converter, and transmission coolant lines, and replacing the filter.
- Transmission fluid can leak from the torque converter, the transmission pan gasket, the cooling line connections, the input or output transmission bearing seals, or from the filler tube or sensor location. Transmission fluid can also leak at the bottom radiator or at the line fittings there. If the leak appears small, some additives can seal the leak. Rubber transmission seals can also be softened (rejuvenated) with the use of transmission additives. Find the correct additive product that complies with your transmission’s specifications.
Mechanical Transmission Failure
- If the vehicle refuses to shift into any one gear, slips or fails to go into reverse, the problem might be an internal source. Delayed or erratic shifting can also point to an internal problem, including inoperative vacuum linkage controls, cracked vacuum lines, or faulty bands and clutches. Transmissions that have more than 100,000 miles on them can slip due to the bands and clutches that allow the gears to be engaged. Depending on driver abuse, transmission failure may occur with less mileage. Bands and clutches function somewhat like a gearbox pressure plate and clutch, and wear away similarly. In this case, a complete inspection of the transmission and possible rebuild must be performed to solve the problem.
Do you think you are in need of a transmission rebuild or transmission repair? Call us today at 704-821-3460. We have the most advanced transmission testing equipment in Charlotte and can test your vehicle for trouble codes and problems. All diagnostics are free.