What You Need to Know About Transmission Slipping and Your Car

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A slipping transmission is a sign that your vehicle needs maintenance or repair. It is not always a sign that the transmission is failing, but a slipping transmission should never be ignored. We’ve compiled some basic signs and symptoms of a transmission slip, as well as what to do if your transmission is slipping.

What Does a Car’s Transmission Do?

To figure out if your transmission is slipping, it helps to understand the purpose of a car’s transmission and a little bit about how it works. The transmission transfers the energy produced by the car’s engine to the wheels. The internal combustion engine of your vehicle creates power and the transmission converts that power into torque, or rotational energy. The torque is then conveyed to the axles and rotates the wheels.

What is a Slipping Transmission?

When a transmission slips, it is not properly transferring the energy from the engine to the wheels. It may feel like the vehicle is slow to respond, or does not respond at all when you press the gas pedal. Or it could feel like your car changes gears suddenly without any apparent reason.

Common Signs of a Slipping Transmission

It is not always easy to diagnose a slipping transmission. There are a few common signs that you should definitely not ignore. Some of the more commons signs of a slipping transmission include:

  • Engine revving, specifically RPMs (revolutions per minute) that exceed 3,000-3,500
  • A high-pitched whistling noise from the engine with grinding sounds
  • Delayed acceleration
  • Delay when shifting from park to drive or reverse
  • Car shifting at unexpected times
  • Loss of engine power

How to Fix a Slipping Transmission?

A transmission can slip for several different reasons and some of the causes are far easier to fix that others. For example, a clogged transmission filter, low transmission fluid, or even burnt transmission fluid can all cause a transmission to slip and are not that difficult to fix. You’re looking at a more severe problem however if the transmission slips as a result of worn or broken transmission gears or bands.

Since low or ineffective transmission fluid is a likely cause of a slipping transmission, it can make a world of difference to do a transmission flush. This is when an ASE-certified technician flushes the transmission with fresh transmission fluid and cleans the entire system. Any burnt or ineffective fluid is flushed out. A transmission flush can also get rid of any contaminants that may have been preventing the proper flow of transmission fluid.

There are transmission fluid additives available that can help, to an extent, with some transmission slipping. These additives can help to improve friction or remove varnish buildup in the transmission. They cannot repair damaged gears or other internal parts of your transmission. Additionally, you should not use any transmission additive that contains solvents. Solvents can cause the seals in your transmission to wear more quickly by lowering your transmission fluid’s lubrication.

If you have had a transmission flush and tried an additive to no avail, you may have a serious transmission problem. The clutch may need to be adjusted or replaced. The bands may need adjustment or replacement. The gears themselves may even need to be replaced. In any of the instances, the transmission must be dismantled to perform these repairs.

Slipping Transmissions in Kearns, Utah

If you think your transmission is slipping, it is better to deal with it now than to wait until later. A transmission slip that can be resolved with a transmission flush today may require more costly repairs in the very near future. If you are around Kearns, UT and have any signs of a slipping transmission, contact Ace Auto Repair today. We’ll help get you and your vehicle back in gear.

ASE Certified Mechanic in Kearns, UT
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