Here’s Why Your Transmission is Slipping

The way to tell if your transmission is slipping is easy.

image of a transmission torque converter in pieces during repair.Does your car drive in a certain gear, then suddenly change gears for no reason? Your car might feel under-powered and struggle while accelerating. Do you hear a whining sound? If the engine revs, but your car doesn’t speed up, the transmission is slipping.

  • Sudden gear changes
  • Engine revving
  • Slow acceleration
  • Whining sound

Slipping is one of the most common things a transmission does when it needs maintenance or repair – but what causes a transmission to slip?

There are two main factors that cause a transmission to slip:

  • Worn out components
  • Low fluid pressure
Worn out components in the transmission, such as the gears, cause slipping.

Worn out transmission gears cause erratic shifting, and can cause the engine to over-rev as it changes gears.  The parts in the transmission wear out over time from normal driving, but there ways to reduce wear and help them last longer. The best and easiest thing you can do is change your transmission fluid according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, and always use the same kind. Fresh fluid ensures there are no foreign particles in the operation of the transmission and its components. Other factors that contribute to quicker transmission wear and tear is towing heavy loads and driving hard and fast. Your driving habits can have a huge impact on the life expectancy of your transmission.

Low transmission fluid is one of the most common and easily fixed causes of transmission slipping.

image of car on lift, transmission fluid draining out.Low transmission fluid level will result in a lack of internal pressure within the transmission assembly. For the torque converter to transmit engine torque to the transmission, the converter must be filled with fluid. This lack of pressure will stop the transmission from fully engaging, which makes it feel like its slipping. Lack of pressure will cause the transmission to perform poorly, such as missing gears, shifting hard, and even jumping between gears.

Low transmission fluid is an issue all by itself and can lead to other problems.

You need to pay attention to low fluid, especially if your car is not performing correctly. Be aware that low transmission fluid is usually the result of a leak. Even if you top off the fluid yourself or get it changed by a mechanic, a leak will continuously put your transmission, your car – even you – in jeopardy. You should have your transmission checked and any leaks found and fixed as soon as possible.

Other signs of transmission trouble you need to know.

Here are some signs of serious transmission issues that you should not ignore. If you experience any of these, have your transmission checked by an expert technician as soon as possible.

  • Revving engine or high RPM (over 3,500)
  • Inability to reverse
  • Difficulty shifting gears
  • Delays in acceleration
  • Unusual or burnt smells
  • Check engine light
  • Hard shifting gears or thudding
  • Strange noises – whining, grinding

AAMCO Colorado – Your Transmission Experts

image of girl smiling, sitting in driver seat, hand on steering wheel, looking at you over shoulder out window.Visit an AAMCO Colorado transmission repair and total car care center near you when issues arise and you need to have your transmission checked or serviced. Call or book an appointment online.
If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance topics, AAMCO Colorado can help. You can also use the AAMCO Colorado Ask a Mechanic feature to submit your auto repair questions. They will be answered by a real AAMCO Colorado mechanic as soon as possible.

Get More Knowledge On Transmissions

My Car Rolls When I Put It In Park

If you have an automatic transmission, you expect your car to stay in place when you put it in park. If your car rolls when in park, or your transmission is slipping or you’re experiencing other issues, bring your car to AAMCO for a complete multi-point inspection. This will help identify any possible issues that need to be repaired. Read more…

Reasons Your Transmission is Overheating

If your transmission is running hot, be aware of possible causes. Most transmission problems are a result of overheating. The reasons for overheating include low fluid levels, leaks, burned, old or ineffective fluid, and problems with the solenoid. You can ensure the long life and efficient performance of your transmission – and your car – by doing some things to make sure it does not run too hot. Read more…

Change Your Transmission Filter

A transmission filter prevents dirt and debris from getting into the gears and other parts of the transmission system. It is positioned above the transmission pan, which collects excess fluid, and below the pickup tube that connects to the oil pump, which regulates the pressure of fluid in the transmission. Read more…

Why Does My Car Shake When Stopped or Idling?

Your car should run smoothly, whether moving or stopped. If it shakes while it idles, you could be in for a visit to the mechanic. When your car is functioning properly it should run smoothly in all driving modes – moving fast, slowly, stopped and idling. A sign that the engine needs to be checked, and possibly need some repairs, is when your car shakes as it idles. Read more…

AAMCO Colorado Total Car Care Services

Ask a Mechanic

If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance topics, AAMCO Colorado can help. You can also go online and use the AAMCO Colorado Ask a Mechanic feature to submit your auto repair questions. They will be answered by a real AAMCO Colorado mechanic as soon as possible.