5 Common Causes Of Transmission Slipping

Posted on: 12 April 2023


Your transmission is responsible for distributing the energy created by your engine to your wheels, and it should make shifts cleanly and smoothly to ensure that happens. However, transmissions can sometimes start to slip. This essentially means that your vehicle 'slips' into a gear that doesn't match its current speed.

A slipping transmission is something you'll want to address as soon as possible since it can reduce your control over the vehicle. Additionally, addressing the underlying issue now can help prevent more serious problems in the future.

With that in mind, here are just five common causes of transmission slipping.

1. Low Transmission Fluid

As you should already know, your transmission system requires transmission fluid. If transmission fluid ever leaks away or starts to become contaminated, your system won't have the pressure required to change gears properly. As such, you'll start to notice your vehicle straining during shifting and taking much longer to get into the next gear up or down. As such, checking the transmission fluid should always be your first task after your vehicle starts slipping gears.

2. Bad Brake Band

Your transmission's brake band is responsible for stopping the gears from turning long enough to make a shift. Unfortunately, a worn band will take longer to hold the gear drum in place, which means RPMs will suddenly increase whenever you shift gears. This means you will be slipping between gears rather than moving smoothly.

3. Worn Gears

Gears feature a number of teeth that must grip each other in order to work. However, gears can wear down over time, and those teeth will usually be the first parts to suffer. When this happens, your gears won't be able to grip as effectively as before, so it's common for them to start slipping. 

4. Bad Torque Converter

If you have an automatic transmission, your vehicle will be fitted with a torque converter. This is an essential part since it is what transfers power from the engine. It uses transmission fluid to build the pressure necessary to properly transfer torque, but a failing torque converter will start struggling to build enough pressure. When this happens, it will usually lead to a slipping transmission.

5. Faulty Shift Solenoids

Solenoids are electrically activated valves that help control the flow of transmission fluid. Since controlling that fluid is vital for proper shifting, faulty solenoids will often cause a transmission to slip. In some cases, you may even find it impossible to shift at all.

Contact a transmission servicing provider to learn more.