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3 Problems That Can Cause Transmission Slipping


One of the most common transmission problems involves slipping between gears. This issue often manifests as a lack of power or responsiveness when attempting to accelerate. You may also find that your engine revs to high RPMs without any noticeable response in terms of movement — at least until the transmission engages and you suddenly lurch forward.

This upsetting and potentially dangerous problem will only grow worse if not attended to quickly. Fortunately, an experienced transmission technician can often resolve the problem by diagnosing the underlying cause. If you would like to learn more about some of the things that can cause a transmission to slip, keep reading. This article will delve into three frequent causes of transmission slipping.

1. Insufficient Transmission Fluid

By far, the most common culprit behind a slipping transmission is an insufficient amount of fluid in the system. Transmission fluid lies at the heart of your transmission. Without it, the system has no means to transfer power from your engine to your wheels. Transmission fluid accomplishes this goal through the power of hydraulics.

Dropping transmission fluid levels generally indicate that a leak has occurred somewhere in the system. Unless attended to, the slipping will likely grow worse and worse as time goes on. Not only that, but your transmission system will be at a greater risk of overheating as well.

2. Excessively Old Fluid

Transmission slipping can still occur even when fluid levels remain with acceptable limits. In that event, you may have issues because your transmission fluid has simply grown too old. Over time, transmission fluid naturally accumulates contaminants from outside the system. These contaminates decrease the fluid's effectiveness at transferring force.

Many such contaminants stem from the breakdown of the fluid itself. This kind of breakdown happens as the result of the intense conditions beneath your car's hood. Transmission fluid often experiences wild temperature changes. Excessive temperatures can even cause the fluid to burn, leading to the formation of sludge deposits.

Inspecting the color of your transmission fluid is one of the best ways to gauge its freshness. New transmission fluid has a bright reddish color. As the fluid ages, it will grow gradually darker, eventually reaching a near-black color. This color indicates that your system needs to be flushed and filled back up with fresh fluid.

3. Worn Bands

All transmissions contain metal straps known as bands. One side of the band contains a special friction material. When your transmission engages one of the bands, it tightens around a section of the gear train, preventing it from moving. Each time you shift gears, the action of the bands changes, allowing the transmission to assume a different configuration.

Transmission bands must withstand a lot of force in their day-to-day lives. Eventually, this force will cause them to become excessively worn and stretched. As a result, the band may no longer be able to grip its gears strongly enough. As the gear continues to turn despite the band's best attempt to stop it, your transmission will slip.

In some cases, technicians can adjust the tension of a loose band to restore proper functionality. Yet eventually a worn transmission band will break outright. This may make it impossible to activate certain gears in your car.

You should not take a slipping transmission lightly. Unless you have a professional mechanic evaluate the source of the problem, it will likely grow worse, potentially leading to the need for more costly repairs. For more information on what it takes to keep transmission slipping at bay, contact the transmission repair experts at American & Foreign Transmission Service. We can diagnose the problem and fix any other issues your car has.