Transmission Slip; What is it and how do I fix it?
Does your car shudder when shifting gears, buck when you accelerate, or have trouble climbing up hills? Those are all common signs and symptoms of the infamous transmission slip. A slipping transmission is typically a sign of major transmission problems that can ultimately leave you stranded on the side of the road if left unattended. When your transmission quits completely you will have to decide between rebuilding your old transmission or buying a new, rebuilt, or remanufactured transmission. All of which can cost thousands of dollars.
But wait, how does a transmission slip occur in the first place?
What Causes Transmission Slips
A transmission slip happens to indicate other problems deep inside of your gearbox. You can often avoid a slipping transmission with excellent maintenance, but sometimes a transmission slip is a manifestation of old, tired parts in your gearbox assembly. Here are a few common causes of a transmission slip:
- Inadequate Transmission Fluid Levels
Transmission fluid is designed to cool down the transmission. The fluid can only withstand high temperatures to a certain degree, and if your transmission experiences constant overheating, it can break down the fluid.
Transmission fluid also reduces friction in the transmission, which, of course, reduces wear and tear. When the liquid is too low, the parts may grind against each other, which eats away at the internal gears within the bell housing.
It is, therefore, recommended that you check the transmission fluid regularly along with fluid changes at appropriate intervals to avoid a possible slipping transmission in the future.
- Old Transmission Bands
Transmission bands create the connection between the gears in your transmission. Over time those transmission bands will wear, along with the gears, until the bands ultimately end up sliding off of the gears, which in turn causes the transmission to “slip”.
When you suspect that your transmission band is faulty, you should visit your mechanic to see what your options are. The 5R55W transmission is infamous for its transmission bands wearing out too quickly. If the transmission bands in your 5R55W transmission wear out, go look at rebuilt 5R55W transmissions at Reman-Transmission.
- Worn Out Gears
Gears are what help the transmission distribute speed and torque in an efficient manner. When the teeth of the transmission gears wear out after hundreds of thousands of miles, they lose the grip required to function correctly.
A consumer can opt to try and find a mechanic that will just rebuild the transmission which only fixes the gears that are faulty, or decide to have the entire transmission remanufactured.
- Faulty Torque Converters
Torque converters are responsible for changing the engine’s power (horsepower) to torque (Pounds feet – lb.-ft). When the torque converter is defective, there is a high likelihood that you will experience a transmission slip.
- Damaged Clutches
The clutch plays a significant role in your vehicle. Clutches convey torque to the transmission. Whether it’s your clutch’s flywheel, the driven friction disc, or the pressure plate that is damaged, your car will experience a transmission slip when your clutch is damaged.
Therefore, it would be best if you made it a habit to ask your mechanic to check on your clutch’s health each time to take your vehicle in for servicing.
- Broken Solenoid Valve
The solenoid valve controls the amount of fluid going into the transmission. When the valve breaks down over time, your transmission may end up receiving too much or too little fluid. A damaged solenoid valve can also cause spillage of the transmission fluid, which is both detrimental to your transmission and wasteful at the same time.
Maintaining a healthy transmission means checking for solenoid valve wear and tear. An excellent mechanic will always advise you on the best time to change it.
What Happens to Your Vehicle When Your Transmission Slips?
When a transmission slips, your vehicle will have trouble getting up to speed or even fail to function at all. A common symptom is when the driver pushes the accelerator pedal, but the car will not respond. The vehicle may also change gears without your prompt, which is dangerous, especially if you are driving at a high speed or on a curvy road with traffic.
It is always advised to take your vehicle to your local mechanic at the earliest notice of a transmission slip.
What Can You Do To Avoid A Transmission Slip?
A transmission slip can affect your car’s acceleration, make your engine rev too high, and have a hard time shifting gears. It would help, therefore, if you took preventative maintenance actions to slow the wear and tear on your transmission. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Always ensure that your transmission has enough transmission fluid
- Follow the recommended procedures when adding or checking the transmission fluid
- Install a larger trans cooler to your vehicle
- Engage your vehicles emergency brake before putting it in park
- Ensure that your vehicle’s transmission is regularly checked
- Do not haul anything over your vehicles rated towing/ hauling capacity
Should I Replace or Repair my Transmission?
A transmission slip can vary in degree and frequency of occurrence. Sometimes transmission slips can be mild and repairable at home with a transmission fluid flush and filter change. Another common home remedy for a transmission slip involves changing the solenoid valve, which often becomes faulty. Whichever the case, a bad transmission will always have a negative impact on fuel economy. Read more about how your transmission affects your fuel economy in this informative article.
On the other hand, some transmission slips can be severe and occur often. If that is the case you may need to consider having your entire transmission rebuilt, or look at transmission replacement options. Transmission repair, especially for transmissions like the 5R55W, is a complicated undertaking that you shouldn’t try unless you are a certified mechanic.
Rebuild or Buy a Remanufactured Transmission
The cost of rebuilding a transmission that has a severe slip can sometimes be highly expensive, especially in advanced stages of a transmission slip where an entire replacement is the only option to fix it. Oftentimes consumers look to remanufactured transmissions as the best replacement option not only because they are more affordable than new transmissions, but also because remanufactured transmissions are notably more reliable than rebuilt transmissions.