The torque converter is a key component of your automobile. It needs to be working properly if you’re going to have a smooth ride. If it’s not working, you’re in trouble. The torque converter is a type of fluid coupling (also known as a hydraulic coupling) that transfers rotating mechanical power generated by the engine to a rotating driven load. The torque converter is an alternative to a mechanical clutch and in a vehicle with automatic transmission it connects the power source to the load. The torque converter is usually located between the engine’s flex plate and the transmission.
Torque converters can multiply torque. Simple fluid coupling can match rotational speed but cannot multiply torque, so using a torque converter allows for more power. Some torque converters are also equipped with a “lockup” mechanism which rigidly binds the engine to the transmission when their speeds are nearly equal in order to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency. In short, the torque converter is important. So how do you know if you have a bad one?
What Happens When A Torque Converter Goes Bad?
How can you know if you have a bad torque converter? What are the symptoms of a bad torque converter? Well, if your transmission has been slipping out of gear, this could be a symptom of a bad torque converter. This typically happens when you switch gears and your transmission slips into neutral of its own accord. Moreover, sounds such as shuddering, clunking, whirring, and humming are rarely good news. These could all be signs that something is amiss with your torque converter.
Your transmission tends to get hot, but heat is also the enemy of transmissions. Overheating is a problem that affects many transmissions and this can be caused by a faulty torque converter. High stall speeds are also a symptom of a bad torque converter. The trouble with all of these symptoms, though, is that there could be something wrong with your torque converter long before you notice any of them. That’s why monthly transmission fluid checks are crucial to maintaining a healthy transmission. Dirty transmission fluid –that is opaque or foul-smelling transmission fluid– can be a symptom of a bad torque converter.
What Causes Torque Converter Failure?
But what are some of the causes of all the aforementioned symptoms of a bad torque converter? Many problems can be caused by excessive friction which is usually a sign that a torque converter’s needle bearings have become damaged. Faulty seals are also a prime suspect; they allow fluid to leak and become contaminated. Faulty clutch solenoids are also common causes of torque converter failures.
Can A Bad Torque Converter Damage A Transmission?
Yes, absolutely. Bad torque converters can cause overheating, friction damage, and transmission fluid degradation. The longer these problems continue, the more damaged your transmission will get.
Does A Torque Converter Come With A Transmission?
Yes. Provided it’s an automatic transmission. Your transmission won’t be able to transfer power from the engine to the axles without a torque converter. In a manual transmission, the equivalent is the mechanical clutch. Sometimes a torque converter has to be replaced independent of the transmission.
To learn more about torque converters, please contact us.
Vehicles are complicated. Modern vehicles even moreso. It seems that ease of driving correlates with the complexity of how the machinery actually functions. Automatic transmissions are easier to drive than manual transmissions, because the transmission does more of the work for you. But just how they work can be quite confusing. If you would like to know a little more about what you’re driving every day, here are six basic facts about automatic transmissions.
1. Automatic Transmissions Are Different From Manual Transmissions
This one is kind of obvious, but there are significant differences between automatic and manual transmissions. Automatic transmissions are called such because they automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves. This frees the driver from having to shift gears manually. Like manual transmissions, the automatic transmission allows the engine to provide a range of speed and torque outputs that make vehicular travel possible. Another key difference between manual and automatic transmissions is that manual transmissions sometimes use transmission oil but automatic transmissions always use. . .
2. Automatic Transmissions Use Automatic Transmission Fluid
Automatic transmission fluid. It’s what keeps your automatic transmission running. It keeps it lubricated and helps to cool everything down.
3. Synthetic Transmission Fluid Is Usually Best
Check your vehicle’s manual to see which type of automatic transmission fluid your manufacturer recommends for your vehicle. Automatic transmissions often perform best when you use synthetic transmission fluid.
4. Check Your Automatic Transmission Fluid Regularly
Because your automatic transmission fluid is so integral to your vehicle’s performance, you should check it regularly. It’s a good idea to check your fluid every 16,000 kilometers or even every month just to make sure your levels are right and that the fluid is in good condition. If your transmission fluid looks opaque and/or smells bad, this is a sign that something is wrong. Bring your vehicle to a transmission shop.
5. Heat = Bad
Things tend to get hot under the hood of your vehicle. That’s unavoidable. But you have to be careful. Excess heat can do your transmission a world of damage. And it’s not hard to tip over that line from acceptable heat to dangerous temperatures. As many as 90% of all transmission failures can be caused by excess heat. Reducing heat means extending the lifespan of your vehicle. The best way to do this might be by installing an auxiliary cooler. This is especially a good idea if you use your vehicle for towing. An auxiliary cooler can reduce temperatures from 30% to 50%.
6. There Are Numerous Symptoms Of An Automatic Transmission Problem
Not sure if you have a problem with your automatic transmission? There are some telltale problems. You might have an automatic transmission problem if you experience any of the following:
Odd noises including whirring, humming, and clunking
If your transmission slips out of gear, typically by dropping into neutral right after you switched into drive or reverse
If your transmission offers resistance when you try to change gears and it grinds
Sudden changes in your Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
If you have any questions about automatic transmissions, Mister Transmission would be happy to answer them. For more information or to schedule an inspection or repair for your automatic transmission, please contact us.
The torque converter is a type of fluid coupling. What is a fluid coupling? A fluid coupling, also known as a hydraulic coupling, is a device used to transmit rotating mechanical power. It is an alternative to a mechanical clutch. So, the torque converter is one of these and it transfers rotating power generated by the engine to a rotating driven load. In an automatic transmission vehicle, the torque converter connects the power source to the load. The torque converter is typically located between the engine’s flexplate and the transmission. For a manual transmission vehicle, the equivalent component would be the mechanical clutch.
The main characteristic of a torque converter is its ability to multiply torque. This is key. Simple fluid coupling can match rotational speed but cannot multiply torque. As a result, using a torque converter allows for more power. Some torque converters are also equipped with a “lockup” mechanism. A lockup rigidly binds the engine to the transmission when their speeds are nearly equal in order to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency.
Torque Converter Problems
The torque converter can be involved in a lot of transmission problems. It’s not that these devices are poorly designed, they’re just so integral to the function of the transmission that if something goes wrong, it is probably affected. As an illustration of this, it is standard procedure to replace the torque converter in transmission overhauls. Transmission overhauls, which are also known as transmission rebuilds, involve removing the transmission from the chassis, taking it apart piece by piece, inspecting every piece, cleaning the ones that are still good and replacing the damaged ones. But good technicians don’t take chances on torque converters, they just replace them.
Symptoms Of Torque Converter Problems
Torque converters aren’t always the cause of your transmission problems. In fact, they’re rarely the cause. But they are almost always affected by any problem that your transmission does have. The takeaway from all this: torque converter problems rarely occur in isolation. If you have a problem with your torque converter, you probably have a problem with your transmission more broadly, and should bring your vehicle into a transmission shop for inspection. But how can you know if you have an issue with your torque converter? Well, some of the symptoms of torque converter problems are:
Dirty transmission fluid
High stall speeds
Strange noises, such as humming, whirring, or clunking
At Mister Transmission we have replaced hundreds, if not thousands, of torque converters and we can replace yours too, if necessary. Not sure if your torque converter is the problem? Don’t worry, our Mister Transmission Multi-Check Inspection is bound to find out if there is a problem with your torque converter or any other part of your transmission. To learn more about torque converters or our services, please contact us.
Transmission fluid: it’s important. If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission, your vehicle won’t work without automatic transmission fluid. Manual transmission vehicles can also use transmission fluid as well but can also use something called transmission oil. Regardless, the principle is much the same. You need transmission fluid to operate your vehicle. But your transmission fluid will need changing occasionally. How do you know when that is? This article will go over everything you need to know about transmission fluid changes (but were afraid to ask).
Without transmission fluid, you’ll have nothing to lubricate the various components within your transmission. The transmission is not one solid unit but rather a piece of machinery that is comprised of many constituent parts. All those parts need to be working together just so in order for the transmission to operate properly. What’s more, things can get hot under that hood, so transmission fluid is key because it can help cool everything down. There is no transmission problem in the world that cannot be caused or at least exacerbated by a lack of transmission fluid. But it’s not just quantity. Degraded transmission fluid can also cause serious problems for your transmission.
How Often Do I Need To Check My Transmission Fluid?
You should check your transmission fluid every month. Using the dipstick under your vehicle’s hood, check your transmission fluid levels and if they’re not where they should be, top them up. If you find yourself topping up your fluid levels every month, you’ve got a problem. You either have a leak or your transmission is somehow evaporating your fluid at a quick pace. Check under your vehicle after you’ve been parked for a while to see if any transmission fluid is leaking. If you have a leak or can’t pinpoint the problem, bring your vehicle into a mister transmission shop where it can be inspected by technicians.
What Should Transmission Fluid Look Like?
Transmission fluid in good working order should be largely translucent with a reddish hue. If it is opaque, then the fluid has been damaged or degraded. If the fluid is foul smelling or smells of burning, this is indicative of a transmission problem.
How Often Do I Need To Change My Transmission Fluid?
This is perhaps the most common question when it comes to transmission fluid. How often are transmission fluid changes required? Well, if you notice your transmission fluid is damaged, you have to change it. But this will probably be after an inspection and any repairs have been conducted, so it’s likely this will be handled by a transmission technician. Barring any transmission problems, you should check your manufacturer’s guide to see how often they recommend changing your transmission fluid, because it can be different for every vehicle. Broadly speaking, you should change your transmission fluid every 45,000-80,000 kilometers. Perhaps more frequently if you use your vehicle for towing.
Which Transmission Fluid Should I Use?
Again, check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Often with automatic transmissions, a synthetic transmission fluid is best.
To learn more about transmission fluid changes, please contact us.
Transmissions don’t just go from operating at peak efficiency to imploding and falling out of your vehicle the next day. As with most things in this world, there is a progression. Transmission problems progress from bad to worse and, ultimately, to non-functional. And, as with most things, you can spare yourself a lot of stress and save yourself a lot of money if you can spot these problems early on and nip them in the bud. But how do you do that? How do you check for transmission problems?
Check Your Transmission Fluid
Automatic transmissions use transmission fluid. Manual transmissions are different. They usually use something called “transmission oil”. Because most vehicles in Canada are automatic transmission, we will focus on them, but if you drive a manual transmission please know that the oil or fluid you use serves much the same function as automatic transmission fluid does for automatic transmissions.
Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the transmission. Fluid is needed to lubricate your transmission, to help it keep cool, and to avoid grinding. Without transmission fluid your transmission won’t work. While not every single transmission problem is the direct result of an insufficient amount of or insufficient quality of transmission fluid, there really isn’t a transmission problem that can’t be caused or worsened by a lack of fluid. That’s why you should check your transmission fluid every month.
How To Check Your Transmission Fluid
Using your dipstick, check the level of your transmission fluid. Is it where it needs to be? If not, top it up. If you notice that you have to top up your transmission fluid every single month, something is likely wrong. You shouldn’t be losing fluid that quickly. Check under and around your vehicle for leaks. Pools of reddish liquid indicate that you have a transmission leak. Do not procrastinate getting these leaks sealed.
But quantity isn’t everything. The quality of your fluid can tell you about the quality of your transmission. Is your transmission a reddish clear color with a neutral odor? Great! You should be good. But what if it smells bad and looks opaque? Then you got a problem on your hands. Bring your vehicle to a Mister Transmission repair shop as soon as possible.
Listen To Your Transmission
Transmissions generally don’t make any noise that can be heard above the hum of your engine (assuming you drive an internal combustion vehicle and not an electric car). If your transmission is making noise, listen to it. Whirring, humming, grinding, and clunking noises are not good. They suggest something is amiss with your transmission. Get it checked out.
Feel Your Transmission
You don’t need “spidey senses” to feel if your transmission is developing a problem. You can feel it when you shift gears. Hard gear changes or grinding gears are not what you want. These suggest you have a transmission problem. And if your transmission slips out of gear into neutral? Then you definitely have a transmission problem.
To learn more about transmission problems, please contact us. We can check for transmission problems in ways that the average person cannot. Our unique Multi-Check Inspection will be sure to determine whether or not you have a transmission problem.
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With franchises conveniently located coast-to-coast, Mister Transmission is the largest chain of transmission and driveline repair specialists in Canada. We're proud of our reputation and our history as Canada's premier transmission and technology experts...