What is the Torque Converter and Why is It Causing Me So Many Problems?

December 6, 2019 | By Mister Transmission

What is the Torque Converter and Why is It Causing Me So Many Problems?

If you’ve done any cursory research on transmissions and how they work you may have come across the torque converter. Indeed, if you’ve ever looked up common transmission problems, you will no doubt have seen the torque converter mentioned. What is this mystery component of the transmission? And why is it causing you so many gosh darn problems?

The Torque Converter

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:

  • Overheating
  • Slipping
  • Shuddering
  • Dirty transmission fluid
  • High stall speeds
  • Strange noises, such as humming, whirring, or clunking

Mister Transmission

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.

image-reviews image-reviews
Customer Reviews
Good and friendly and reliable...
Albert Wilton
Good and friendly and reliable people and they work hard to get your vehicle doneService: Transmission
Date: July 25, 2021
Website: Google
Thank you, Mister Transmission! After...
Christy McMurray
Thank you, Mister Transmission! After taking my vehicle to the dealership where I bought it, and paying $150 for them to tell me what I already told them was wrong, the Dealer gave me a quote of $6,500 to replace my 9 year old transmission with a factory rebuilt one, because it couldn't be fixed or rebuilt by them. Thankfully I called Mister Transmission and Chris knew exactly what the issue was, how to fix it, and it only cost me $385 for everything and it was fixed in a day. I am so grateful that Chris and Dawn run an honest operation and provide genuinely great service. Thanks again!
Date: July 25, 2021
Website: Google
Cambridge Mister Transmission was awesome....
Sarah MacArthur
Cambridge Mister Transmission was awesome. We ended up having a small issue but they still took the time to show me where on my vehicle the problems were and fully explain the possible issues. They were prompt in getting back to me the following day and I had my vehicle back in no time. Chris and Nick were amazing and the office is so clean and pleasant. Great customer service!
Date: July 24, 2021
Website: Google
Great service , friendly and...
John Neven
Great service , friendly and very knowledgeable.Excellent work
Date: July 23, 2021
Website: Google
Mazda 3 AT light came...
Chris Elmquist
Mazda 3 AT light came on one with some bad noises and clunking. Dealer said need a new transmission for only $4400. Took it to this and a quick check they determined it needed new TCM which is very common on the mazdas. They took care of it and even did a bunch of extra work fixing a wiring harness all for the cost of the TCM . cannot say enough about how we were treated by Chris and Dawn. Would recommend them. FIRST CLASS!!!!!
Date: July 23, 2021
Website: Google
Workers are very nice and...
Ely Bolivar
Workers are very nice and explain thing clearly. Also they have an option to finance your repairs.
Date: July 22, 2021
Website: Google
They assessed the problem quickly,...
Colleen H
They assessed the problem quickly, quoted a good price, provided fast service, in a no-pressure, friendly manner. I've been telling everybodyService: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
I took my differentials down...
Kieran Massicotte
I took my differentials down to get rebuilt and Steve was very professional and the total was 200 bucks cheaper than the quoted price and there was a few things during the whole process that didn’t go as planned as I had brought all the bearings parts and some bearings were the wrong ones and I had brought 4.88s to put in end they would not work and before continuing with anything Steve would call and double check to let you know what needs to be done and get the ok from me first before they would continue overall amazing place Steve and the guys were awesome and the work was done perfect and the diffs have never been more smooth highly recommend.
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Eduardo Vieira
Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
Thank you Kyle and the...
Roman Danko
Thank you Kyle and the Mr. Transmission team for very professional and friendly customer service and repair. I definitelly recommend their services.Service: Transmission
Date: July 19, 2021
Website: Google
Featured Services
Transmission Repair

The evolution of transmissions has made these machines and systems increasingly complex. When transmission repairs are required, determining the cause and cure for what ails can be tricky.

Read More
Transmission Technology

At Mister Transmission we have access to leading-edge diagnostic equipment, enabling us to offer you the fastest and most accurate findings about what’s going on inside your vehicle’s transmission.

Read More
Transmission Maintenance & Service

Just as you have other parts of your car serviced, your transmission needs maintenance to ensure a long life and avoid transmission problems.

Read More
Recent Blogs
What You Need To Know About Torque Conve...
Torque converter repair is something that comes up fairly often in comparison to
Read More
June 28, 2021
4 Common Transmission Maintenance Mistak...
Transmission maintenance is absolutely imperative to ensure long and efficient life
Read More
June 25, 2021
How A Transmission Shop Can Actually Sav...
Transmissions are expensive. And they can be expensive to fix. That’s why any visit
Read More
June 23, 2021
What Are Some Common CVT Transmission Pr...
CVT transmission problems aren’t all that different from other automatic
Read More
June 21, 2021
The Benefits Of A Transmission Fluid Cha...
When done at the right time, a transmission fluid change can really benefit your vehicle.
Read More
June 17, 2021
The Top Ten Models With Major Transmissi...
Which transmissions have the most problems? Here are the ten models with the most
Read More
June 14, 2021
“How Can I Tell What Kind Of Trans...
“What transmission do I have?” It’s a question we hear a lot at Mister
Read More
June 7, 2021
RAM Differential and Driveability Issue
You are enjoying a drive in your 2012 - 2018 Ram 1500 pickup truck and all of a sudden,
Read More
May 19, 2021
7 Common Transmission Problems
We all want to avoid transmission problems. To do that, it helps to know what some of
Read More
May 10, 2021
What Is A Driveline, And Do I Need It Se...
Have you ever heard of a “driveline” before? Wondering what it is? Does it have
Read More
May 6, 2021