What You Need to Know About Automatic Transmission Slipping

September 6, 2018 | By Mister Transmission

What You Need to Know About Automatic Transmission Slipping

Slipping is one of the most common problems experienced by automatic transmissions. It is also, potentially, one of the most dangerous. And, as with many otherissues you may experience with your vehicle, the sooner you deal with the problem, the better – especially because transmission slipping can always get worse. Here’s what you need to know about transmission slipping.

Automatic Transmission Slipping

When you shift gears while driving your vehicle, you pretty much expect your vehicle to stay in that gear. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In modern automatic transmissions, when you shift gears, the vehicle’s computer sends a signal to the transmission that allows the change to take place. Sometimes, however, these gears can change on their own. Often (though not always) the gear might change to neutral on its own. Sometimes the transmission will “reject” your gear change and revert to its previous gear. This is annoying at best and downright dangerous at worst.

What to Look For

If you have noticed your transmission beginning to slip, there are a number of things you can look for before bringing it in for an inspection. By examining other parts of your automatic transmission and vehicle, you can get a better idea of what might be causing your automatic transmission to slip. Some things to look for include:

  • Is your check engine light is on?
  • Does your automatic transmission try to upshift, then fall back into a lower gear?
  • Does your automatic transmission refuse to upshift?
  • Does your automatic transmission fall into a lower gear, causing the engine to run at a high RPM?
  • When you step on the gas, does your engine’s RPM increase, but the vehicle speed remains the same?
  • Does your automatic transmission fail to engage in reverse?
  • Can you smell a strange or burning odour?
  • Do you hear unusual noises when shifting?
  • Can you feel hard or rough gear changes?
  • Do you see red oil on your driveway ?

All of the above are common co-occurrences with automatic transmission slipping. If you have noticed some of these issues but not others, this can give a hint as to what the cause of these problems might be.

Causes of Automatic Transmission Slipping

As with all transmission problems, a good place to start is with the transmission fluid. Automatic transmission problems can be caused by a lack of transmission fluid. If you are experiencing slipping, the first thing you should do is check your transmission fluid levels. If they are low, you should top it up and check for leaks. Slipping can also be caused by burned or worn out fluid. Sometimes transmission fluid needs to be replaced, which itself can be a sign of internal wear and tear of the transmission. Good quality fluid should be clear with a reddish tint. Poor quality fluid will be discoloured and can have an unpleasant odour.

Other causes will be difficult to determine without bringing the vehicle in for inspection. Another common cause of automatic transmission slipping is a solenoid problem. This often requires a technician to interface with the vehicle onboard computer to see where the problem might be and the best way to fix it.

Get In Touch

If you would like to learn more about automatic transmission slipping, or to find out what’s causing your transmission to slip, please get in touch with us today.

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My rear diff had been...
Rachel Gavin
My rear diff had been whining and sounding terrible for a while... but since I've only had this truck for ~5 months I wasn't sure if it was normal or not. A different transmission shop said it sounded like normal gear noise, and perhaps sounded loud because of a lack of insulation/soundproofing. Well I took their word for it for a while but I still had a feeling something wasn't right - the sound (and my gas mileage) was getting worse, so I gave Mister Transmission in North Van a call. I brought it in the next day, and they were quickly able to diagnose the issue (diff was a mess, basically). They were able to source parts for this somewhat uncommon diff, rebuild it and get it back to me within about 4 business days which is pretty good in my opinion! Communication was great from start to finish. Obviously it wasn't fun having to pay a bunch of money to fix my truck, but I feel the price was fair (thousands of dollars less than it would have cost to bring it to the dealership for a whole new diff) and the price they quoted me once they knew what needed replacing was the price I paid. Best part is, my truck drives so smooth and quiet now! No more terrible whine! I'd definitely recommend Mister Transmission - thanks Bob and Ken and the rest of the gang!
Date: December 2, 2020
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Matt Adam
rich is a good guy
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Although it was a minor repair that some unnamed business botched horribly, this shop was very fair in price and took me in immediately. Thanks
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I really love this shop. I've worked with Nav a few times now and their super professional and well priced. Like I said, love this shop and would highly recommend them!
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Dan Macinnis
I have been dealing with Frank and Paul at this Mister Transmission storefor over 25 years now and I would have to say one of the most professional, courtious and accomadating automotive business's Ive had the pleasure to deal with ......period.
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My Caravan transmission was giving...
Aaron Dias
My Caravan transmission was giving a lot of problems and took it to Mr. Transmission, and got it fixed. Thanks to Denise and Sean for their amazing customer service.
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Irfan Sheikh
Very good customer service.
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I was happy with the help I received when my car broke down on the side of the road. They were able to get me in right away and provided me with an explanation of what happened and what was done. I would recommend to anyone needing work done on their vehicle.
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Anne Marie
Steve and his team are great.As a woman, I have been taken to the cleaners before by a garage.What a refreshing change 🙂 These guys are honest, respectful, knowledgeable and treat customers with respect. You can go there knowing you will not get ripped off. They do what is necessary.Recommend these guys 💯%.
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