What You Need to Know About Automatic Transmission Slipping

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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