What You Need To Know About Transmission Slipping

The process of changing gears should be seamless and almost undetectable. If you're having difficulty switching to certain gears, such as reverse, you are experiencing a jerking-like motion, you notice a burning smell or your revolutions per minute (RPM) increases, these are all warning signs. Each of these scenarios can likely be attributed to transmission slipping.

What Is Transmission Slipping?

Your transmission is designed to stay in the same gear until you manually adjust it. This is true whether it's a manual or automatic transmission. Slipping occurs when the transmission spontaneously changes gear without warning. Slipping doesn't just put your safety at risk, but it also jeopardizes the integrity of the transmission. This isn't something you want to ignore. You want to have the transmission serviced right away. 

What Are The Causes?

There are a number of scenarios that can lead to transmission slipping; here are just some of them.

Low Fluid

One of the more common reasons for transmission slipping is low fluid. When your transmission fluid gets too low, this can cause the unit to overheat and lower the amount of hydraulic pressure that is generated. Limited pressure makes it more challenging for the gears to engage. Adding more fluid will generally resolve the problem.

Worn Gears

If you're experiencing this issue on a high mileage vehicle, worn gears may be the culprit. Simply from regular driving, even if you're taking care of your vehicle, the gears will start to wear. Worn gears are often frayed, which can make it harder for them to connect. A mechanic can examine your gears to see if they need to be replaced.

Line Leak

A leak in the fluid line could also be a cause. Fluid travels from the storage tank, through the fluid line, and into the transmission chamber. However, if there is a leak in the line, the fluid seeps out of the vehicle before it can make its way inside the transmission. A leak in the line can only be repaired by replacing the line tube altogether.

Failed Solenoid

Solenoids are responsible for controlling the transfer of fluid inside your transmission. Similar to a leak in the line, if the solenoid isn't functioning correctly, the transmission can slip. More importantly, in the long-term, a failed solenoid can lead to permanent transmission failure from overheating.

If your transmission is slipping, make sure you are taking your vehicle to a repair shop right away.