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October 2021

What Is Transmission Slipping? Signs To Look Out For

Transmission Slipping - Gearstar

Transmission slipping must be dealt with as soon as possible in order to avoid major repairs. Learn what to look out for.

The transmission is responsible for converting power from the car engine into motion for the vehicle to move. Vehicles come with a manual or automatic transmission. If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, the gears change for you while you may have to put a car with manual transmission into gear via its gear selector.

However, one of the common problems associated with transmissions is known as a slipping transmission. This article covers what transmission slipping means, its causes, signs to watch out for, how to prevent the problem, etc.

Transmission slipping: What does it mean?

Transmission slipping refers to a situation in which your vehicle slips into gear without corresponding to its current speed. This can be discomfiting and troubling. In many cases, it is a signal that your vehicle needs thorough maintenance. This is why it is usually risky to leave your transmission unchecked.

What causes transmission slipping?

The following situations or conditions may cause your transmission to start slipping:

  • Solenoid problems
  • Worn-out gears
  • Broken or worn transmission bands
  • Burned, low, or worn-out transmission fluid
  • Clutch problems
  • Torque converter issues

Signs of transmission slipping to look out for

As with most automotive issues, the earlier you deal with it, the more successful you will be at avoiding major repairs. The longer you put off fixing your slipping transmission, the more damage you will likely compound. This will eventually cost you lots of your hard-earned money to fix.

This is why this section deals with the signs to look out for to inform you that your transmission may be slipping:

Unauthorized switching of gears

One of the signs that reveal that your transmission is slipping is that your vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly switches gears as you drive. In some cases, a change in pitch or a noise accompanies the unauthorized switching of gears.

If your car switches gear out of the blue while driving, it can be a potentially life-threatening situation. This implies that your car is unreliable and may start shaking.

When your vehicle feels sluggish

If your car is not accelerating as quickly as it should or feels somewhat sluggish, you could have a slipping transmission problem on your hands. It may also have other issues related to your transmission. This is why you should waste no time in having your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic.

Inability to change gears smoothly

Another symptom or sign of a slipping transmission is when your vehicle finds it difficult to change gears smoothly. You will hear a thud or clunk as your automobile goes down or up in gears.

When there is a delay before movement

If you experience a delay before your car starts moving, it could signify that your transmission has slipped.

As soon as the gear shift moves from ‘Park’ to ‘Drive,’ a long lag ensues before your vehicle starts moving. During this period, the car engine revs but goes nowhere.

When the clutch stops working

This is for those who drive manual transmission vehicles. When you depress the clutch pedal, and nothing happens, your clutch assembly may have been damaged, or something could be wrong with the transmission system.

When the transmission fluid leaks

When you notice a red fluid on your garage floor, coupled with some of the symptoms shared earlier, your transmission may have a problem.

This is because when there is a transmission fluid leak, it results in a slipping transmission.

Is it safe to drive your vehicle when the transmission is slipping?

When you have a transmission slipping issue, it is not safe to drive that vehicle. This is because the safety of the vehicle is highly unpredictable. It can slip into different gears without giving you any warning, shake, or even cause severe damage.

Therefore, get your vehicle checked out immediately when you observe the signs or symptoms of a slipping transmission.

How to prevent transmission slipping

You can prevent transmission slipping. But you need to be sure that fluid leaks or worn-out bands are not behind the problem. If this is the case, you may have to replace either the worn-out gears, the solenoids, the clutch, or the torque converter.

Any of these repairs will cost you a lot of money, especially if a transmission specialist handles it for you. Having an older vehicle will not be in your favor, and this is why you should check out every other possibility first.

Your automobile’s onboard diagnostic computer can inform you of the problem if you own a newer vehicle. This is true if the problem the solenoid is behind the transmission problem.

However, if your newer vehicle transmits error codes, ensure you check them out first in order to determine what they tell you about your transmission’s status. 

If you still can’t pinpoint the problem, consider examining the transmission bands. Replace any worn or broken transmission band. If you have to replace a single band, then ensure you replace them all. This is to prevent dealing with this particular issue within the next few weeks or months.

You can also get right under your hood to confirm the level of your transmission fluid. Ensure the fluid is at its correct level.

If the transmission fluid level is lower than it should be, try and locate the primary source of the leakage. You may find that a seal is loose or discover holes in one of the fluid lines. The transmission pan can also spring a leak, or you may have a faulty transmission pan gasket.

If you are a keen DIYer, you can replace these faulty parts on your own. However, if you discover a cracked torque converter, you may have to invite professionals for a look-see and in-depth repairs.

Identify the origin or source of the leakage and fix it as soon as possible. You can also consider adding an excellent transmission leak sealing solution the next time you refill the transmission fluid.


If your transmission is slipping, you can easily get tempted to make attempts at fixing it on your own. But if you are inexperienced or feel uncomfortable working on your transmission, the best decision you can make is to allow a transmission specialist to handle the repairs for you.

Transmission specialists have the tools and experience to detect the causes behind the slipping of the transmission. Once they diagnose the problem, they can quickly fix it within a short period, and you can get back to your day-to-day lifestyle.

Why You Should Consider a Custom Transmission

Custom Transmission - Gearstar

A custom transmission has many benefits including top-notch performance and long term benefits. Learn more about the perks.

A vehicle transmission is one of the most crucial components of any automobile. It is responsible for moving the power from the car engine to the wheels. There are two major types of transmissions: automatic and manual transmissions you see in stick-shift vehicles. The latter requires the car driver to complete a few steps so that the vehicle operates effectively.

However, suppose you are currently in the market for a car transmission. In that case, you will be faced with two options: get a brand-new OEM transmission or get your damaged transmission professionally rebuilt.

When rebuilding your transmission, the transmission specialist takes it apart and carefully inspects every component, looking for signs of wear, tear, damage, or other issues. Every worn or damaged component will be replaced, and the entire unit cleaned thoroughly.

The transmission specialist then carefully rebuilds the transmission and reinstalls it in your drag racer, muscle car, truck, or SUV. This is a labor-intensive process that demands extraordinary attention to detail.

A brand-new OEM transmission purchased from the vehicle manufacturer seems like an excellent idea. But unless you have very deep pockets – both for the purchase, installation, and tuning of the transmission system – that option may not be for you. 

On the other hand, custom car transmissions – i.e., a car transmission that professionals have carefully rebuilt – may not look so appealing to you. Still, the benefits of going for this option are long-term.

Why You Should Opt for A Custom Transmission Over Buying a Brand-New One

Here’s why you should consider a custom car transmission over purchasing and installing a brand-new one in your muscle car or drag racer:

Superior Performance

Refurbished or used transmissions nearly always come with one form of internal damage or the other, as well as multiple Band-Aid fixes or repairs. Since they are mostly price-friendly, you may easily get tempted to purchase the refurbished or used transmission as soon as possible.

However, you may be exposing your vehicle – and yourself – to a lot of risks. There is a good chance that the used or refurbished transmission may not work seamlessly with your vehicle.

This is why it makes sense to settle for a transmission rebuild of your original car transmission. Custom transmissions guarantee superior performance and smooth operation, making your automobile sound and move like it is brand new.

Less Financial Strain

The upfront costs of rebuilding a vehicle transmission may seem un-pocket-friendly. But the truth is that the money you will save in the long run will be worth it in the end.

For instance, you won’t have to keep paying technicians a lot of money to combat problems or ongoing issues. Repairing transmissions over and over again can lower their value over time.

But this is not the case with a transmission you rebuild for your truck or car. If you eventually sell the vehicle, the custom transmission will have a warranty that enhances its value in the prospective buyer’s mind.

Eliminate Worries

The primary purpose of rebuilding a transmission is to make it run like it is brand-new, i.e., the way it came straight out of the factory. 

This means replacing every damaged or worn component – including bolts, nuts, etc. – while the still-good working parts undergo a thorough cleaning, oiling, and re-installation.

This is why you should work with a reputable mechanic shop or technician proficient in rebuilding a transmission from the ground up. You will enjoy the inner peace that comes with knowing that you won’t have to worry about buying or fixing your custom transmission.

Extended Vehicle Lifespan

A faulty transmission that is not functioning properly puts a lot of strain on other drivetrain and powertrain components. Weak transmissions also negatively affect the engine, differentials, cooling system, axles, transfer case, exhaust, suspension, and wheels.

When a pro rebuilds your transmission, it runs like a brand-new gear mechanism. This helps protect other parts of your vehicle and extends the lifespan of your truck, SUV, or car.

Retain The Transmission Originally Designed For Your Vehicle

Keeping the same transmission system originally designed for your car is the #1 benefit of sticking to a custom gear system. 

Nearly all vehicles come with a transmission that is originally designed and tuned mechanically to work with the engine and the overall drivetrain system.

Rebuilding a custom-made transmission costs far less than purchasing and installing a brand-new transmission system obtained from the vehicle manufacturer.

If you also buy a refurbished or used transmission, you will save a lot of money. However, you will also be assuming many additional risks since you may not know the condition or history of that used or refurbished transmission. There’s also an excellent chance that it may not perfectly fit your vehicle.

This may lead to incurring additional costs for repairs over time, or you may have to go through the rigors of returning it and getting another one. This will not only waste a lot of your time but will also cost you a lot of money.

This is why getting your original car transmission professionally rebuilt by specialists is an excellent, cost-efficient option.

Increase Transmission Lifespan By Replacing Parts

You can enhance the lifespan of your vehicle transmission by replacing damaged or faulty components instead of repairing them.

When you replace the parts with new ones, it gives new life to your transmission, and this helps to boost the lifespan of your transmission.

It is important to state that you should not work with technicians that quickly cut corners on the job. This will either ruin the overall performance of your transmission or significantly reduce its performance.

This can easily result in minor or extensive damages long before hitting the average life marker.

Therefore, work only with reputable technicians and ensure you take proper care of your transmission. This includes getting the transmission checked by professionals from time to time.


As you can see, the overall long-term benefits of opting for a custom transmission far outweigh purchasing a brand-new OEM transmission. 

Not only are you retaining the use of the original transmission custom-made for your vehicle, but you will also have a profound peace of mind, knowing that you will enjoy the use of your car for a long time.

You will also save lots of your hard-earned money over time and continue to experience the top-notch performance of your drag racer or muscle car.

The rebuilt transmission always comes with warranties, ensuring that you will get your money’s worth out of the automotive unit.