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Common Torque Converter Lockup Problems

Torque Converter Lockup Problems

The torque converter is a critical component of an automatic transmission, responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the transmission. It plays a key role in the smooth operation and efficiency of the transmission system. However, torque converter lockup problems can occur, leading to various issues and impacting the overall performance of your vehicle.

When the torque converter lockup system malfunctions, it can result in symptoms such as shuddering, slipping gears, overheating, and decreased fuel efficiency. These issues not only affect the driving experience but can also lead to costly repairs if left unaddressed.

Understanding the common torque converter lockup problems, their symptoms, causes, and potential solutions is crucial for any vehicle owner or enthusiast. By familiarizing yourself with these issues, you can diagnose problems early and take appropriate action to ensure the proper functioning of your vehicle’s transmission system.

What we will go over

In this blog post, we will delve into exploring the signs that indicate a problem, the underlying causes behind these issues, and the possible solutions to resolve them. Whether you’re a car owner or simply interested in understanding the complexities of automatic transmissions, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to identify and address torque converter lockup problems effectively.

So, let’s dive in and discover the common torque converter lockup problems that can occur, empowering you to take control of your vehicle’s transmission health and ensure a smooth and reliable driving experience.

What is torque converter lockup?

Torque converter lockup is a feature in automatic transmissions designed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce heat generation. When the torque converter lockup engages, it mechanically links the engine’s output to the transmission, creating a direct connection and eliminating the slip that occurs within the torque converter during normal operation. This reduces power loss and improves overall efficiency.

What are the common symptoms of torque converter lockup problems?

  1. Shuddering or Vibrations: You may experience shuddering or vibrations while driving at certain speeds, particularly during acceleration or when the torque converter lockup engages or disengages.
  2. Slipping Gears: If the torque converter lockup fails to engage or disengage properly, you may notice the transmission slipping in and out of gear, resulting in erratic shifting or difficulty maintaining speed.
  3. Overheating: A malfunctioning torque converter lockup can lead to increased heat generation within the transmission, causing it to overheat. This can result in a decrease in performance and potential damage to the transmission components.
  4. Poor Fuel Efficiency: One of the primary purposes of torque converter lockup is to improve fuel efficiency. If you notice a sudden decrease in fuel economy, it could indicate a problem with the torque converter lockup mechanism.

What are the common causes of torque converter lockup problems?

Several factors can contribute to torque converter lockup problems. These include:

  1. Faulty Solenoids: The torque converter lockup system relies on solenoids to control the engagement and disengagement of the lockup mechanism. If the solenoids become faulty or malfunction, it can lead to issues with torque converter lockup.
  2. Electrical Problems: Electrical issues, such as faulty wiring or a malfunctioning transmission control module (TCM), can disrupt the communication between the TCM and the torque converter lockup solenoids, resulting in lockup problems.
  3. Fluid Contamination: Contaminated transmission fluid, caused by debris, sludge, or worn-out components, can hinder the proper operation of the torque converter lockup mechanism. This can lead to slipping, shuddering, or complete failure of the lockup system.
  4. Mechanical Wear and Tear: Over time, the internal components of the torque converter, such as the clutch plates or bearings, can wear out, leading to lockup problems. Additionally, damaged or worn seals can also contribute to torque converter issues.

How can torque converter lockup problems be resolved?

Resolving torque converter lockup problems typically requires a professional diagnosis and repair. The specific solution will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. Common solutions include:

  1. Fluid and Filter Replacement: If the issue is related to contaminated fluid, performing a transmission fluid and filter replacement can help restore proper operation. This removes debris and contaminants, allowing the lockup mechanism to function correctly.
  2. Solenoid Replacement: Faulty or malfunctioning solenoids can be replaced to restore proper engagement and disengagement of the torque converter lockup system. A qualified technician will diagnose the faulty solenoid and replace it as necessary.
  3. Electrical Repairs: Electrical issues, such as wiring problems or a malfunctioning TCM, may require repairs or replacement. This ensures proper communication between the TCM and the torque converter lockup solenoids.
  4. Torque Converter Replacement: In more severe cases where the torque converter itself is damaged or worn beyond repair, a complete torque converter replacement may be necessary.


Torque converter lockup problems can significantly affect the performance and efficiency of your vehicle’s transmission system. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and seeking professional repairs are crucial for resolving these issues promptly. By addressing torque converter lockup problems, you can restore the smooth operation of your transmission, prevent further damage, and ensure the optimal functioning of your vehicle. 

If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms or suspect torque converter lockup problems, consult a qualified technician for a thorough diagnosis and appropriate repairs. Contact us today for more information! 

Evaluating Whether You Need a Performance Transmission Rebuild vs Replace

Do You Need a Performance Transmission Rebuild vs Replace - Gearstar

As a performance car enthusiast, you know that your vehicle’s transmission is a critical component that can make or break your driving experience. A high-performance transmission is designed to deliver the power and torque required for an exhilarating ride. However, like any other mechanical part, a transmission can experience wear and tear, leading to problems such as difficulty shifting gears, slipping or delayed gear engagement, unusual noises, fluid leaks, and warning lights on the dashboard. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to consider a performance transmission rebuild vs replace.

Read on to explore the difference between rebuilding and replacing transmission and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about how to get your ride back up to speed.

Is It Time for a Transmission Rebuild vs Replace?

Your vehicle’s transmission transfers power from the engine to the wheels, enabling your car to move. Over time, your transmission may experience issues that significantly impact its performance.

To avoid more severe problems down the road, it’s essential to recognize the signs that your transmission needs attention. One of the most common symptoms is difficulty shifting gears, manifesting as hard shifting or a gear that won’t engage. Slipping or delayed gear engagement is also a common problem, where you may notice a lag between shifting and your car responding.

Unusual noises or vibrations, such as whining or grinding sounds, can indicate a problem with the transmission. Additionally, fluid leaks or warning lights on the dashboard can indicate that it’s time for a transmission rebuild vs. replacement.

Transmission Rebuild vs Replace: Which Option is Right for You?

Once you’ve recognized that your transmission needs attention, the next step is determining whether a transmission rebuild or replacement is the best option. A transmission rebuild involves disassembling and replacing the worn or damaged parts while keeping the remaining parts in good condition.

On the other hand, transmission replacement involves removing the entire transmission and replacing it with a new or rebuilt one. One of the advantages of a rebuild is that it’s typically less expensive than a replacement. Additionally, a rebuild can retain original parts with sentimental value or no longer available. However, the process of a rebuild can take longer than a replacement, and there may be a risk of future problems if any underlying issues are not fully addressed.

Meanwhile, a replacement provides the peace of mind of a brand-new or remanufactured transmission, but it can be more expensive than a rebuild. Ultimately, the decision between a transmission rebuild vs replace depends on several factors, including the transmission condition, the level of performance needed, and your budget.

Is a Transmission Rebuild the Right Choice for You?

If you’ve decided that a transmission rebuild is a suitable option, it’s essential to understand when a rebuild is recommended. A rebuild is typically recommended when the transmission’s underlying components are still in good condition and only specific parts need to be replaced. For example, if your transmission is slipping, and the issue is identified as a faulty torque converter, a rebuild could be a cost-effective solution.

One of the significant advantages of a rebuild is that it can be less expensive than a replacement, and it can extend the life of your vehicle. Additionally, a rebuild allows for customization, such as adding performance upgrades or improved components. The rebuild process involves removing the transmission from the vehicle, disassembling it, and replacing worn or damaged parts. The transmission is then reassembled and reinstalled, and the fluid is refilled.

A rebuild is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge, tools, and equipment. Therefore, working with a reputable and experienced transmission professional is crucial to ensure the job is done correctly.

Transmission Replacement: Is It Time for a Fresh Start?

If you’ve determined that a transmission replacement is the best option for your vehicle, it’s essential to understand when a replacement is recommended. A replacement is typically recommended when the transmission’s damage is extensive, and repairing individual parts may not be enough to restore the transmission’s performance. For example, a replacement may be the best solution if there is significant wear and tear on the gears or the transmission has suffered damage from an accident.

The replacement process involves removing the existing transmission, installing a new or remanufactured transmission, and replacing any necessary parts, such as the torque converter, fluid lines, and mounts. One of the significant advantages of a replacement is that it provides the peace of mind of a new or remanufactured transmission that has been factory-tested and certified. A replacement can also improve performance and efficiency, making it a good option for performance enthusiasts.

The new transmission is filled with fluid and tested to ensure proper function. Transmission replacement is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Therefore, working with a reputable and experienced transmission professional is crucial to ensure the job is done correctly.

Making the Decision: Factors to Consider

Several factors come into play when evaluating a transmission rebuild vs replace. The following are some essential considerations to keep in mind:

Cost: One of the most significant factors to consider is the cost of the transmission rebuild vs replace. Rebuilding a transmission can be less expensive than replacing it, but the total cost depends on the damage’s extent and the replacement parts cost.

Time: Rebuilding a transmission can take longer than replacing it, as it involves disassembling and replacing individual parts. Conversely, a replacement can be completed more quickly, as the entire transmission is replaced.

Overall condition of the vehicle: If your vehicle is older or has other underlying mechanical issues, investing in a transmission rebuild vs replace may not make sense. However, a rebuild or replacement could be worthwhile if your vehicle is in good condition and has sentimental value.

Performance needs: If you’re a performance enthusiast or use your vehicle for heavy-duty work, a replacement may be the better option, as it can provide improved performance and efficiency.

Ultimately, rebuilding or replacing your transmission depends on your unique circumstances and needs. Working with a trusted transmission professional to evaluate your options and make an informed decision is essential.

The Right Replacement for Your Specific Performance Needs

If you’ve decided that a transmission replacement is a right choice for your vehicle, there are a few things to remember. First, make sure to choose a replacement transmission that is compatible with your vehicle’s make and model.

For example, if you have a GM vehicle and want to upgrade to a performance transmission, you may consider the 2004R transmission. This transmission is an excellent choice for various GM applications and can handle increased horsepower and torque. If you own a Ford vehicle, the 4R70W transmission is an excellent option for high-performance needs. The 4L85E transmission is a popular choice for heavy-duty applications and can handle up to 800 horsepower.

Remember that a transmission replacement can be a significant investment but can also provide the performance gains you’re looking for. Working with a reputable transmission professional can help ensure that you choose the right replacement transmission for your needs and that it’s installed correctly.

Choosing the Right Professional for Transmission Rebuild vs Replace

When rebuilding or replacing your transmission, choosing the right professional is critical. Not all transmission shops are created equal, and working with a reputable, experienced professional can make all the difference in the quality of the work performed.

Importance of choosing a reputable professional: A reputable professional has the knowledge, skills, and equipment to perform high-quality work on your transmission. They can help you navigate the complex decision of rebuilding or replacing your transmission and provide valuable advice and guidance throughout the process.

Factors to consider when choosing a professional: When choosing a professional to work on your transmission, consider their experience, training, certifications, and reputation in the industry. Look for a professional who specializes in transmissions and has experience working with your vehicle’s make and model.

Tips for selecting the right professional: Ask friends or family members for referrals, read online reviews, and check the shop’s Better Business Bureau rating. Ask the shop to provide a written estimate and warranty, and ensure they use high-quality replacement parts. Finally, trust your gut – if something doesn’t feel right or you doubt the shop’s professionalism, look elsewhere.

In conclusion, rebuilding or replacing a transmission is a significant investment in your vehicle. Choosing the right professional can ensure that the job is done correctly and to your satisfaction. By considering the factors outlined in this post and doing your due diligence in selecting a reputable professional, you can feel confident in your decision and the quality of the work performed.

Contact us today!

Fixing a Transmission: 6 Benefits of Hiring an Expert

Fixing a transmission: 6 benefits of hiring an expert

As a vehicle owner, the ability to do small maintenance tasks can save you a few dollars here and there. Installing a new car battery, adding oil, or screwing on an air filter are small tasks most car owners can do. However, it is another ball game when it comes to fixing a transmission and any parts associated with it. You’ll need the professional assistance of an expert.

Many car owners make the mistake of visiting standard auto mechanics or service centers. Although the average mechanic can easily handle simple transmission repairs, they don’t have the requisite tools for high-tech diagnosis of transmission problems.

If your transmission has a more serious issue, a standard auto repair mechanic may not be capable of handling it. You will still need to find a transmission specialist who knows the ins and outs of vehicle transmissions and can expertly and accurately diagnose its problems.

This will cost you 2x more money and precious time, which you should not trade for anything. In order to avoid these, you should always opt for a specialist anytime you have transmission problems.

The Advantages of Hiring an Expert for Fixing a Transmission

If you are still not too convinced about the importance of having a specialist work on your faulty transmission, these benefits would:

1. Repair Complexity

Transmission is one of the most integral and complex pieces of a vehicle’s system. Unlike the punctured car tire you can easily change or a small hose you can patch without breaking a sweat, transmission issues are usually complicated.

Transmissions are made up of multiple components and pieces, and each of these parts can easily experience problems. Moreover, transmission designs vary by model and make. 

Only a well-trained and experienced professional can swiftly give an accurate diagnosis of any transmission problem. Experts use industry-specific computer programs to tap into the computer system of a modern vehicle in search of accurate diagnoses of car issues.

Professional mechanics know how to run these computer programs efficiently. They also possess the necessary tools – which often reflect the complexity of transmission repairs – required to fix faulty transmissions.

2. Warranty Protection

At least two iron-clad warranties become functional here. First, having an expert perform transmission repairs helps protect your vehicle’s warranty. Secondly, most highly trained and experienced specialists offer their own warranties on transmission repairs.

This implies that in the rare or uncommon case the expert misses something during transmission repairs, you will be protected from paying out of your pocket for additional repairs.

Ensure you make inquiries, read, and fully understand whatever extended manufacturer warranty the mechanic offers before they start working on your vehicle.

3. Cost-Efficient

Fixing your transmission can be expensive, especially if you don’t have the ideal tools. You should not engage in such activity without the necessary repair components and tools.

Hiring an expert is the most affordable choice since they have all the right tools and repair components.

4. Eliminate the Stress of Repairs

It doesn’t even matter if you are an experienced Do-It-Yourself mechanic. The pressure of getting your vehicle running again in top-notch condition will subject you to a lot of stress.

For instance, you will spend lots of money – and time – tracking down the appropriate tools for fixing the defective transmission. Taking down, repairing, and re-installing a transmission is not a one-man job, i.e., you will require at least another pair of hands. You will need to call up a couple of your friends who also have time to kill and are willing to assist you in your repair quest.

As you can already see, the stress of doing it yourself is not worth it. The best way is to get an expert to check the transmission, give accurate diagnoses, and take steps to fix the issues for good.

5. Peace of Mind

Having an expert work on your vehicle’s transmission gives profound peace of mind. Maintaining a healthy transmission or repairing a faulty one will get you through adverse conditions such as off-road terrains, bad weather, etc.

A professional mechanic can easily detect the daily wear-and-tear issues transmissions undergo. They can fix these issues before they escalate into something significant and expensive.

6. Specialization

A car transmission expert is not the usual Jack-of-all-trades mechanic in many cases. An expert has undergone the proper training and is certified and knowledgeable at efficiently diagnosing high-tech transmission issues, especially in heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and vans.

They also have a better experience as understanding particular causes of transmission issues in specific vehicles is their forte. This is what you need if you value your time and money.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Transmission Healthy

Keeping your vehicle transmission in tip-top shape on a daily basis is highly essential. Follow these quick tips that will help ensure your transmission remains healthy at all times:

Transmission Flushes

It is vital to change your fluids from to time. Having low fluids and not doing anything about it is a recipe for future transmission issues or difficulties.

Always address low transmission fluid as soon and as soon as possible. Avoid driving your vehicle when its transmission fluid is low or below the recommended level.

Replacing a seal is less expensive, can easily fix the problem, and save you lots of your hard-earned cash on repairs down the road.

Do Not Ride the Brake

You force your transmission to work even harder whenever you drive with your foot heavy on the brake pedal. Avoid doing this as much as possible in order to prevent transmission problems.

Use the emergency brake each time you park your vehicle on an incline. This helps to minimize stress on the parking lineage.

Always Stop Your Vehicle Completely Before Shifting from Reverse to Drive

Anytime you are in reverse, such as backing out of a particular parking spot, etc., ensure you stop your vehicle completely before shifting into Drive.

You must have experienced the dreaded ‘engine drop’ when you don’t stop before shifting gears. When you stop completely before shifting gears, it helps prevent the transmission from unwarranted strain.

Leave it to the Professionals

The benefits of hiring an expert for fixing a transmission cannot be overstated. You may be able to do minor fixes like changing your car tires, installing a vehicle battery, or even screwing on an air filter.

But when it comes to repairing a faulty transmission, leave it to the professionals. You will have profound peace of mind, protect your warranty, and have a specialist handle every complex issue on your behalf.

For more tidbits on transmissions, converters, controllers, and more, visit Gearstar each week. For any questions or inquiries, contact one of our professionals today. We would be glad to assist you, whether it be for a GM, Mopar, or Ford transmission. You may also visit our support page for resources and how-tos for installation tips, tricks, and more.

Benefits of Going To a Custom Transmission Shop

custom transmission shop

When you have trouble with your manual or automatic transmission, the first port of call is usually a general auto repair shop. However, taking your vehicle for a transmission repair to just any auto repair is a recipe for disaster. This is because most technicians that work in such repair shops are generalists, not specialists.

Moreover, finding a custom service provider can be a daunting task, especially if you are doing so for the first time. This is why you should find a custom transmission shop long before your transmission starts acting up or goes out.

Bear in mind that your transmission is one of the most intricate and complex components of your automobile. It is not one part but a combination of different parts that must work efficiently and in tandem in order to ensure your vehicle works perfectly. The transmission is primarily responsible for transferring power from your engine into the torque that efficiently spins your wheels.

You can’t shift gears without a transmission, and if you cannot shift gears, your vehicle won’t even budge from where it is parked. This makes the transmission a vital component of your vehicle and must never be trifled with by an inexperienced or unqualified technician.

The input of a custom transmission specialist is highly essential if you want your transmission to last long. This is why it makes sense to get your transmission repaired at a custom transmission shop and enjoy the benefits only a performance transmission shop can provide.

The Pros of Going to a Custom Transmission Shop

Still unsure whether to go for a custom transmission shop or opt for a regular auto repair shop? Here are the benefits of going to a custom transmission shop:

AAA Approved Auto Repair

Most custom transmission repair shops display the Automobile Association of America logo. This is an excellent achievement in the auto repair industry as the AAA doesn’t tread – without good reason – on auto repair shops.

No custom transmission shop displays the AAA logo at its business without meeting the rigid standards in services rendered, pricing, as well as customer service.

ASE Certified Transmission Repair Technicians/Mechanics

A custom transmission shop employs highly experienced technicians well-versed in the field of transmission repair. The level of expertise is often verified by the ASE National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a renowned organization.

This organization provides testing and certifications that verify that a mechanic possesses in-depth knowledge and a full understanding of their automotive fields. Every Auto Service Experts transmission technician completes their ongoing training via Car Quest Technical Institute and Technet Professional Auto Service and is ASE certified.

For this reason, technicians at custom transmission shops can readily provide the ASE Blue Seal of Automotive Excellence and other certifications when asked or display them in the shop.

Knowledgeable Technicians and Service Providers

You will hardly find a custom transmission shop that doesn’t have knowledgeable technicians and service providers. These specialists are always ready to answer any burning question you have about your transmission. 

They can provide highly detailed and crystal-clear explanations of any problem they encounter when fixing your transmission.

Specialists at custom transmission shops can also highlight the necessary repairs without boring you with auto-jargons. 

They can really hold their own when discussing the best rebuild or repair options for your car, based only on the issues you are experiencing, the condition of your vehicle, as well as the specific concerns or needs you have.

Availability of the Right Equipment/Tools

Every custom transmission shop showcases state-of-the-art tools and equipment that shows how invested it is in the overall quality of diagnostic and timely repair services it provides.

Newer vehicles always require specialized equipment, and custom transmission shops do not lack in this area. This enables them to complete repairs properly and on time. 

Most custom transmission shops also have top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment that greatly or significantly minimizes the chance of misdiagnoses. Some generalist transmission repair shops make misdiagnoses which often costs the customer time and money.

This is one of the vitally essential reasons custom transmission shops are sought-after and preferable to generalist repair shops.

Accurate Estimates of Total Cost of Repair

Most custom transmission shops are honest and highly reliable when providing accurate estimates of the total cost of fixing your troublesome transmission. They will seek and obtain written permission from customers like you before commencing the repairs on your transmission.

As you may have guessed, transmission diagnostics usually involve removing the faulty transmission from your automobile entirely. This can be time-consuming, and therefore, pretty expensive.

Custom transmission shops will not rob you or send you on a wild-goose chase before revealing the general price estimate. This is what inferior tech shops do, and you end up paying a lot more for transmission repairs, which may not yield a favorable outcome.

Timely Transmission Rebuilds

A transmission rebuild is an excellent opportunity to efficiently replace multiple OEM parts with brand-new, high-performance grade components or parts without incurring the well-known costs of a total transmission replacement that some inferior auto repair shops would suggest.

A custom transmission shop will help you save money by replacing only the necessary parts. To rebuild your transmission, the specialists will take it down from your vehicle, take it apart, and replace multiple damaged OEM parts with new, well-crafted aftermarket parts.

Custom transmission shops possess the expertise or technical know-how to take a failing – or failed – transmission and fix it such that it handles up to 1200 horsepower as well as 1000 feet per pound of torque. Your transmission will be dyno-tested for up to 100 miles in order to ensure that it offers the best performance metrics.

But inferior or generalist transmission shops would suggest a total replacement of your transmission, which will cost you northwards of $3,500.


A custom transmission shop can give you a full warranty on all repairs. This will give you profound confidence that you will always be covered if any problem occurs after completing repair procedures.

Take note that, at times, warranties are subject to some limitations, including time and mileage. This is why you should find out or check with the dealership if your vehicle is under warranty from them to see if the custom transmission shop is an affiliate.


As you can see, the benefits of going to a custom transmission shop to fix your faulty transmission cannot be overstated. Getting technicians or mechanics from inferior shops will not only cost you a lot of money, but they may even end up making matters worse.

Therefore, the next time your transmission starts acting up, you should already know where to take your vehicle for a mechanical checkup. 

However, do not wait until your transmission goes out before searching for a custom transmission shop. Make sure you have searched for and located a good one in your state or neighborhood. You can ask for referrals or read reviews online or use Google Maps to find a custom transmission shop near you.