Transmission Slipping

Transmission Slipping: Signs & Causes You Need to Know

Transmission slipping is one of the dangerous concerns of owning a car. But automatic transmissions are more at risk. It’s one of the issues your automatic vehicle could develop. Minor at the start, it gets worse overtime.

Unfortunately, a slipping clutch will lead to other problems. However, a transmission slip doesn’t indicate a transmission replacement. Remember, slipping could occur due to several reasons in automatic cars that you can fix.

But manual transmission slipping often develops due to a worn-out clutch. Therefore, the sooner you deal with the problem, the better it will be for your vehicle. You can detect the slipping by knowing its causes and keeping an eye on specific signs.

But first, we need to know:

What Does It Mean by Transmission Slipping?

If you’re wondering, your transmission slips when your car’s engine revs, but you don’t experience acceleration during driving. When this happens, know that the wheels didn’t get the power produced by the engine. Moreover, automatic transmission also slips when the fluid level isn’t sufficient.

Automatic Transmission Slipping Signs for Vehicle Owners

How do you know if your transmission is slipping? As a car owner, it’s best to know transmission slipping symptoms. By educating yourself regarding the transmission slipping signs, you will opt for a transmission slipping quick fix.

  • Your vehicle seems to struggle when you shift the gear from one to another.
  • Your check engine light comes on indicating a transmission issue.
  • There’s a burning smell when you drive.
  • Your dashboard showcases a high RPM when you’re driving.
  • Acceleration delays when you shift to the gas in your car.

Common Transmission Slipping Causes

The following are the common causes that lead to transmission slippage.

Burnt Transmission Fluid

Don’t know how to find your transmission fluid is burnt? Don’t worry; it’s an easy process. When transmission fluid gets burnt, it turns black. It also starts to smell like a burnt toast.

Moreover, the change in the fluid occurs due to overheating. You can overcome this issue by changing your transmission fluid, checking your engine and gearbox for damage.

Faults with Solenoid

The transmission solenoid works like a valve and regulates the fluid flowing in your car’s transmission. It also ensures that all transmission components get the right amount of fluid to work without interruption.

When problems occur in the solenoid, or it gets broken, your transmission starts experiencing irregular flow. In the cases where transmission slipping happens without a trace of fluid leak, it means a faulty solenoidcould be the reason.

Insufficient Transmission Fluid

There is a possibility that your vehicle doesn’t have enough transmission fluid in it. And it might be contributing to transmission slipping.

Modern cars don’t come with dipsticks that enable you to check transmission fluid levels. However, low levels of transmission fluid also indicate that there’s a problem somewhere in your system that’s causing transmission fluid leaks.

Hence, it’s best to keep an eye on the particular signs of transmission fluid leakage. The fluid is red in color and slick. If it’s leaking, it will accumulate underneath your vehicle. If that’s the case, find the leakage source at the earliest and have it repaired without delay.

If the leak isn’t severe, you can refill the fluid, focusing on the dipstick mark to reach the repair facility. But if the repair is severe, your car needs to get towed. In this case, it’s best not to drive as it will damage the lubricated parts inside your vehicle.

Moreover, not fixing the leak and keeping the fluid in your car will lead to overheating. It might lower the hydraulic pressure in your transmission, which causes transmission slipping. Your transmission also struggles when you try to change the gears.

Apart from leak fixing, you need to know how often you should replace your transmission fluid. You can easily access the information in your manufacture’s manual. For most modern cars, trucks, and SUVs, synthetic fluid will last for a long time, but you will need to replace it at a certain point.

On the other hand, you need to be mindful about changing your transmission fluid, if you do it more often, tow with your vehicle, experience a lot of stop-and-go traffic, live in a hilly area, etc.

The best way is to follow the recommendations provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer to keep transmission fluid levels fresh and accurate.

Faulty Torque Converter

Not everyone knows about it, but torque converter is another aspect of your transmission. Like solenoids, the torque converter in transmission plays an essential role in the operation.

It’s a fluid coupler and contains a friction clutch that locks up. It provides better gas mileage when you go into the overdrive. But until it reaches lock-up, it slips as it uses fluid to drive the transmission.

When a torque converter fails to do its job correctly, problems arise. If it malfunctions, it leads to overheating inside the transmission; remember that heat damages the rest of the transmission.

Trusted Automatic Transmission Repair Shop We are Eagle Transmission “The One to Trust!” Contact Us Today

Worn Out Clutch

Worn out clutch contributes to manual transmission slipping in most cases. Due to the extensive use of the vehicle, the clutch will wear thin and won’t run as it should.

Ideally, a clutch needs to run anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000 miles before you replace it. According to a rule of thumb, you need to examine your clutch by a professional after 20k miles to keep it in the best shape.

How to Fix a Slipping Transmission?

We’ve discussed how to tell if the transmission is slipping; now it’s time to know how to fix the slippage. The remedy depends on the problem.

For example, the remedy could be as simple as adding more transmission fluid if its running low. But you need to inspect any internal damage if your current fluid is burnt with parts, such as clutch or other gears that may need to be replaced.

To counter this problem, you can even have the transmission system reinstalled. No doubt, it’s an expensive option, but it may be the only way to keep your vehicle up and running smoothly. However, to prevent the total replacement, get your car inspected at the earliest.

What Does It Feel Like When Your Transmission Slips?

If you aren’t familiar with what does it feels like during the transmission slippage, you will hear the engine revving during gear changing. It may feel like you’re driving your car over ice for a moment. It’s easier to shrug off at first because it seems a minor issue.

However, if you ignore the problem and don’t maintain your car, the issue can elevate. And in a result, you will be dealing with severe transmission problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What does a transmission slip feel like?

When a transmission slips, it results in delayed acceleration. Vehicles also struggle to shift from one gear to another. The problem also results in a high RPM on the car’s dashboard.

  • Can I drive with a slipping transmission?

It isn’t recommended. If your car switches gear unexpectedly while you’re driving, it can lead to a dangerous situation as your vehicle starts to shake. Another danger is that the car doesn’t change the gears smoothly.

  • What happens when your transmission is slipping?

It might feel like your vehicle is slow to respond. In some cases, it doesn’t respond at all when your step the gas pedal. You can also notice a change in your transmission’s performance with a change in pitch or noise when it changes gears.

  • How much would it cost to fix a slipping transmission?

On average, the repair cost ranges from $300 to $1,400. For example, if you need a new clutch, you can expect to pay around $800 to $1,500. Remember, transmission replacement is one of the expensive repairs and ranges from $1,800 to $3,400.

  • How long does a slipping transmission last?

If there’s no service or maintenance routine, the transmission is likely to fail after 100 miles. If you’re aiming to drive up to 10-15,000 miles in a year, your transmission could last for good seven years. With proper care and service, transmission can last up to 300,000 miles or more.


Transmission slipping shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you notice unusual noise, a burnt smell, or a fluid leak, you need to opt for automatic transmission service.

With the help of a professional, you can identify the root cause of your transmission problem and get back on the road with ease.

More importantly, it’s dangerous to drive when your car is slipping, overheating, or shifting strangely. If you experience any signs, bring your vehicle to the professional at the earliest and prevent the risk of severe damage.

banner img We are Eagle Transmission “The One to Trust!” Contact Us Today Contact Us Today