Important Shortcuts for Auto Service and Repairs

2 Reasons Why Your Car's Automatic Transmission Is Failing

by Emilia Latvala

If your drive a car with an automatic transmission, you may have noticed some issues whenever it attempts to shift gears to keep up with your speed. The gears may stall or slip while shifting, or you may occasionally hear grinding or whining noises during gear changes.

When this happens, you will need to take your car to a professional service to have them diagnose the problem causing the issues. There are a couple of possible reasons why your car's automatic transmission is failing that they may address.

1.  Torque Converter Is Bad Due To Worn Needle Bearings

One possible reason why your car's transmission has started to fail is that the torque converter is going bad. This is usually the case if you hear a whining sound when the transmission shifts. You may also notice that your car suddenly feels like it is in neutral even though you are driving.

If the torque converter has gone bad, this issue is usually caused by worn needle bearings. Because the surfaces of these bearings are worn down, they do not allow the converter to produce the needed torque to fully engage the gears.

When this happens, there will be delays during shifting, making the car whine as if you are stepping on the gas while it is in neutral. The bearings will need to be replaced and recalibrated, which requires a professional to do the job.

2.  Solenoid Valve Is Damaged Due To Constant Low Transmission Fluid

Another possible problem that may be causing your car's transmission to fail is that the solenoid valve has been damaged. This is typically caused by prolonged low transmission fluid levels.

The valve is responsible for maintaining pressure within the transmission's electro-hydraulic system. When the fluid remains low for long periods of time, the valve has problems regulating the pressure, and the strain will eventually lead to it being damaged. 

When this happens, even if you add the right amount of fluid, the gears will not be properly lubricated and start grinding because the valve will no longer deliver the correct amount. The valve will need to be changed by a professional, and they will most likely have to replace the gears as well.

Whether the problems with your car's transmission are caused by a bad torque converter or a damaged solenoid valve, you will need to have a professional take care of the problem for you. Attempting to repair the issue yourself could cause further damage. Take your car to an auto shop that offers automatic transmission services to have them diagnose the exact issue so that they can take the necessary steps to fix it.