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What Can Go Wrong with the Torque Converter on Your Transmission?

by Emilia Latvala

Imagine you are driving your car on a highway and suddenly hear a strange noise coming from your car's transmission. This kind of issue could be a problem with your torque converter, which is a crucial part of an automatic transmission system. You can get into a lot of trouble if it malfunctions, so it pays to know more about this part, how it works, what can go wrong and what you should do to try and prevent issues.

What Is the Converter?

The torque converter is a hydraulic device that connects the engine to the transmission. This device transfers power from the engine to the transmission and keeps the engine running while the vehicle is stopped. When you press the brake pedal while driving your automatic transmission car, the torque converter disengages, allowing you to come to a stop without stalling the engine.

What Are the Main Problems?

One of the most common problems with the torque converter is the wearing of the internal components, such as the clutch or the bearings. If the clutch starts to slip, it will cause a decrease in the amount of power that is transmitted to the transmission. And if the bearings fail, it will cause a lack of lubrication, resulting in an unbearable grinding noise.

Another issue that can arise with the torque converter is the overheating of the transmission fluid. The torque converter's job is to pump fluid throughout the transmission system, but if it's defective, it can hinder the fluid's flow, leading to overheating. When the fluid gets too hot, it can cause seals and gaskets to crack, rendering the torque converter and transmission ineffective.

What Else Can Go Wrong?

The torque converter's solenoid can also cause trouble. This solenoid controls the lockup of the torque converter, which is essential in ensuring that vehicle acceleration is smooth. If the solenoid gets stuck, it can cause a host of problems, such as stalling, rough acceleration, decreased performance and more.

Lastly, a common issue with the torque converter is the debris that builds up inside the system. The torque converter can accumulate residue and metal fragments due to several factors, including the ageing of the transmission. These substances can penetrate the converter and cause it to malfunction, leading to multiple transmission problems.

What to Do Next

In conclusion, the torque converter is an essential component of an automatic transmission system, and several issues can arise if it malfunctions. Common problems include the wearing of internal components, solenoid issues, overheating issues and debris buildup. If you experience any strange noise, clunking sounds or stalling, it's essential to consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose the problem. However, remember that regular maintenance can also prevent many of these problems. So, if it's been some time since you serviced the transmission on your vehicle, get in touch with a mechanic today to fix that issue.

For more information on automatic transmissions, contact a professional near you.