Signs That Your Transmission Is Slipping

If you’re trying to figure out what the early signs of transmission failure are, you might be facing a very expensive repair bill. Find out what transmission slipping signs to look out for here — and let JunkCarMasters explain what your options are.

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What Does It Mean If Your Transmission Is Slipping?

When people talk about a slipping transmission, they are talking about a transmission that isn’t shifting smoothly or isn’t staying in gear as you drive.

It can be easy to notice when something is going on with your transmission as you don’t normally notice gears shifting (unless you drive a manual transmission). Automatic transmissions make changing speed (and gears) smooth. So, slipping gears can feel jarring.

What Is A Transmission?

what does it mean if your transmission is slipping

A transmission is a key part of any vehicle. It’s made up of interconnected parts that synchronize to propel your car forward. In the simplest terms, a transmission converts the power generated by the engine into functional movement.

It allows you to moderate your speed and maintain control over your vehicle.

Most automobiles are fitted with automatic transmissions that change gears automatically in response to acceleration or deceleration.

Signs Of Transmission Slipping

As mentioned above, transmission slipping signs can be pretty obvious since a functioning transmission runs so smoothly.

If you’re, still confused about what transmission slipping feels like, we go over the most common symptoms below:

  • Vehicle feels sluggish: Usually, when you press the accelerator pedal, your car responds immediately and begins increasing speed. However, if your transmission is slipping, your car might not accelerate as quickly as before even if you’re pressing hard on the pedal.

  • Loud engine revving: A loud engine is related to sluggish acceleration as your engine and transmission are out of sync. Your engine is cranking out the necessary power (hence, the loud revving), but the transmission is not responding properly.

  • Sudden shifts into neutral: When your transmission is slipping, it can switch into neutral while you’re driving. This occurs because it is having trouble switching to a necessary gear. Instead of shifting up or down, the transmission switches to neutral.

  • Unable to shift between gears: Difficulty switching gears is a telltale sign that your transmission is slipping. This can be due to worn-out gears or low transmission fluid.

  • Grinding or whining sound: If you’re having transmission slipping issues, one of the most common signs is a strange new noise that sounds like whining or grinding. Noises can result from gears grinding or slipping past each other.

Why Is Your Transmission Slipping?

Normal wear is a common culprit when it comes to transmission issues. Below, though, we break down specific reasons for your transmission slipping:

  1. Low or burned-out transmission fluid: Transmission fluid works much like motor oil by lubricating and cleaning the transmission. Similarly, it needs to be replaced periodically to keep the transmission running smoothly. It is one of the easiest solutions to transmission slipping problems.

  2. Solenoid issues: The solenoid is responsible for controlling the flow of transmission fluid in the transmission to the right gear. If this part malfunctions, your transmission might not get the right amount of fluid and it will overheat and slip.

  3. Damaged or broken transmission bands: These bands engage and release at specific moments in response to keep the transmission performing smoothly. Worn-out or broken transmission bands can cause the transmission to slip.

  4. Worn gears: Gears can wear out due to normal use as well as insufficient or ineffective transmission fluid or overheating. Worn gears can slip, grind, fail to engage, and have a hard time switching.

  5. Worn clutch plates: Clutch plates located inside both the transmission and torque converter are used to engage different gears. When these plates wear out or get burnt up, you can experience uneven gear shifting and gear slipping.

  6. Torque converter issues: The torque converter works by transferring engine power to the transmission by using hydraulic pressure. With a damaged converter, there won’t be enough pressure to change gears effectively or consistently. As a result, gears can slip.

cost to repair your transmission

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Slipping Transmission?

The cost to repair a slipping transmission can be high. You can expect to spend more than $1,000 no matter if you’re opting for a rebuilt transmission or a new one from the original manufacturer. The expected cost range, though, is between $1,100 and $3,200.

Here’s a breakdown of expected costs for repair, total replacement, and labor:

Service Low-End Cost High-End Cost

Solenoid Replacement



Torque Converter Replacement



Used/Salvaged Transmission Replacement



Rebuilt Transmission Replacement



OEM Transmission Replacement






How To Sell A Car With A Damaged Transmission

The cost of a slipping transmission repair can make any driver consider other options. JunkCarMasters is here to be one of those options.

We’re your go-to if you’re considering selling your car instead of repairing the damaged transmission. While other buyers might be hesitant to purchase a damaged car that needs a costly repair, we are happy to buy it!

This is how our service works:

  1. Get your offer! You can get your offer from our online form in as little as 90 seconds.

  2. Schedule the pickup! If you like our quote, we can help you schedule your pickup at a time that works for you.

  3. Get paid! Wait for the driver to arrive and hand over your payment on the spot! It’s really that easy.

The entire process is free and you don’t even have to leave your home. Try our calculator today and find out how much your car is worth!

Can I Drive With A Slipping Transmission?

You should not drive with a slipping transmission even if you are able to. That’s because the unpredictability of a slipping transmission increases the likelihood of an accident occurring.

If your transmission slipping symptoms are severe enough, you might not even be able to operate your car.

What Are Early Signs Of Transmission Slipping?

There are several transmission slipping symptoms that your car will display early on. They can include:

  • Rough shifting

  • Sluggish acceleration

  • Grinding or whirring noises

  • Inability to shift between gears

  • Loud engine revving

What Are Early Signs Of Transmission Failure?

While there are signs that your transmission is slipping, there are also signs that your transmission is nearing failure—which is more severe than the gears slipping. Here are some of those symptoms to look out for:

  • Engine overheating

  • Burning smell

  • Gears not switching

  • Check engine light

  • Stalling

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