How Do You Know If Your Transmission Is Slipping?

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The moment you notice an issue with your car, especially when it has to do with the engine or its components, it is advisable to fix the issue on time.

Particularly, when the issue is from the transmission, there are many ways to figure that out; one of the symptoms of a bad or failing transmission is “Slipping.”

Transmission slipping is a severe situation that can lead to serious fatality. But not all drivers understand what it means for transmission to slip.

Hence, the big question remains, “How do you know if your transmission is slipping?” Apparently, if you could detect this issue on time, you’d be able to fix it early.

Let’s learn how to do that!

What is Transmission Slipping?

In simple words, transmission slipping simply means that your car automatically selects gears. This means that you may shift from the first gear to the second, only to discover that your car automatically slipped to neutral or to another gear that’s not what you selected.

Of course, this is not a good thing at all. A slipping transmission may look common to some drivers, but it could damage the entire transmission system, which would be costlier to repair.

How Do You Know If Your Transmission Is Slipping?

Can You Drive With A Slipping Transmission

Depending on the type of transmission system used in your car, the symptoms of a slipping transmission may differ. Regardless, below are some of the signs that your transmission is slipping.

1. Gear Shifting

If you try to upshift your gear and it falls back to a lower gear or refuses to upshift (switch to another gear), it is a sign that your transmission is slipping.

This is common with vehicles that have automatic transmissions; you may not experience this symptom if your car is designed with manual transmission.

2. Reverse Problems

Another way to detect a slipping transmission is when you’re unable to put the car into reverse mode. That is to say, when the reverse gear seems not working, it is possible that you’re driving with a slipping transmission and this is a critical issue that should be tackled immediately.

3. Check Engine Light

Automobiles are now highly computerized that once there’s an issue with any component of the machine (car), a corresponding notification would appear (or flash) on the dashboard console. In this case, a slipping transmission may cause the check engine light to appear on the dashboard.

That said, when you need the check engine notification, it is advisable to find a safe place to pull over and “check your engine.”

4. Torque Converter Failure

Yes, a bad torque converter can subsequently cause transmission slipping. The torque converter lies between the engine and the transmission; it is a vital component and shouldn’t be left unattended when it starts showing signs of failure.

So, talking about torque converter failure as a way of knowing that your transmission is slipping; when the converter is bad, your car would not accelerate properly. Also, you’d notice difficulties in switching gears, and the engine may overheat.

Can You Drive With A Slipping Transmission?

How Do You Know If Your Transmission Is Slipping

Some people do it, but it not advisable in any sense. Whenever a component of your car engine is faulty, it is advisable to fix it up before using the car again. Acting nonchalantly to engine-related problems can lead to serious damage and more expensive repairs.

A slipping transmission can cause an accident because the gears won’t respond and some other critical components of the car won’t respond, too.

Regardless of the type of transmission used for your car, it is dangerous to drive a car with a slipping transmission.

Read Also: Can A Transmission Go Out Without Warning?

How To Fix Slipping Transmission

It is best to drive the car into a mechanic workshop for proper servicing. Transmissions issues aren’t like other issues that can be quickly solved by applying simple DIY techniques.

However, you should check the fluids and ascertain if they’re up to the recommended level. If the fluids have gone down below the marked level, simply refill them and that could solve the slipping.


The commonest symptom of a slipping transmission is when the gear shifts inconsistently. However, since it is apparent that are quite a lot of things that could cause transmission slipping, it is best to pay attention to every sound or irregularity you notice while driving every day.

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