Tips to Stop an Automatic Transmission From Slipping

by Jen DavisUpdated July 10, 2023
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Depending on your type of transmission (automatic or manual transmission) a slipping transmission can occur when you are accelerating and your engine is producing the power to go faster but your vehicle does not shift promptly. The RPM gauge on your vehicle will read an unusually high RPM, but your car’s transmission may feel like it is struggling to accelerate or stuck at one speed for a moment, before the vehicle shifts. Slippage is the first sign of automatic transmission problems. Before heading to a repair shop for a transmission fix, there are several things you can do that may help if your vehicle's transmission and prevent further damage.

Error Codes

A check engine light is the error signal your car will send you. Additionally, the transmission control module stores error codes for your transmission just as the vehicle's computer stores engine error codes. If your transmission is slipping, it is a good idea to take your vehicle to a transmission shop and have these codes scanned in order to determine what exact problem is causing the transmission to slip and have it repaired.

Transmission Fluid Level

Flow of transmission fluid is important for an engine’s power. Low transmission fluid is one common cause transmission slipping or failing to shift promptly. Transmission fluid provides lubrication and hydraulic pressure for the transmission. Thus, with low fluid levels you may experience shifting problems. Old transmission fluid is an issue because it does not provide the same amount of lubrication as new fluid. In some cases, a fluid change is all that is needed to solve the transmission issue.

To prevent slipping and other shifting problems, you should service your transmission and change the fluid in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific car or truck.

Transmission Additives

There are a number of transmission additives on the market that claim to be able to prevent and stop transmission slipping and other related problems. These products may be able to prolong the life of your transmission or provide a quick fix for problems. However, you should discuss use of any specific products with your transmission specialist before you add them to your vehicle's transmission fluid.

Transmission bands

If you also hear strange noises, including a grinding or scratching sound when the engine revs, and experience jolting when hard shifting, the issue is the transmission band. Replacing the faulty transmission belt may take weeks and may require a rebuild kit, gaskets and o-rings. If you’re not experienced with auto repair, transmission service at an auto repair shop is the safest bet.

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