Tap to Read ➤

Automatic Transmission Slipping

Omkar Phatak
Transmission slipping is one of the worst problems which your car could face. In this story, I discuss the symptoms and causes of slipping in automatic transmission systems, that you should watch out for.
Automatic transmission is fairly commonplace now, as more and more drivers prefer having one less thing to worry about. However, there are certain problems, associated with it, which primarily include low efficiency and slipping.
A car's transmission distributes the torque generated by the engine and makes maximum efficient use of the engine's capacity. It is due to the car transmission that variable speeds of operation are made possible.
It makes driving easier and lets the car itself handle the changing of gears, according to speed. There is no clutch pedal required and the driver has to only worry about steering, acceleration, and braking. However, it has its own set of problems.


Slipping is a serious problem. That is why, it helps if you know the symptoms of a transmission slipping out of gear, which are listed further.

Sudden High RPM Reading

Transmission slipping can cause an abnormal increase in engine RPM readings. If the reading increases beyond 3000 to 3500, then your engine may be going into overdrive, due to slipping.

Car Coasts For Longer Time

When driving, if you suddenly take your foot off the acceleration pedal, then it coasts for some distance before coming to a stop. When slipping occurs, you may notice that the car coasts for a longer time than normal, before it comes to a stop.

Gear Downshifting Has Slowed Down

Chances are that your car's transmission might be slipping when gear downshifting is slower. Sometimes, downshifting is accompanied with an increase in RPM. Lagging of the car speed, to keep up with change in gears, is another indication of slipping.

Delay in Acceleration

One of the prime symptoms of slipping is a noticeable delay in acceleration and a significant loss in engine power. The engine revs up more and acceleration is delayed. This is a classic symptom of a transmission, that is slipping out of gear.

Transmission Fluid Turns Brownish

It is observed that when slipping occurs, there is a change in the color of transmission fluid, from red to brown.

Noise at High Speeds

High pitched grinding noises are another feature of a transmission slipping. The noise often gets louder, while speeding up or slowing down. If this becomes a regular feature, it's time you got your car transmission checked out.

Reverse Gear Problems

When there is slipping in cold weather, one noticeable feature is the difficulty of getting into reverse gear. The transition into reverse gear is hesitant and not at all smooth, as you will notice.


There are many causes of slipping as the system itself is quite complex in its makeup.

Torque Converter Malfunctioning

Modern automatic transmission systems are hydraulic in nature and the power for driving them, comes through the torque converter. It is the converter which pressurizes the transmission fluid and provides hydraulic power to shift gears. A malfunctioning torque converter, with a reduced pressurizing capacity, can be one of the main causes.

Transmission Band Problems

For the proper working of a transmission unit, it is vital that the bands are adjusted well. If they are not, gears can slip out of place and cause slipping.

Worn-out Gears

Gears which have worn out, along with worn-out bands, can be the prime causes of a slipping transmission. Worn-out gears do not engage properly, causing the slipping.

Drop in Level of Transmission Fluid

One of the common reasons for slipping is inadequate levels of fluid, which adversely affects gear functioning.
If you see any of the signs of transmission slipping mentioned here, make sure that you get it checked out, as soon as possible.