Most Common Reasons Why a Transmission Slips

Updated on January 8, 2017
eddiecarrara profile image

Eddie spent 33 years in the automotive business with Honda. He is an ASE certified master technician.

We all know what an automatic transmission is, basically—very basically, at least—so I'm not going to bore you with the details about how it converts power from your engine into power at the wheels. But you should know that the process involves plenty of hydraulic fluid as well as gears and clutches.

If you don't know why your car’s transmission is slipping, I just might have the answer, though you may not want to hear what I have to say.

The cause of a slipping transmission will depend on the type of transmission you have in your vehicle. There are three types of transmissions: automatic, standard (or “manual”), and CVT (continuously variable transmission). I will discuss the two most common types, automatic and standard.

Why Is My Automatic Transmission Slipping?

If you have an automatic transmission and it "slips" while you are driving it—that is, the car engine revs without the power going to the wheels—the most common cause (though not the only possible cause) is low transmission fluid. If the slipping is caused by low fluid, it will get worse as the transmission gets hotter.

Why Is My Manual Transmission Slipping?

A standard (“manual”) transmission uses fluid too, but leaks aren’t a common issue; a standard transmission could lose all its fluid and never slip at all, though eventually it would lock up while driving down the road. If you have a standard transmission, and it’s slipping—the engine revs but it doesn’t transmit power to the wheels—the problem is usually in the clutch.

Further down in the article I discuss how to diagnose this problem.

Sounds Like Low Transmission Fluid to Me

If Your Automatic Transmission Is Low on Fluid

The next question is, why? Probably because you have a leak. Maybe you have noticed red transmission fluid in your driveway or your parking spot at work, but it didn’t occur to you that it came from your car. The cause of your leak is probably a failure of one of the seals that keep the oil inside the transmission (though there are other places the transmission might leak). How many seals the transmission has depends on whether you have a front-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, or rear-wheel-drive car.

If you do have a seal that is leaking, and you catch it in time before it damages your transmission, there’s a chance it might be relatively cheap to repair. Seals themselves are not expensive parts, but depending on where they are located, it might take a lot of labor to replace them.

Transmission Axle Seal: A Common Site for Leaks

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An axle seal might cost you about $20. It's the labor that kills you. An axle seal that is not leaking fluid.Axle seal inside the transmission, with the axle removed.A typical axle seal leak.This axle seal is just starting to leak.A great view of the axle going into the transmission. You can see the transmission fluid starting to leak down the transmission case.
An axle seal might cost you about $20. It's the labor that kills you.
An axle seal might cost you about $20. It's the labor that kills you. | Source
An axle seal that is not leaking fluid.
An axle seal that is not leaking fluid.
Axle seal inside the transmission, with the axle removed.
Axle seal inside the transmission, with the axle removed.
A typical axle seal leak.
A typical axle seal leak.
This axle seal is just starting to leak.
This axle seal is just starting to leak.
A great view of the axle going into the transmission. You can see the transmission fluid starting to leak down the transmission case.
A great view of the axle going into the transmission. You can see the transmission fluid starting to leak down the transmission case.

If you have the leak checked out by your mechanic, and he tells you it’s just your axle seal, it could just cost you for a couple hours of labor, and you could be back on the road in a few hours if the parts are readily available. Axle seal failures are common, and the dealer will usually have those seals in stock. But if it's your input shaft seal, plan on leaving your car for a day or two, and expect the labor cost to be upwards of eight to ten hours.

Input Shaft Seal: Another Site for Leaks

Leaking input shaft seal.
Leaking input shaft seal.

This photo shows an input shaft seal leak. To replace this seal, the transmission needs to be removed from the car; this job can get costly.

Be sure to check your owner's manual on how to check your transmission fluid.
Be sure to check your owner's manual on how to check your transmission fluid.
Typically you fill the transmission through the dipstick tube, using a small funnel.
Typically you fill the transmission through the dipstick tube, using a small funnel.

Checking and Topping Off Automatic Transmission Fluid to Prevent Slipping

If your transmission is leaking, you will want to fix it. Meanwhile, if you must drive a car with a leaking transmission, you should top off the fluid.

Check your owner’s manual to see exactly how you should check your transmission fluid level. Some manufacturers will want you to check the transmission fluid level when the engine is warmed up and running with the transmission in park, other manufacturers like Honda will have you check it with the engine warmed up but not running. So be sure to read your owner's manual, DON'T GUESS!

If your transmission fluid level is low and not showing on the dipstick, add transmission fluid--the proper transmission fluid. Each car manufacturer uses a specific fluid. If you use the wrong fluid, you could damage your transmission internally, so again, check your owner's manual. Fill it to the top line on the dipstick and then drive it to your mechanic.

Note: Sometimes when an automatic transmission is low on fluid and you top it off, air pockets develop inside the transmission that keep the fluid from getting to all the parts of the mechanism. After adding the fluid, I suggest that while the car is running, you move the shift lever through the different gears on the shifter selector, and then check the fluid again. Running the shifter through the gears redirects the fluid to different parts of the transmission and removes the air pockets. You may have to do this procedure several times, or even drive the car around the block, and then recheck the fluid level.

Note: I do not recommend using additives that are supposed to stop leaks; they can plug up the transmission. Use the automatic transmission fluid your car manufacturer makes.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Other Fluids That Leak From Cars

If you are concerned about other fluids besides automatic transmission fluid that seem to be coming out of your car, here's some useful advice.

Clutch disc and pressure plate. The clutch looks like it blew apart. If you ride your clutch it may look like this.
Clutch disc and pressure plate. The clutch looks like it blew apart. If you ride your clutch it may look like this.

Common Cause of Manual Transmission Slippage: Worn-Out Clutch

If you think your clutch is starting to slip, you can try a stall test. Put your car in third gear and try starting off like you would normally, as if you were in first gear. If your clutch is working properly, letting the clutch out all the way should stall the car. If, however, the clutch is slipping, the engine RPMs will rise, the car will slowly start rolling, and you will have a smell like burning paper coming from the engine compartment. When a clutch starts slipping you will smell it. It’s like the smell of overheated brakes.

There are many reasons why a clutch would slip, but the most common reason is that the clutch is worn out. A clutch disc can last anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000 miles—it all depends on the way you drive—but like a brake pad, it’s a consumable item, and will be used up eventually, leaving the parts grinding metal-on-metal. If the clutch disc is worn out, you need to replace it, generally also along with the clutch plate and one or two bearings. If you don't replace a worn clutch in time, you might have to replace the flywheel (the big chunk of metal next to it) as well.

Riding your clutch—that is, leaving your foot on the clutch pedal when you aren’t using it—can really eat up a clutch disc fast, especially if you drive in hilly areas. Just being a newbie and learning to use a clutch for the first time can cause a lot of wear and tear. Learning to drive on a standard transmission can end up costing you money if you don't get the hang of it quickly.

Then again, clutches slip for reasons not related to wear and tear or abuse. If your input shaft seal is leaking gear oil onto the clutch disc, this could very well cause a slipping clutch. Another common reason for a slipping clutch is a faulty or damaged pressure plate. The pressure plate is operated by a high-tension spring. If for some reason the pressure is not distributed evenly over the clutch disc, the clutch will start to slip.

Blown Clutch: It's Completely Worn Out

I Appreciate Your Questions!

There are many possible reasons for a slipping transmission and I could not cover all of them above. If you have any questions just leave them in the comment box below. If you find this article useful, do share it on Facebook or Twitter (see buttons at top of page).

Please Add Your Questions and Comments Here

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    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 25 hours ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Yousuf,

      It sounds like you may have a problem with th e1-2 shift solenoid on the out side of the transmission. I recommend having it checked for proper operation.

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      Yousuf Kadeer 6 days ago

      Hello Mr. Carrara:

      I have a 203 Honda Accord CL7...While on automatic transmission, the car jumps/jerks going from 1st to 2nd gear....but when I use the manual transmission where I have the control to go to the 2nd gear, it is okay...I have already replaced the gear oil. Please advise. Thank you.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 8 days ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Justbe,

      I think you need to start with replacing the clutch if the rpm's would rise when shifting gears.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 8 days ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Michelle,

      A new key would not cause this problem, have you checked the transmission fluid level yet?

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      Michelle 11 days ago

      Hi. I have a 2004 toyota camry altise. Recently had key replaced due to key broke in half. Car worked as usual. Its only been 3 weeks since key replacement. Yesterday when reversing I changed back into drive and it clunked. Started sliding in gears, slow changing. Then today drove it cold to end of street, went to drive off and it slow changed. Then it just had nothing. Pulled over. Checked through gears. Nothing. Felt it go into park. So I got tow truck to take it home. Got in car and gears work. I dont wanna drive it cause it might make it happen again. Any ideas would be helpful. Could it be computer from change of key?

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      JustBe78 11 days ago

      I have a 96 honda civic 5 speed, 1st changing gears would make my engine rev up here and there only changing gears, now my car is shaking, trying to cut off, the check engine light is flashing.. its hard to go I have to force it to go and its scary. Ive been told to get a tune-up and new fuel pump.. I think its the idol control vale and the clutch? Nobody has a complete clue. I am to scared to drive anywhere at this point. Its shaking, jerking, feels like its want to stale out, and it doesnt have any power!!

      Ive this car for 14 years, this is new problems and they are very scary when driving.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Michelle,

      Are you sure it's the transmission that is slipping and not the engine skipping or misfiring?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Rudy,

      Maybe a leak from an axle seal dripping onto the hot exhaust system?

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      Rudy 2 weeks ago

      I have a 2012 Honda Accord SE. runs well. But it smells like burning oil. Transmission oil. Why could be doing that?

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      michelle 2 weeks ago

      i have a 2003 focus trans fluid is full and it still slips...mostly around 45mph and sometimes at 25 mph. what could this be?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 3 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Albert,

      I would double check the fluid level but it sounds like you may have an electrical issue with a solenoid starting to fail. If it only happens rarely, keep an eye on it and try to keep notes on when it happens (like what speeds and conditions your driving in) so when you have it checked out you'll have good information to relay to the mechanic. Hope this helps.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 3 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Paul, it sounds more like an engine problem than a transmission problem. Will the engine rev when in park or neutral?

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      Albert-Y 3 weeks ago

      Hi Eddie,

      I have a 2003 Camry LE (4 cylinder, auto transmission) which runs well, but very rarely I have had the experience where I am going at a constant speed (freeway or street speed limits) and when I suddenly accelerate, the gear seems to slip and lose power and the rev goes suddenly much faster, then when I let up on the gas, it will get back to gear. I recently had an oil change at the dealership, and their checks show a normal transmission fluid level. Do you still think it might be a borderline low level that causes this or might this be an omen for something more serious. It happens so rarely that I never paid much attention to it. It has around 144K miles on it and never had any major issues, and I keep to the manufacturer's recommended service for the most part. Any insights would be appreciated, whether it puts my mind at ease or at least if the problem can lead to future problems, I can be proactive about it. Thanks!

      Albert

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      Albert-Y 3 weeks ago

      Hi Eddie,

      I have a 2003 Camry LE (4 cylinder, auto transmission) which runs well, but very rarely I have had the experience where I am going at a constant speed (freeway or street speed limits) and when I suddenly accelerate, the gear seems to slip and lose power and the rev goes suddenly much faster, then when I let up on the gas, it will get back to gear. I recently had an oil change at the dealership, and their checks show a normal transmission fluid level. Do you still think it might be a borderline low level that causes this or is might this be an omen for something more serious. It happens so rarely that I never paid much attention to it. It has around 144K miles on it and never had any major issues, and I keep to the manufacturer's recommended service for the most part. Any insights would be appreciated, whether it puts my mind at ease or at least if the problem can lead to future problems, I can be proactive about it. Thanks!

      Albert

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      paul 4 weeks ago

      Hi! I have a problem with my 97' corona exsior a/t, it shifts into 2nd gear but cant rev up, it moves, but even if I step on the accelerator to its max, it can't rev even up to 2500.

      thanks!

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 5 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Darcie,

      If you bring it to a transmission shop they can advise you on if it's worth putting the money into the car or not.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 5 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Mario,

      I recommend getting a second opinion. Before you replace the transmission I recommend replacing the transmission fluid and having the vehicle checked over for rodent damage. A vehicle sitting for 3 years can make a lot of nice homes for rodents the like to chew wires. Let me know what you decide to do.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 5 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Louie,

      Most newer cars have a grade logic transmission, so when going down a steep hill the transmission will downshift using the engine to help slow the vehicle down, this will cause high revs, so yes this is normal

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      Louie 5 weeks ago

      Hello, I have a Toyota 2014 Corolla and whenever I go down a steep hill, it feels like the transmission goes into neutral and also the revs start to go high. Is this normal?

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      Mario L 6 weeks ago

      Hi, Eddie.

      I have a 01 Grand Cherokee and had the transmission rebuilt. I had the car parked for 3 years and started driving it again recently, after checking all fluids.

      I've put about 200 miles in it. Last time I drove the car, I noticed the car lost power when going about 60mph.

      I took it to the shop and they say I need a new transmission. What could have happened?

    • profile image

      DArcie 6 weeks ago

      I have had a slipping auto transmission for a while, it seems to slip into a neutral for up to 3 seconds at times. I had the fluid flushed and replaced, but still having a problem. The car is only worth $3000. Worth paying price to get it looked at?

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      Zbyszek 6 weeks ago

      I have a Ford Windstar GL, 1995, engine 3.8, V6.

      I have replaced all three shift solenoids, vehicle speed sensor and have a torque converter renewed - all about 20 000 miles ago. Gaskets in the engine and wires too.

      Also, there is no check engine light on...

      Of course there is no O/D light blinking, so it's not an electrical fault/problem in the transition. Am I right? In a case of solenoid failure there is always an overdrive light blinking.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 6 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Amitava Bose,

      It sounds like a possible torque converter problem. You'll need to find a mechanic who knows transmissions well so they can do some testing on it.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 6 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Zbyszek,

      If the trans is not shifting into 3rd, it could be just a solenoid, but I'm not sure what the year make and model are or even if it has solenoids.

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      Zbyszek 6 weeks ago

      Hi!

      I wonder if You could help me...

      I have an automatic transmission problems. Driving with speed around 35 and higher the car is shaking and it seems it can't shift into a gear. It also doesn't shift right when slowing down. RPM is rising and there is no gear on.

      The O/D limp is not blinking, so it's not an electrical problem, am I right?

      Is there a possibility of transmission oil pump breakdown and problem with right pressure needed to change gears? Could it be only fuse or wire problem?

      Fluid level is right. Fluid colour is normal and smells brand-new. There are no leaks in the engine or transmission.

      I wonder also, could a 5 minutes stopover on N caused damage in the transmission?

      I did it once or twice and somehow after that I had some problems with tanny...

      1, 2, R are okay. It shifts properly and smooth.

    • profile image

      Amitava Bose 7 weeks ago

      I have a Lexus ES350 2007, 143K miles (automatic transmission). The transmission is slipping when going intro 3rd gear when taking off from a stop. Also, rumbling in gears between 40 and 60. Please advise what would be the best way for me to get this resolved.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 7 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      A leaking clutch pack?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 7 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Trina,

      The fluid could be very dirty and it could be clogging the filter, once you shut it off the debris falls off the filter and you can drive again for a few. I would check the condition of the fluid first.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 7 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tim,

      It does sound like you're losing pump pressure, the question is why? If you have a transmission shop in town, they can pressure test it for you to get a better idea of what is causing the problem.

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      Trina 7 weeks ago

      I have an 04 Buick Rainier automatic transmission and I felt a jerk while driving the other day and the transmission started acting like it was in neutral but if I wait awhile and turn the vehicle off the transmission will some times work for a short distance then back to acting like in neutral again. It has adequate amount of transmission fluid and no leaks. Have had no problems until this happened. Any idea on what the problem may be?

    • profile image

      Hi Eddie 8 weeks ago

      My car has been slipping on what seems to be the 1st gear(it’s an automatic). What could that be?

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      Timothy 8 weeks ago

      96 Chevy truck I replace the filter the gasket and it still slips whenever it gets warm when I first Crank It Up it drives fine till about a hundred yardsthen I cut it off for 2 minutes and it'll drive another hundred fifty yards and then does it again is it the transmission pump

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi James,

      It sounds like you're losing internal pressure in reverse, but usually, reverse is gear driven?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Amjad,

      I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with the VSS system or what it does.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Terence,

      It's possible you have a solenoid problem, but if you just had it rebuilt, I highly recommend bringing it back to the shop that did the repairs. I'm sure you paid out some good money to have that done and the vehicle is still not fixed. I recommend putting it back on the mechanic.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi B. Morre,

      Your RPM's go up and the car will not move very fast or at all.

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      B. Morre 2 months ago

      How do you know when your transmission is slipping bad

    • profile image

      Terence Hermoso 2 months ago

      Hi Sir Eddie. How are you?

      I have a Hummer H3 with 4L60E automatic transmission. Before the rebuilt of my transmission, everything was alright except for the 4th gear. I hear a very little grinding noise when i step on the gas. So, I immediately sent my car to the mechanic. But after the rebuilt of my transmission, I got a P0894 code (Transmission Component Slipping). All gears are working fine, but everytime when i drive long, my 4th gear is getting lost, and the 1st gear shifts very hard to 2nd gear. So, I have to pull over my car for 30mins to let the engine and the transmission cool down so that the 1st/2nd shift & the 4th gear will work fine again. What do you think is the problem?

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Amjad 2 months ago

      hi Ed

      i also happen to get a P0500 VSS code when i scan the vehicle,could it be that the whine and wheez in between gear changes is related to the vss going bad?

      thnx

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      James 2 months ago

      Why do I need to rev the engine to reverse but forward it is normal on my Volvo

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Chris,

      I recommend checking the pickup filter for debris or a cracked o-ring on the filter. It sounds like you are losing pressure inside the pump so start there. Is the fluid level correct?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Amjad,

      Start by checking the transmission fluid level and condition, the whine noise you hear is most likely the transmission pump.

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      Chris Creech 2 months ago

      I have a 1979 chevy it will pull and shift out when it catches but will only pull for about 1500 feet then stop pullin shut it off and will pull again that far no slippinh

    • profile image

      Amjad 2 months ago

      Hi

      i hope you are well and i really appreciate the good work you are doing here..God bless ya!

      Of late whenever i try to shift from Park to reverse,the car makes a wheezy kinda whine. It doesnt happen when i then try to shift from Neutral to D. The wheezy whine is more noticeable when the engine is cold,if i let it idle for a while the wheezy whine is less noticeable. Also while iam driving it makes the same wheezy whine in the lower gears 1-3 and the transition is kinda late by a few seconds,this happens while iam driving in a very calm manner,it is less noticeable if i press the accelerator down and am driving quicker.

      Any help would be appreciated.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Brian,

      loss of pump pressure?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Sandra,

      Has this ever happened to this vehicle before?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Keith,

      No, the axle splines were probably overheated and discolored, but it would not cause the transmission to slip. Either the fluid level was incorrect or you had a shift solenoid not working properly. Sorry for the late reply.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Irene,

      Sorry so late with my reply. It's possible you have a transmission fluid leak and you are very low on fluid. I would start by checking the transmission fluid level.

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      brian 2 months ago

      2008 cts4 owner car is fine but slips outta gear when put into gear sometimes even stalls car ?

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      sandra hinojos 2 months ago

      I parked my car put it in park. my drive way is at a steep incline. as soon as I took my foot off the brake it jumped 3 times and the steering and brakes locked

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      Keith 2 months ago

      My clutch failed and was replaced a month ago. Guy who fixed it didn't put MTF back in tranny and a week later had to have new transmission put in. The second shop who replaced the transmission told me the axle splines were burnt but axle should be OK, and reused that axle. A couple of hours after picking up the car, the ABS light, traction control light, and check engine light have come on and are staying on. I am also feeling slippage upon rapid acceleration (ie. Entering highway). Called tranny shop and they insist that it is a speed sensor and not the burnt axle splines. I suspect the axle is the problem. Not sure what mechanic meant by burnt splines, but could the axle be the cause of the slippage and ABS codes.

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      Irene Colbert 2 months ago

      I have a Nissan Versaa 2014 note. Just noticed last night while putting my foot on the gas pedal my car slips and the while barely driving it races. Sometimes doesn't even want to move usually when I want to use the gas pedal. Please help

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tara,

      First, you need to figure out why the RPM's are high and that may fix the other issue.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Stephanie,

      It sounds like you may have a 3rd gear shift solenoid not working properly. The shift solenoids are on the outside of the transmission, so they are replaceable without removing the transmission.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ahronchai,

      Usually, that is a sign of the filter clogging or the pump losing pressure. I recommend checking the transmission fluid level and condition first.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Katie,

      It sounds like you have an electrical problem, it could be the computer or an electronic shift solenoid, I don't think you need a complete transmission.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Dillon,

      Most likely you have either a bent shift fork or first gear synchro is worn. Both are internal transmission problems.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Dennis,

      Sometimes the type of brake fluid can cause shit quality issues. Have you ever had the transmission fluid changed with a fluid that is not compatible with your transmission?

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      Tara VanRijs 3 months ago

      My 2010 Ford Ranger Automatic has high RPM and does not want to engage into gear when going into reverse or drive. If i start out in 1 or 2 and then shift to drive it works fine. Any suggestions?

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      Stephanie mitten 3 months ago

      Hi, I have a 2003 Honda Accord 3.0 v6 automatic . I've been having issues with 3rd gear, with either it not engaging or being stuck. it use to only happen when i drove it for a few hours during the day but it slowly progressed to automatically. My machanic took it for a test drive and said it needs a new transmission right off the hop and told me they are hard to come by. For some reason I don't believe that's the only option. Could I just need a tranny flush? My brother mentioned a faulty tranny chip/ sensor? My car is sending the code for pedal positioning sensor D but I replaced that and it didn't help. Could it be faulty wiring ?

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      Ahronchai 3 months ago

      Hi Eddi,

      While I am driving in drive position my car slowly changes into neutral. It says it is in drive but it is in neutral. It stays like that until I stop the car out it into park position and restart the car after letting it sit off for a minute. I don't know what is wrong with it. It is a 1993 Sc400. Please help me thanks

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      Katie 3 months ago

      Ok so we were having problems with the transmission randomly not shifting gears. We just had the whole transmission flushed and all new fluid put in. Unfortunately it’s doing it again. However, when I turn car off and restart it, it does not do it. It’s so odd not sure if it could be the computer or if we need a whole new transmission. There is only 78,000 miles on the vehicle.

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      Dillon 3 months ago

      My cars slipping out of first gear back into Nuteral it doesn't do this everytime only every so often when slips back makes loud noise car is a manual and only had the clutch done about 10 months ago anyone have any ideas what might be wrong?

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      Dennis Jenkins 3 months ago

      Yes...

      Every once in a while ..when at a stop I hit the gas pedal and it goes into first hard it only does it so often I've had transmission checked out fluid is good no leaks on ground once it goes there is no other issues trany works fine after it does that I had it check with the diagnostic check and it shows nothing wrong with trany..I don't know what else to do have had 3 people check out it never does it for them ..could use any advice you might have

      Thanks

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Anna,

      Nice description :) I don't think it's the computer because you said that when you replaced the fluid the first time something changed. If it was the computer, nothing would have changed no matter how many time you replaced the fluid. I think you may have an internal flow problem, but I'm not sure if it's caused by a solenoid or a blockage. I recommend bringing it to your transmission specialist for a look. Let me know what they say, thanks.

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Daniel,

      What condition is the fluid in? Is it clean and pink? Or is it dark and dirty? Have you ever had a transmission fluid change?

    • eddiecarrara profile image
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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Mick,

      Sounds like you may have blown the third gear clutch pack inside the transmission. If you have a transmission specialist in town, I recommend getting some advice from them first.

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      Mick 3 months ago

      Hi, i have an old bedford cf ambulance with auto box,while driving it the other day i came to a small bridge when it went into top gear [3rd] i lost power and the box started slipping, dropped it to 2nd and all was ok till going into 3rd again.

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      Daniel 3 months ago

      Hi, ive got a 2008 Ford Focus SE automatic trans, and it does something of the sort. It is just way too loud. It will only over revv when changing between the first 3 gears, and that isnt every single time but more often than not. Once it hits 4th gear it is fine, works fine. Ive checked the fluid, ive recently changed my thermostat, i just cant put my finger on it. My dad told me he thought it sounded like the solenoids. Idk why but i feel like its the throttle sticking and ive wouldve already checked these out on my own but being its a car im unformal with, i keep my hands to myself. Could you give any insight or an opinion perhaps?

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      Anna 3 months ago

      2004 Ford Freestar V6-238 3.9L - 68,000 miles

      Intermittent problems. Sometimes happens. Sometimes doesn't.

      Premature shifting from 1st to 2nd. Quick into 2nd.

      Hard sift into 2nd. Jerks.

      Reverse doesn't engage, car feels like it's in netural, stepping on gas, rpm increase, delay then jerks into reverse.

      Tranny fluid never low.

      Repairs - changed transmission fliud $ 115.00

      Seamed to improve. Felt better. Didn't last.

      Back to same issues.....

      Mechanic says not likely tranny, but could be computer.

      Repair - removal and installation of powertrain control module. [Re-manfactured unit] $856.47 parts & labor

      Problem still exists.

      Removal of Re-manfactured unit, re-install orginal module. Refund $769.26

      Mechanic charged $87.21 for all his efforts.

      Summary: my mechanic consulted a tranny specialist. His recommendation was not to use Re-manfactured module. New module $1,300.00 +. My mechanic is punting...

      I have a reputable tranny mechanic. My next option is to give him this mess.

      I'd like your advise.

      P.S. previous Ford recall #12V006000 Troque Converter completed years ago.

      Thank you Anna - Cleveland, Oh

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Robin,

      Any time a vehicle with an automatic or CVT transmission is parked on an incline or decline, it puts a lot of pressure on the internal park gear, one way to releive the pressure in the transmission in this type of situation is to apply the parking brake before putting the transmission into park, then put the transmission back into gear before you release the parking brake to take off. Hope this helps.

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      Robin 3 months ago

      Hi Eddie, Can you help me understand my problem, I have an Allion 1.8 which has a cvt system.So I was experiencing a transmission slip like, changed the transmission fluid but problen doesnt resolve.There is no delay or problematic transmission while driving, but there is a lot of jerky wheels clinging slipping like sound whenever the car is put from P to R or P to D, and this happens while my car is parked on a uphill or downhill only.Please help me sort what might the problem be.Thanks a lot.

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi AMR,

      If the water is deep enough to get the clutch wet it could cause it to slip temporarily.

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Pablo,

      Have you checked the transmission fluid level and condition?

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      AMR 3 months ago

      Hi Eddie,

      Nice and informative article. Just one question, I experienced the same clutch slip today with burning smell. I was on a inch to inch traffic for 3-4 hours but along with I had to drive through water clogged areas as well.

      So my question is will driving through water clogged area can cause clutch slip?

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      Pablo Vazquez 3 months ago

      Well, the car brakes works great, but I feel transmission is kind of slipping making engine rpm increase easily with the car berely moving. Any idea of what could it be?

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Pablo,

      The vehicle should move or creep a little when in gear. Is it difficult to hold the car at a stop when the brakes are applied?

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Auroraar,

      It all depends on what happened or what failed in the transmission. Do you know what the problem is?

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      Pablo Vazquez 3 months ago

      Hey hi Eddie, I just bought a 2001 bmw 330i and the Engine starts but once put it in drive or reverse it moves at idle, what do you think is the problem.

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      auroraar@yahoo.com 3 months ago

      Hello I have a Nissan Murano 2005 about 1 month ago I had a rebuilt motor put into my car now my transmission just gave out there was no leaks at all could this be fault of the machanc

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tanya,

      Is this an automatic or standard transmission?

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Dan,

      It sounds to me like a clutch issue. If there was no fluid in the clutch mater, you would never be able to release the clutch, and if the 90w oil is low, that would be lack of lubrication and maybe some noise or overheating of the transmission. I think your pressure plate or clutch disc is damaged.

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Lee,

      How's the transmission fluid level and condition? Have you ever had the fluid changed along with the filter?

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Carl,

      Do you know what codes were stored in the computer? The codes will direct you to what is causing the problem. It is possible it's the transmission or engine. Let me know if you know the codes.

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Abhilash,

      Is the check engine light on? Is there a transmission warning light illuminated?

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      Eddie Carrara 3 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Jamie,

      If the transmission is missing 3rd and OD, it will either need to be diagnosed or replaced. It may be worth getting an expert opinion from a transmission shop, usually, in about 1-2 hours of diagnosis, they can explain to you what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

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      Jamie H. 3 months ago

      I have a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE Auto.

      When i start it when cold it makes sort of a grinding noise and usually stalls once or twice and then runs smooth. The noise sounds like a whirling grinding sound.

      Also the transmission shifts smooth from 1st to 2nd after that it slips and revs but never makes it to 3rd or OD. When driving or idling and even revving there are no noises and the idle is smooth.

      Do you think it's time for s new transmission?

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      Abhilash 3 months ago

      Hi there, I have been in a trouble to find out the problem with my car. My car make is Nissan Sunny 1.6. I have a problem with the automatic transmission. Whenever I stop my car at signal or whatever, gears do not change from 1st (D) to 2nd. To solve this problem, I have to completely stop my car, switch off the engine, wait for some while then start again. I even can not accelerate my car rapidly from 0 kilometers to so on because I fear about getting stuck of gears. Please help me out from this problem. I went to mechanic but even he did not find anything because this problem happens not regularly. It happens specially when I completely stop my car to 0 Kilometers. Thanks!

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      Carl mcintosh 3 months ago

      Hi there I recently had a transmission job done to my car (dodge minivan) but at the pick up on completion the mechanic said that the car wasn't running at full power and not showing up on the companies diagnosis comms

      And that I should sort that out right away, anyway I drove the car lightly for seven days then on the first real drive from the airport the transmission slipped right out and triggered on the cars limp home mode, when I sent the car back to the transmisincenter they are saying that the engine is the problem which is blowing the gearbox but before sending the car back to them an independent mechanic came to my house with the correct diagnosis equipment for the car and simply cleared all the error codes and the car was back to full power but I got no answer from the transmission Center when I told them to try this. So the question I face is ...can the engine blow the gearbox or have they simply got the wrong comms whic won't bring the car back to full life and power

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      Lee 3 months ago

      I have a 06 ram truck it has 10000 miles it slips sometimes when I stop but does fine all the other times what could it be

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      Dan 3 months ago

      Recently purchased 94 Ford Mazda pick-up. Starts up great but after running about 15 minutes the straight transmission won't catch. As soon as it finally catches it jumps forward big time, usually stalling the engine. The engine runs well when driving but my problem is the clutch won't catch. I found a 1/2 of fluid in the clutch master cylinder so I replaced fluid with 3 Dot brake fluid as directed. This did not correct my problem. Could it be the 90 wt fluid in the transmission itself that is low? I bought a quart of 90 wt the other day for it but rather wait for more advice. I'm not able to walk very far due to nerve damage from my strokes so I need to fix this. I'm a fair mechanic but know when to stop and ask questions first. Thanks

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      Tanya 3 months ago

      i have a 2004 Ford Escape the car starts just fine but sometimes when taking off accelerates very slowly in 1st gear the engine just revs up but when you reach about 20mph it will catch & accelerate fine. Other times it will take off fine but when turning a corner it will do the same revs up no acceleration

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      Lambert 4 months ago

      Hello

      Please i use a honda accord 2007 model

      The shaft was changed and the transmission oil was short

      I toped it up and when i drove it after wards the steering was hard and the car quenched on the road

      When i got home i observed the engine was hot. What might be the problem

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      Michael 4 months ago

      I have a Ford Focus and as I was driving down the road my accelerator lost its power and my car was just revving but my rpms wasn't going up, could this be a driveshaft issue, as i was towed back home I had to move my car into a parking space and my car was working normally again, what could the reasons be?

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      Mel.R 4 months ago

      I have a 2001 GMC sierra 2wd.. About a month ago i noticed that when you pull out from.a stop sign or light it would stay in low gear for an extended amount of time and the rpms would go up to 3 and if you ease off the accelerator it would change gears.. I replaced everything from the valve body down, all shift selinoids, fluid, filter, speed sensor...ect... Its been two weeks and I have just driven it waiting for the transmission to go out and for the past two days it has driven and shifted like a brand new truck.. I'm in shock and also curious as to what this could have been in case it happens again....thanks

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      Eddie Carrara 4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Phil,

      If the clutch is slipping, your vehicle will lose speed and the rpm's will rise at the same time you lose speed. I'm not sure about the turbo losing pressure, that would be a separate issue.

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      Eddie Carrara 4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Danny,

      I recommend checking the fluid level and condition first. It sounds like you're losing pressure inside the transmission, this could be cause by either a clogged filter, broken o-ring, or faulty solenoid.

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      Eddie Carrara 4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ana,

      I highly recommend you take it back to the shop that did the repair, seems to me that they didn't fix your problem and you probably paid them a lot of money for the repair. I recommend you have them fix it at no charge now.

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      Phil S Max 4 months ago

      Hi

      We own a Ford S Max 57 plate. It has done 152,000 and has been a great servant. We think the clutch is stating to slip which is our first clutch so not surprising. We just had it serviced and MOT and the garage said it was starting to slip but we also have a loss of power so we accelerate and there is a delay in speed picking up which is getting worse. It failed its emissions test so we had a terra clean service and that is now fine but has not resolved the power issue. However, the garage where we had the terra clean service done said "you know that loss of power you mentioned - well you have a slipping clutch" which they noticed when they took it for a test drive. To add further the garage that did the MOT said that diagnostics had picked up an issue with loss of turbo pressure but they couldn't find anything like a split hose or such. I am now in two minds as to whether to have the clutch replaced and see if that resolves the issue. Have you any recommendations?