Your Trusted Auto Repair Shop for 40+ Years
Shop Talk Logo

What Does It Feel Like When Your Transmission Slips?

You will know your vehicle has experienced a transmission slip when you can hear the engine revving during a gear change. For a moment, it may feel as though you are driving over ice. At first, it may seem minor and easy to shrug off. However, without proper maintenance, the issue can escalate, and you will be looking at much more severe transmission problems.

What Are Other Symptoms of Transmission Slipping?

The symptoms for transmission slipping can also be indicative of other unrelated issues. Your transmission may not necessarily be slipping, but it could be experiencing problems in another way. There are a lot of ways your transmission can wear down, and the best thing to do is take your vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out. The following symptoms are generally symptomatic of a slipping transmission:

  • Delay in acceleration
  • Burnt or other unusual smells
  • Excessively high RPM, over 3,500
  • Trouble shifting gears
  • Harsh response any time you are able to shift gears
  • Check engine light constantly turning on
  • Strange noises coming from the transmission

None of these are good. You want to get your car inspected immediately before the problem progresses.

What Are the Usual Causes for a Slipping Transmission?

There are a few ways your transmission can break down in this manner. Perhaps the most common reason is that your transmission is experiencing low fluid levels. You should check your vehicle’s fluid levels somewhat frequently. When you check, make note if it is lower than recommended. You may just need to refill the fluids, but if the problem persists, then there may be a leak in the system.

Another cause is the various parts found within your car’s transmission. Over time, these parts can break or wear down. If not corrected soon, it could very likely lead to transmission failure.

Finally, your car’s transmission may be experiencing problems with the clutch. This is the most common culprit for transmission slipping in vehicles with a manual transmission. The only way to correct this is to replace the broken or worn out clutch. However, most vehicles are designed to have resilient clutches. Depending on the exact car you drive, you will need to replace the clutch anywhere between 20,000 and 200,000 miles.

How Do You Fix Transmission Slipping?

The remedy for this problem ultimately comes down to what the exact problem is. It could be something as simple as adding more transmission fluid if your car is running low. However, if the current fluid is badly burnt the transmission likely has internal damage that needs to be inspected. Parts, such as the clutch or other gears, may need to be swapped out. One possible solution to this problem may be to simply get an entirely new transmission system installed. This is the most expensive option, but it may be the only way to get your car up and running again. To reduce the likelihood of a total replacement, get your car inspected as soon as you notice problems.

Should You Drive While the Transmission Is Slipping?

The short answer here is no. It is not safe to drive with a transmission system that is not working correctly. Your car could unexpectedly switch gears while you are driving and pose a dangerous situation. You are going to experience problems with accelerating, which is something you do not want to contend with on the road.

You will be aware when your car’s transmission is wearing down. Take note of any specific problems you experience so you can explain the situation effectively to a professional mechanic.