The torque converter is a pump that sits between your car's transmission and engine. It is a vital component of your transmission's operation because it maintains the pressure level of the transmission fluid inside the transmission. A failing torque converter can produce symptoms similar to that of a malfunctioning transmission, so it's important not to dismiss it in favor of the transmission if your car is having trouble. Here are some of the signs to watch for that indicate imminent failure of the torque converter on your car.
Knowing What You Hear
The torque converter can make many sounds when it's failing. It may begin with a high-pitched whine. If you've ever had a power steering pump low on fluid, it's a sound similar to that. If the problem is in the internal clutch components, you could hear a light rattling sound at idle that gets progressively louder and faster as your car's speed increases. The rattling sound indicates a failure of the clutches, which means that the converter is about to fail completely.
Recognizing Poor Shift Performance
As the torque converter starts to fail, the fluid output is going to reduce. This will leave your transmission struggling and low on fluid. You may notice the transmission slipping or it may simply be sluggish, particularly when under acceleration.
You may even notice that your transmission's shifts become delayed or muted. Instead of the typical feeling of the gear engaging quickly and solidly, you'll notice some struggle and hesitation in the gears. You may find that the shift response improves if you increase the engine RPMs when you shift. If this is the case, the problem is likely due to insufficient fluid pressure.
You'll want to deal with this immediately, because running the transmission without sufficient fluid pressure can cause friction inside the gears.
Addressing Inconsistent Speeds
As the torque converter starts to fail, you'll find that the inconsistent output from the converter leads to equally inconsistent vehicle speed. Even if your pressure on the gas pedal remains consistent, the speed of the vehicle may seem erratic. Sometimes, it'll be a marked reduction in the car's speed while other times it feels more like a shudder that radiates out from the transmission.
Understanding the common indications of torque converter failure can help you avoid wrongfully blaming your engine's transmission. If you're seeing any of these symptoms or have other concerns about the transmission and drive train, talk with a local transmission repair mechanic like those at Interstate Transmission for an evaluation.Share
1 July 2015
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