What Can Go Wrong With Your Torque Converter?

Posted on: 15 June 2023

The torque converter is often an overlooked part of the system when it comes to automatic transmissions. It's not a clutch nor a gear, but it is a vital component that helps transfer usable power from the engine to the transmission. In simple terms, it helps your vehicle move forward. Unfortunately, problems with the torque converter can lead to a host of issues, so it's important to understand what can go wrong and how to spot potential problems before they escalate.

The Job of the Converter

Why is the torque converter so important? It's essentially what connects the engine to the transmission. Without it, your car wouldn't be able to move. As the engine spins, the torque converter takes that rotational force and sends it to the transmission, allowing the vehicle to move forward or backwards. Think of it as the "middleman" between the engine and transmission.

Identifying Problems

One of the most common issues with this particular part is lack of or low fluid. Just like every other component in your transmission, the torque converter needs fluid to function properly. If you notice your car is shifting roughly or if you hear strange noises while the vehicle is in motion, it's possible that you have a low fluid level. Inconsistent acceleration and engine stalling can also be signs of a low fluid level due to the inability of the torque converter to transfer power effectively.

Another issue with torque converters is a slipping clutch. The clutch is responsible for engaging the torque converter and transferring power to the transmission. If it's not working properly, it can cause the transmission to slip, which can lead to reduced acceleration and engine damage. Signs of a slipping clutch include difficulty shifting gears, an increased RPM, a burning smell, and a noticeable lack of acceleration.

Other Potential Issues

Another common issue with torque converters is overheating. So, if the fluid level is low or if the fluid is old and dirty, it can cause the torque converter to overheat. Signs of an overheating torque converter include strange noises, engine stalling, an illuminated check engine light, and decreased fuel economy.

Lastly, torque converters can also fail due to mechanical wear and tear. This can be due to issues with the bearings or the stator, which can cause the torque converter to vibrate or make strange noises. In extreme cases, a failed torque converter can cause catastrophic damage to the engine or transmission.

What You Should Do

The torque converter is a critical part of your automatic transmission, and it's important to keep it functioning properly to avoid costly repairs or replacements. So, if you notice any issues, make sure that you get in touch with a skilled technician as soon as possible to avoid a potential breakdown.

Contact a professional to learn more about auto transmission repair