A damaged automatic transmissionThe torque converter plays a very important role in any automatic transmission system. It controls the shifting of gears while you drive, so the vehicle shifts smoothly upon acceleration or deceleration. If it becomes damaged and starts to fail, it could lead to a variety of major internal transmission problems. You may find the vehicle difficult to drive and there will be other signs that you need transmission repairs or possibly a full transmission rebuild.

Here are the 6 most common signs of a damaged or failing torque converter, according to the Central Valley transmission specialists at Ralph’s Transmission:

1. Transmission Fluid Problems

One of the easiest problems you can notice is a transmission fluid leak underneath your vehicle. Obviously, your vehicle has many different types of fluid, but transmission fluid is usually pretty easy to identify. It is generally bright red in color and it should be coming from under the middle of the vehicle where the transmission is located. It should stand out from engine oil leaks or radiator coolant leaks in terms of location and color. A transmission fluid leak may just be a worn/damaged gasket or fluid line connection. Or, it could be a sign that you have an internal problem like a damaged torque converter.

Another sign of internal transmission damage is the quality of the transmission fluid itself. If the fluid level is low—or the fluid is dark, burnt, or full of contaminants—you might have some serious problems to address. Hopefully, your vehicle is just in need of routine fluid/filter maintenance, but it is always a good idea to get it checked out by a transmission expert.

2. Sluggish Acceleration

A very common sign of transmission problems is when the vehicle feels really sluggish upon acceleration. You press on the gas and it seems very slow to respond and get up to speed. This could be an engine, battery or electrical issue, but you will definitely want to get your transmission inspected if this occurs.

3. Overheating Transmission

Just like your engine, your transmission can run hot and even overheat when it is having problems. An overheating transmission may just mean you are overdue for a standard transmission service (replacing the tranny fluid and filter). Or, it could be an internal issue like a damaged torque converter.

4. Trouble Shifting

If your vehicle is slipping in and out of certain gears or is not shifting smoothly at all, it may be a problem with your torque converter. Shifting issues are commonly associated with torque converter failure since it is the primary component that controls the shifting in an automatic transmission.

If you experience any of these potential transmission problems, don’t wait to deal with them. Get your vehicle inspected by a local transmission specialist like Ralph’s Transmission in Modesto. You might be able to catch a minor issue before it turns into something much worse.

Call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule an online appointment to arrange your free transmission inspection. We also offer free towing within 30 miles of our shop if your vehicle isn’t running safely.