Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating

Check the Transmission Fluid: Begin by inspecting your transmission fluid. Ensure it's at the correct level and examine its color and odor.

Salman Chaudhary, Founder

Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating
Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating
Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating
Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating

Automatic Transmission Slipping When Accelerating

General Transmission Queries

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Welcome back to Pinkywheels Maintenance ,your go-to website for valuable tips on car repairs and maintenance. Today, we'll tackle a common and concerning issue that many car owners face: a slipping automatic transmission. Dealing with this problem can be frustrating and confusing, but with the right knowledge and action, you can diagnose and potentially prevent it from happening in the first place.

In this article, we will explore the symptoms of a slipping automatic transmission, steps to diagnose the issue, and preventive measures to keep your transmission in good shape.

What is a Slipping Automatic Transmission?

A slipping automatic transmission refers to a situation where the transmission fails to engage promptly or experiences a delay in shifting gears. Various factors can lead to this problem, such as low transmission fluid levels, malfunctioning solenoids, or worn-out clutch plates. Regardless of the cause, it's crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your vehicle's transmission.

Symptoms of Automatic Transmission Slipping

Before diving into the diagnostic process, it's essential to recognize the signs that indicate your automatic transmission is slipping. The most common symptoms include:

1. Delayed Engagement or Gear Shifting: You might notice a delay between shifting into gear and the actual engagement. Your vehicle may hesitate or jerk before finally shifting into gear, which can also occur when changing gears while driving.

2. High RPMs at a Constant Speed: A slipping transmission can cause your engine to rev higher than normal when driving at a consistent speed, as it fails to transfer power effectively from the engine to the wheels.

3. Engine Revving Higher Without Speed Increase: When you shift into gear, the engine should smoothly transition to a higher RPM as the vehicle accelerates. However, a slipping transmission can result in the engine revving higher without a corresponding increase in speed.

4. Burning Smell from Transmission Fluid: A slipping automatic transmission can cause the transmission fluid to overheat, leading to a burning smell. This odor is often caused by clutch plates slipping and generating excessive heat within the transmission.

5. Transmission Fluid Leakage: A slipping transmission can also result in fluid leakage. Transmission fluid typically has a red or brown color and a slightly sweet smell. Detecting fluid leaks is essential because low fluid levels can exacerbate transmission damage.

Diagnosing Automatic Transmission Slipping

Now that you are familiar with the symptoms, let's move on to the steps for diagnosing a slipping automatic transmission.

Step 1: Check the Transmission Fluid: Begin by inspecting your transmission fluid. Ensure it's at the correct level and examine its color and odor. Low transmission fluid levels can lead to slipping, so top it up if needed. If the fluid is dark, cloudy, or has a burnt smell, it may be time to change it. Also, look for signs of leaks beneath your car.

Step 2: Check the Solenoid: The solenoid is responsible for controlling transmission fluid flow. If it's faulty, your transmission may slip. Use a multimeter to check the solenoid's resistance by disconnecting the electrical connector.

Step 3: Check the Clutch Plates: Worn-out clutch plates can be a cause of slipping. You can inspect these by removing the transmission pan and examining them. If they show signs of wear, you'll need to replace them.

Step 4: Consult a Mechanic: If you've checked the transmission fluid, solenoid, and clutch plates and are still experiencing slipping issues, it's time to consult a professional mechanic. They can accurately diagnose the problem and provide the best repair solutions.

Preventing Automatic Transmission Slipping: Prevention is often the best remedy. To avoid encountering a slipping automatic transmission issue, consider these preventive measures:

1. Regularly check your transmission fluid levels and change the fluid as needed. 2. Avoid harsh driving conditions, such as stop-and-go traffic. 3. Use your parking brake when parking on an incline. 4. Follow your car manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. 5. Have your transmission inspected by a professional mechanic at least once a year.

Car Transmission related FAQs:

1. How do I fix a slipping transmission? Addressing a slipping transmission may require checking fluid levels, solenoids, and clutch plates. For severe issues, consult a professional mechanic.

2. What causes an automatic transmission to slip during acceleration? Common causes include low transmission fluid levels, worn-out clutch plates, or faulty solenoids.

3. Is there a quick fix for transmission slipping? Quick fixes may include addressing low fluid levels or solenoid issues, but for a lasting solution, it's best to diagnose and repair the root cause.

4. My transmission is slipping, but there are no error codes. What should I do? Even without error codes, you should diagnose the issue based on symptoms and consider checking the fluid levels and clutch plates.

5. Can I drive with a slipping transmission? It's not recommended to drive with a slipping transmission, as it can lead to further damage. Consult a mechanic for a proper assessment.

6. Why is my transmission slipping after a fluid change? If your transmission starts slipping after a fluid change, it could indicate issues like incorrect fluid type or not filling it to the right level.

7. How long can I drive with a slipping transmission? It's best to avoid driving with a slipping transmission as it can lead to further damage. The duration before serious issues arise can vary.

8. What does a slipping transmission sound like? A slipping transmission can produce various sounds, including high engine revving without speed increase and sometimes a noticeable hesitation or jerking.

9. Why do I smell a burning odor from my transmission when it slips? The burning smell is often due to the excessive heat generated by clutch plates slipping within the transmission.

10. How can I prevent my automatic transmission from slipping during acceleration? To prevent transmission slipping, regularly check fluid levels, follow maintenance schedules, avoid harsh driving conditions, and have your transmission inspected by a mechanic annually.


In conclusion, dealing with a slipping automatic transmission can be a significant inconvenience, but by recognizing the symptoms and following the diagnostic steps mentioned, you can potentially save yourself from costly repairs. Moreover, adhering to preventive measures and regularly checking your transmission will help keep it in optimal condition, reducing the likelihood of experiencing slipping in the future. Thank you for reading, and we hope this article has been helpful in addressing this common automotive issue.