Bad Torque Converter Symptoms (9 Things To Be Aware Of)

When having problems shifting gears, most people’s first instinct would be to chalk it up to transmission issues.

While it’s true that the transmission system can cause car trouble, it may be the torque converter to blame. Here’s what I found!

Bad Torque Converter Mount Symptoms

1. Warning Light on Dashboard

The presence of warning lights on your car may be a sign of a faulty torque converter.

For instance, the check engine light may come on if the computer detects a problem with the converter or its control circuitry.

Additionally, some vehicles have a separate transmission warning light whose purpose is to inform the driver about an overheating transmission, which may also be a result of a malfunctioning torque converter.

As such, these warnings may be indicative of something wrong with the torque converter.

2. Overheating Transmission

Furthermore, if your car’s temperature gauge shows that there is overheating, this may be another indication that there is a problem with the torque converter.

Generally, the converter’s main job of transmitting power from the engine to the transmission will also be impossible to do because of an overheating transmission.

Additionally, overheating can result from the gears slipping while driving.

Conversely, overheating can cause the internal parts of the transmission to deteriorate, which will also likely affect the torque converter’s condition.

3. Excessive Vibration or Shaking

Aside from my points above, excessive shuddering can also be a symptom of a faulty torque converter.

In this case, you may feel like you’re driving on bumpy terrain even if you’re passing through a smoothly-paved road.

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Typically, this is the result of a fault in the lockup clutch which can be found in the torque converter.

As such, the problems with the lockup clutch in this situation may prevent the converter from producing a smooth transmission to direct drive.

Therefore, if you occasionally experience this, seek the assistance of a nearby repair shop.

4. Car Stalling

In addition, the torque converter may be to blame if you find your car stalling.

Generally, the torque converter is used in automatic transmissions to control the transmission fluid and keep the engine running even when the vehicle is stopped.

Because of this, you may find your car stalling instead of smoothly coming to a stop if the torque converter fails.

Moreover, the converter could malfunction because of several causes, including transmission fluid contamination or overheating.

All in all, a damaged converter may affect your engine and cause it to stall.

5. Unusual Noises

Unusual Noises

Furthermore, noises that are outside of what you’d usually hear may be a symptom of a faulty torque converter.

In this scenario, a failing torque converter in a car will make a wailing or whining noise similar to when a power steering pump has little to no fluid in it.

Additionally, when the clutch mechanism in the torque converter malfunctions, you’ll hear a whining or rattling sound that might not be audible when the gear is set to Park.

As such, the whining noise will get louder when you shift into a higher gear, signaling torque converter issues.

6. Acceleration Issues

Irregular output pressure from the torque converter may also affect your car’s ability to accelerate.

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In this case, the throttle will begin to malfunction due to the fluctuating transmission fluid pressure at such time.

Moreover, driving your car could be unsafe at this point, so avoid doing so until the problem has been fixed.

Additionally, you may want to call your professional to check the transmission mounts and tighten them if necessary to rule these out as the cause of the noises.

7. Transmission Fluid Leak

In addition to my points above, transmission fluid leaks may be a symptom of a bad torque converter.

Generally, the transmission fluid flows between the engine and the transmission system through the torque converter.

As such, you may notice a transmission fluid leak once the torque converter seal becomes damaged.

In this case, fluid leaks prevent you from maintaining the necessary amount of transmission fluid, which is necessary for the torque converter to transfer engine power to the transmission.

As a result, both the torque converter and the transmission will sustain damage.

8. Gear Slipping

Much like transmission problems, gear slipping may be a sign of a bad torque converter.

The gears of an automatic transmission should change smoothly.

Usually, you may detect it to some degree, especially during sudden acceleration or deceleration.

However, you might also experience the car slipping when it changes gears or observe that it struggles to stay at one speed.

As such, there’s a significant probability that you have a torque converter problem if the shifting seems off.

9. Difficulty Shifting Gears

You probably have a bad torque converter if your gear shifts feel soft or sluggish.

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Typically, this is a result of the engine torque not being effectively transferred into the hydraulic pressure required by the transmission to shift gears.

As such, you may find that the transmission hesitates when you’re speeding up or slowing down.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why ceramic brakes are better, why Hyundais are so cheap, and bad motor mount symptoms.


When you are aware of the symptoms to watch out for, torque converter issues can be avoided.

Moreover, it’s not expensive to replace a torque converter, especially when compared to the transmission damage they could cause if they are not fixed promptly.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you recognize these warning signals and act right once any symptoms emerge.

1 thought on “Bad Torque Converter Symptoms (9 Things To Be Aware Of)”

  1. Honestly, I found it hard to identify my car’s problems as most problems have similar symptoms. So, equip the OBD2 scan tool and put it in your car (every time) to examine your problem whenever you want. This helps to prevent further damage to other components.


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