Why Are My Gears Slipping? (11 Reasons Why)

What appears to be a mild inconvenience can quickly escalate into a more significant, costly problem.

Gear slipping does not always indicate that your transmission is about to fail. However, it does suggest that upkeep is needed.

Because your car’s transmission is among its most complex systems, pinpointing the source of the symptoms is critical. Let’s find out more about it!

Why Are My Gears Slipping?

Low or burned transmission fluid is the most frequent cause of slipping gear. Additionally, worn transmission bands, a problematic torque converter, or defective shift solenoids may be to blame sometimes. Worn-out clutch and gears can be the reason why your gear is slipping. Finally, low fluid level, grinding and shaking, and lack of maintenance are other possible reasons for gear slipping. 

Are you ready to learn more about why you’re experiencing gear slipping? Here are 11 reasons why. Continue reading!

1. Burned Or Low Transmission Fluid

It is the most straightforward thing to handle. First, check and replace the transmission fluid recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.

Transmissions are not indestructible but can last longer and perform well if properly maintained. You’ll probably get 100,000 miles out of it with minimal effort and little maintenance.

If you drive 20,000 miles yearly, it takes five years to accumulate 100,000 miles on your vehicle.

So, inspect the transmission fluid if your car feels sluggish or doesn’t drive properly. Also, think of getting a fluid flush if the fluid is poor, worn out, or has burnt down.

Therefore, remove the transmission fluid, and your vehicle’s transmission will last a long time.

2. Defective Shift Solenoid

A transmission solenoid is an electro-magnetic part used in transmissions to regulate the movement of transmission fluid.

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When a gear is changed, the car’s computer, either the transmission control module (TCM) or the engine control module (ECM), activates a transmission solenoid, which forces transmission fluid into the valve body to start engaging the proper gear.

The transmission solenoid controls just how much fluid is allowed to pass across the transmission during this process.

Therefore, insufficient fluid is introduced into the transmission when any solenoid fails, causing the transmission to heat up and slip.

3. Worn Out Clutch

A torque converter replaces the primary clutch in an automatic gearbox.

Further, the bell housing links the transmission and engine, which houses the torque converter in automatic transmissions and a clutch in manual transmissions.

Torque converters and clutches depend on smooth transmission fluid provided on time and at the correct pressure to change gears.

4. Damaged Or Worn Out Gears

Gears can wear out over time, particularly when running hot and inaccurately due to worn fluid transmission.

Slipping gears are typically caused by regular wear and tear, causing them not to take part appropriately and slip into and out of sync.

It is uncommon, but faulty gears may be set in the transmission. Gears worn or rounded out do not adequately link together, resulting in a tough shift and slowdowns.

5. Torque Converter Problem

It’s a hardworking, critical component of the transmission’s overall operation. The wheels have no power or turn without the torque converter.

Like most other components in a slipping gear, Torque converters wear out over time.

Therefore, transmission fluid should flow through the torque converter at the correct times and amounts.

If it screws up, the gearbox will not only start to slip, but it may also exhibit other issues such as not continuing into gear, scorching, smoking, shifting gears while running, or blowing out.

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6. Worn Out Or Broken Transmission Bands

Worn Out Or Broken Transmission Bands

Metal bands serve to connect the gears in an automatic vehicle.

If any of these bands become worn or damaged (often due to overheating), the gear will not engage correctly, causing it to slip.

7. Low Fluid Level

An automatic transmission uses hydraulic pressure supplied by transmission fluid to change gears.

Of course, the transmission pump cannot generate sufficient pressure to shift into the next gear if insufficient fluid is in the mechanism.

On the other hand, relatively low levels could mean a leak and cause overheating and internal damage.

8. Lack Of Maintenance

The primary cause of slipping gear for all makes of automobiles is the inability to adhere to the manufacturer’s upkeep guidelines for the transmission and the engine.

Further, changing fluids and filters at the proper time and mileage, mainly if you drive the vehicle in rough or stressful conditions such as towing or in steep hills.

Also, the fluid is the transmission’s lifeblood; whenever it begins to fail, it no longer cools or lubricates appropriately, resulting in early failure, overheating, and a slew of other mechanical problems, such as leakage.

9. Grinding And Shaking

According to science, strange vibrations and sounds indicate deep-seated troubles with friction between the surface; your transmission is no exception.

Because your computer signals your transmission when shifting must occur and your transmission does the work automatically, grinding or shaking indicates that your transmission requires attention.

Shaking and grinding are frequently caused by damage to the planetary gear system, a bearing problem, or they can occur out of the transmission in joint surfaces, half shafts, or the engine.

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10. Malfunctioning Valve Body

The transmission is outfitted with a device that resembles a human heart. It comprises numerous tiny passages, temperature sensors, valves, and solenoids.

This valve body, monitored by the computer, directs fluid to the bands, clutches, and other vital components.

In addition, this valve body contains numerous sliding valves that resemble a metal rod that, when malfunctioning, will cause slipping gears.

11. Slipping Clutch

You may believe that clutches are found in manual transmission vehicles, but this is not true. Clutches are used in most newer gearboxes. In reality, many contemporary gearboxes are manual, but a robot handles the transition.

These gearboxes are commonly found in European vehicles such as BMW and Volkswagen. DSG, or direct-shift gearbox, is another name for it.

However, these transmissions frequently have two clutch plates, wet and dry. They all have in common that they will wear out over time and must be replaced.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why battery terminals corrode, why head gaskets blow, and why driving a car is an important responsibility.


Maintaining your vehicle and transmission is essential for preventing your gear from slipping. This research has helped you discover several different reasons why gears slip.

Know that the most straightforward technique to control your gearbox is to replace your transmission fluid and filter frequently or according to the timetable recommended for your particular automobile type.

And you’ll surely avoid a problem with your vehicle’s transmission, including gear slipping.

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