6 Symptoms Of A Bad Torque Converter (& Replacement Cost)

The torque converter is a common problem in cars.

Most cars that have an automatic transmission include torque converters. You have probably heard about many failures of torque converters.

You will find everything you need to know about the torque convertor in this article. The torque converter is explained in detail. You'll also find details about the location and symptoms. The replacement cost will be listed. First, let’s take a look at the signs to look for.

Slippery transmissions during acceleration are the main sign that a torque converter is bad. There may be issues such as rough idle or rough acceleration. Sometimes, your car won’t even move when the converter is bad.

While these are not all the possible signs, it’s the most common ones. Below is a detailed listing of symptoms that indicate a poor torque converter.

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad Torque Converter Symptoms
    1. 1. Transmission Slipping
    2. 2. Rough Idling
    3. 3. Rough Acceleration
    4. 4. Car won’t move in drive or reverse
    5. 5. Overheating transmission
    6. 6. Transmission noises
  2. Torque Converter Function
  3. 4 Common Torque Converter Problems
    1. 1. Bad Torque Converter Bearings
    2. 2. Torque converter seals damaged
    3. 3. Plate with a Faulty Torque Conversion Clutch
    4. 4. A Faulty Torque converter Clutch Solenoid
  4. How to test a Torque converter
    1. 1. Let the engine warm up before you start it.
    2. 2. Move shifter into gear
    3. 3. Test drive
  5. Torque Converter Location
  6. Torque Converter Replacement Cost

Bad Torque Converter Symptoms

1. Transmission Slipping

Car Losing Power Acceleration

One sign that your torque converter may be defective is the tendency for the transmission to slip when you accelerate.

The engine will rev up in the first gear but not when it is in the second. To detect a shifting transmission, you will need to feel the car well.

The torque converter needs to build up pressure inside of it to move your car forward, and if it doesn’t, it may slip when accelerating.

2. Rough Idling

Car Engine Rough Idle

A bad torque converter can also cause rough idle. It could also be caused by a bad torque converter if your idle feels a little jumpy, and you have difficulty adjusting the throttle.

A damaged torque converter can create unintended pressures within the torque converter that could cause rough idle.

3. Rough Acceleration

Slow Car Acceleration

When it comes to damaged torque converters, rough acceleration is also an indication. This can be caused by different pressures and can also lead to the torque converter slipping, as previously mentioned.

You may feel like you're experiencing rough acceleration. Check your RPM meter and see if the speed jumps when you accelerate. A faulty torque converter could be the reason.

4. Car won’t move in drive or reverse

Gear In Drive

The problem could be a defective torque converter.

A car not moving in its gear may be due to many things. It should therefore be diagnosed properly before it is replaced.

5. Overheating transmission

Gearbox Symbol

The torque converter can slip while you drive, leading to excessive heating of the transmission fluid. At some point, it can boil.

The transmission will be very damaged if the torque converter is slipping. You may also have temperature sensors on your dashboard that flash when the transmission control unit light illuminates. This indicates that the torque converter is overheating or slipping.

6. Transmission noises

Car Engine Noise

If you feel, or can hear any strange sounds coming from the torque convert both while accelerating or idling, it is worth checking. To check if there are any unusual sounds or knocking, listen in the middle car.

Before replacing your torque converter, raise the vehicle if you are hearing any unusual noises.

Torque Converter Function

Torque Converter Function

The torque converter transmits the power of the engine to the transmission. In short, the torque converter is filled with transmission fluid and has a “fan” or turbine-like unit inside. It rotates more, creating more pressure inside, which transfers more power from the engine to its transmission.

If you have two fans and turn one fan, then the fan opposite will start to spin. But not at the same speed as the first fan. A torque converter is exactly this.

This allows for a smooth power transfer between the engine, the wheel and the engine.

4 Common Torque Converter Problems

Torque Converter Problems

There are some problems that can occur with torque converters. Most torque converters aren't very sophisticated and can fail easily.

Sometimes you can find cheap full replacements for torque converters, in which case it is often not worth taking it apart and replacing different parts; rather, it’s cheaper and quicker to replace the whole thing.

1. Bad Torque Converter Bearings

The most common problem with torque converters is worn bearings. While this does not lead to transmission issues or slippage, it can make the transmission sound like a bearing.

Check the transmission fluid for bearing noises. If there is, you should look inside to see if any metal components are present. You will most likely find metal parts in a damaged torque converter bearing.

2. Torque converter seals damaged

An ill-fitting seal on the torque converter can cause transmission fluid leakage and resultant loss of pressure within the torque convert.

Slippage and overheating can occur when the pressure in the torque converter is too low. A faulty torque converter is one of the leading causes for this problem.

3. Plate with a Faulty Torque Conversion Clutch

A torque converter has several clutches. There are several clutches in a torque converter. If it is not releasing the transmission or locked in drive gear, then there may be a problem.

Other symptoms include slipping or rough acceleration due to a faulty torque converter clutch.

4. A Faulty Torque converter Clutch Solenoid

A common component that can fail in an automatic transmission is the solenoid for the torque converter clutch. The solenoid valve regulates hydraulic transmission fluid pressure, which is then pumped into the lock-up clutch.

You may experience slipping or overheating and even rough acceleration.

How to test a Torque converter

Test Car

You can't do much to check the torque converter without removing it. However, there are ways to test the torque converter for signs wear.

This is how I check for issues with my torque converter.

1. Let the engine warm up before you start it.

Start the engine first and allow the transmission oil to warm up until it reaches around 40 degrees.

The process can take quite a while. It is therefore recommended that you check the temperature with a digital scanner in order to ensure the oil is not too warm.

It is now time to go to the next stage.

2. Move shifter into gear

Apply the drive gear now and be sure to listen for any sounds coming from your torque converter.

You should feel the torque converter move your car along with a slight touch of the accelerator. You can switch between the Drive and Sport gears to hear if there are any additional sounds. Once everything looks good, then you can proceed to the next step.

3. Test drive

Now it’s time for you to drive the car at a higher speed. You should keep an eye on your speedometer, tachometer, and tachometer. The torque converter may be slipping if the engine revs rapidly but does not accelerate.

Older automatic transmissions can slip slightly when you accelerate, but you should know how much if your car has been around for some time. You can have your vehicle tested by a mechanic to determine if there is any slippage or noises.

Torque Converter Location

Torque Converter Location

Between the engine and automatic transmission is the torque converter.

To diagnose it correctly and carry out a visual inspection, you must remove the vehicle’s transmission and engine. For inspection of the torque converter, some cars from America are equipped with a cover plate. The torque converter, which is sealed, will be difficult to see even with these covers.

To diagnose the problem properly, I always suggest that the torque converter be removed from the transmission.

Torque Converter Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing a torque converter is on average between $300 to $2500 depending on your car's make and model. Replacement torque converters cost between $100 to $400. To replace the torque converter, labor costs range from $200 to $2000.

Sometimes, the transmission must be taken apart to inspect or replace any problem torque converters.

It will take you between 3-12 hours to replace your torque converter depending on how skilled and experienced you are.

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