How to Maintain Your Vehicle

What You Should Do When Your Torque Converter Stops Working

The torque converter fitted in between your car's engine and its transmission is a masterpiece of innovation. It's fair to say that it revolutionised the driving experience when it was first introduced, and made it possible to drive a vehicle with little mechanical empathy. Yet this particular component is vulnerable to wear and tear as well, especially if the driver does not present the vehicle for regular service. What are the signs of looming trouble?

How It Works

Due to complexity, the inner workings of a torque converter can often be difficult to grasp. However, in basic terms, a series of spinning discs are contained within an outer housing. A pump that has several clutch mechanisms within is designed to push hydraulic fluid into the transmission based on the speed of the engine. As the pressure of the fluid varies, it will affect the speed of the transmission and, consequently, the forward progress of the vehicle.

When Things Go Wrong

If the transmission fluid begins to deteriorate, then the internal pressure may fluctuate. The clutch mechanism may start to slip as well, and this can contribute to the overall problem. As matters get worse, the transmission may slip, and the car may jump from a low to high gear without warning. Any gear change will appear to be rough and noticeable, and the speed of the vehicle may be inconsistent as well. The driver may begin to feel vibrations at a certain speed.

Furthermore, the individual clutches may begin to touch each other and create a very distinctive rattling noise. The internal pump might begin to whine, to contribute to the worsening situation.

Specific Issue

Most people would suspect an issue with the transmission should they come across a range of problems like this. Yet the transmission itself may be perfectly fine, and the problem may lie squarely within the torque converter. In this case, the converter may need to be replaced and the fluid flushed out. This may help to clear the problem altogether, and normal service should be resumed, so long as the transmission is then serviced on a regular basis.

Regular Service

If it has been some time since you took your vehicle in for such a service, now is the time. The technician will be able to look for any problems, fix the torque converter if necessary and get you back on your way.

To learn more, contact a shop that works with automatic transmissions.