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Bad torque converter vs bad transmission

Bad Torque Converter vs Bad Transmission – 6 Common Symptoms

Suppose you head towards your car in a good mood, and when you start your car, you realize that your car has a bad torque converter and you cannot start your vehicle. The energy which was 100% a while ago may turn you frowning. A bad torque converter can disturb your car’s engine and barely let you drive. It affects the transmission system so badly that it may eventually hurt everything surrounding your engine.

Bad torque converter vs bad transmission failures – which is worse? This is a common question among vehicle owners, and the answer is not always clear. Here, we will take a look at both types of failures and help you decide which one is worse for your vehicle.

Torque converter problems can typically be repaired without needing to replace the entire transmission. However, severe cases may require a complete transmission replacement. On the other hand, transmission failures often require a complete transmission replacement, which can be a much more expensive repair.

So, which is worse – a bad torque converter or a bad transmission failure? Ultimately, it depends on the severity of the failure and the cost of the repair. If you are facing a transmission failure, it is best to consult with a certified mechanic or automotive specialist to get an accurate estimate of the repair cost.

Bad Torque Converter vs Bad Transmission

During driving, the transmission produces a lot of heat. This is because it is constantly shifting gears to provide the right amount of power to the wheels. To avoid this, the transmission has a fluid cooler attached to it. The fluid in the cooler helps to dissipate the heat produced by the transmission.

However, if the fluid cooler fails, the transmission will overheat and eventually fail. This can be caused by a number of things, including a bad torque converter. A bad torque converter is a common cause of transmission failure. It is important to know the difference between a bad torque converter and a bad transmission so that you can get the right repair.

A bad torque converter will cause the transmission to slip. This means that the transmission will not be able to properly engage the gears. This makes the engine to rotate without even the car moving.

Knowing the difference between the symptoms of a bad torque and the symptoms of a bad transmission is crucial when all you need is to resolve, repair, or replace the core issue.

Bad Torque Converter Symptoms

Bad Torque Converter Symptoms
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A torque converter is a fluid coupling that is used to transmit rotational power from the engine to the transmission. It is an essential component of an automatic transmission system, and when it fails, the car will often exhibit a variety of symptoms. Below, we will describe some of the most common symptoms of a bad torque converter so you can be on the lookout for them.

One of the most common symptoms of a bad torque converter is a loss of power while acceleration. If the torque converter is not working properly, it will not be able to effectively transfer power from the engine to the transmission. This can often be accompanied by a feeling of the engine “slipping” or “lugging” when you try to accelerate.

Some common symptoms of a bad torque converter include:

  • The vehicle hesitates when accelerating
  • The vehicle stall when stopped
  • The vehicle jerks or lurches when shifting gears
  • The transmission fluid is low or dirty
  • The vehicle makes irregular noises when put in gear

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your vehicle checked by a professional as soon as possible. A bad torque converter can cause serious damage to the transmission system if it is not repaired or replaced.

Some more symptoms are listed below, so when you experience any of them, you should know that it’s time to give it a mechanic visit. Maybe it is going bad or needs your serious attention before getting into a serious situation;

  • Overheating

Well, if you drive regularly, you must know that overheating in a car results from many issues other than a bad torque converter. When there is a torque converter issue, the car’s transmission system will malfunction because power from the engine doesn’t properly flow to the transmission.

  • Slipping

Another alarming torque converter symptom is a slipping of gear – one of the apparent symptoms. When there’s a bad torque converter, it makes the transmission slip the gear.

Practically, it implies to the event that you want to change the gear to a particular gear, the bad torque converter will automatically convert it to neutral. This happens because of the unusual flow of fluids to the transmission system from the engine.

  • Shuddering

When you experience the shuddering of your car, there may be a bad torque converter that is causing the vehicle to shudder. However, there are some other reasons why your vehicle shudders, like unbalanced tires, brake issues, axle problems, etc.

In addition, when your car shudders because of a bad torque converter, this is because of the malfunctioning of the lockup clutch.

Symptoms of a Bad Transmission

Symptoms of a Bad Transmission
Source: Shutterstock Licensed Image

Along with the symptoms of a bad torque converter, you must know some bad transmission symptoms.

  • Slow Acceleration

When your car doesn’t pick up the required speed despite clutching, then a bad transmission can be the culprit. A transmission system is one of the components of a car where it controls the speed/acceleration of the vehicle.

Oftentimes, when a lousy transmission is left untreated for a long, the gear gets stuck and won’t change.

  • Fluid Leaks

Fluid leaks happen when some or one of the parts of the transmission system wears out or gets too old. This is one clear sign of a bad transmission when you notice fluids like oil dripping out of the system continuously. It is the fluid leaks that initiate and cause engine overheating problems.

  • Cracking Sounds

When the transmission system goes bad, it is another clear sign that your transmission system has issues. It becomes normal to hear cracking sounds while driving.


Here are some key takeaways from the difference between a bad torque converter and vs bad transmission:

  • When you witness the symptoms mentioned above, do not procrastinate the mechanical work and take your car to the repair shop. However, fixing a bad torque converter would be cheaper than fixing a bad transmission system.
  • Most converter failure systems and transmission failure systems are the same.
  • Once you find any of the above symptoms, it is suggested to look for torque issues first instead of taking out the whole transmission system to repair or replace.

Stay vigilant with the symptoms mentioned above. Do not delay addressing the issue that may put holes in your pocket.

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