Torque Converter: What You Should Know

Torque Converter: What You Should Know

torque converter

The Importance of a Torque Converter

The key to a modern automatic transmission is the torque converter. It is generally a type of fluid coupling that is used to transfer rotating power from a prime mover, such as an internal combustion engine or electric motor, to a rotating driven load. It normally takes the place of a mechanical clutch in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, allowing the load to be separated from the power source. It is usually located between the engines flex plate and the transmission. Its key role is its ability to multiply torque when there is a substantial difference between input and output rotational speed, thus providing the equivalent of a reduction gear. Some of these devices are also equipped with a temporary locking mechanism which rigidly binds the engine to the transmission when their speeds are nearly equal, to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency.

This component is really important, and if it happens to malfunction it could potentially cause erratic behavior such as shuddering and slipping. The difficult thing is diagnosing the exact cause of this components problem. There are a lot of potential reasons that could be causing the malfunction, and your converter might not be to blame. It can be hard to pin point a transmission problem as an issue with the torque converter but some symptoms can include overheating, slipping, shuddering, dirty fluid, high stall speeds, or strange noises.

A simple test can help diagnose potential problems. What you need to do is start your car and let it idle for a few minutes. Afterwards, step on the gas lightly a few times, let it come back to idle, press down on the brakes, and then shift into drive. During this period, you are going to want to listen for any strange sounds such as clicking or reviving or if you experience any lurching. If not, proceed to shift through all the gears including reverse and try to notice for any of the aforementioned signs again. Finally, drive your car and test for the same things as well as shuddering or slipping. On most occasions, the torque converter will not be causing the problems so don’t rush into any conclusions until you get your transmission checked out first. At West Coast Transmission we are more than happy to help you find the issue and make sure we get it fixed! Stop by West Coast Transmission and get your car checked out!

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