Delayed Engagement in Your Auto Transmission: Causes and Solutions

5 November 2021
 Categories: , Blog

The transmission is one of the most crucial systems in your car with vital functions. This complex mechanical system is responsible for controlling the application of power from your vehicle's engine to the driveshaft. It comprises several movable mechanical components, and typically, a lot of heat is often generated from friction resulting from the components moving and interacting with each other. Consequently, while the transmission is designed to last, it's likely to suffer the most wear and tear. Transmission system failures can be quite expensive to fix if not detected early. Fortunately, your vehicle will often tell you when your transmission is going out. With that in mind, shifting delays or delayed engagement is one of the many signs to watch out for. Here's what usually causes this.

Transmission Fluid Problems

Shifting should be smooth and rapid. Therefore, if you notice a delay, especially when moving from park into moving gears like reverse or drive, or when accelerating, it's usually because of a problem somewhere, and the transmission fluid is an excellent place to start. Besides lubricating the mechanical parts of your transmission system, the transmission fluid also helps maintain fluid pressure, ideal for a smooth and rapid operation. Therefore, start by checking your transmission fluid levels to ensure you are not running low on transmission fluid. Generally, low transmission fluid levels result from leaks in your transmission lines, so have that checked early enough.

Contamination is another transmission fluid issue worth investigating when you experience delayed engagement. Therefore, check for foul smells and the colour of the fluid. If your transmission fluid is a black, dark brown, or deep red with a burnt smell, chances are it's contaminated, and you should flush it.

Worn/Damaged Seals, Bands, and Shift Solenoids

Seals and bands help maintain the internal pressure of the transmission fluid, which is necessary for proper transmission operation. Over time, these components may wear out or become damaged, affecting the internal pressure and causing issues like delayed engagement. On the other hand, shift solenoids are valves that help control the transmission fluid flow throughout the transmission system. Similarly, they may wear out or become faulty over time because of the constant heat, friction, and vibrations. Worn, damaged, or faulty seals, bands, and shift solenoids can be replaced. However, remember to inspect regularly and replace them early enough if they are faulty.

Clogged Transmission Filters

A clogged transmission filter can also cause delayed engagement. Clogged transmission filters reduce the transmission fluid's hydraulic pressure, causing shifting delays. Therefore, have the transmission filter inspected and replaced if it is clogged.

Talk to an auto shop that offers automatic transmission services to make an appointment.