Even if it has a SciFi movie name, the torque converter is nothing more than the clutch of a vehicle with automatic transmission. Unlike the classic manual car clutch, the converter uses a fluid to power the transmission.
For this reason, it prevents the engine from stalling and allows the transmission system to change gears on its own, easily. The converter allows the car to stop completely without stalling the engine, which translates into a more pleasant and efficient driving experience.
It consists of four major components: pump, turbine, stator, transmission fluid. They are positioned in an extremely durable housing that allows the entire mechanism to connect to the flywheel. This connection allows the converter to move at the same speed as the motor.
How much does the torque converter replacement cost?
The replacement costs for a torque convertor are influenced by many factors including the geographical location, the make and model of the car, and the dealer/mechanic you hire. Be prepared to spend anywhere between $600 and $1,250 if you choose to go to a dealership or a well-known transmission repair shop. On the other hand, if you choose to replace this car piece by yourself budget around $170 to $450 only for the parts.
|What people paid…|
Even though the part itself is not that expensive ($100 to $190), the prices are pretty high because this is a labor-intensive job as the mechanic has to remove the transmission in order to inspect and repair the part. It is placed between the engine and the transmission. Besides these costs, there might be other repairs needed, that your mechanic could discover when removing the engine. So, be prepared for extra costs depending on the type of repair required.
According to the Transmission Masters from Nashville, the replacement of the torque converter would not be a solution if the new part is bad. As the part shares fluid with the transmission, if it is damaged, it could result in an entire faulty transmission because of the debris made by the part.
According to a member of the Quora forum, the costs of replacing the torque converter for a 2003 Mercury Sable were around $900, with $250 for the part and $650 for the labor fees.
Also, a member of the RepairPal.com forum said that he was charged almost $2,100 by his local Ford dealer for replacing this part. However, it is recommended to replace the full transmission and not only this part because the entire transmission might be contaminated by the material from a bad converter. So, even though you install a new part, it could get contaminated in the future, resulting in failure.
Signs of torque converter problems
It can be quite difficult to determine if a transmission problem is related to the torque converter, but there are a few signs. In the following, we will review the most common symptoms of torque converter failures.
A very common symptom when it comes to a faulty torque converter is that the transmission slips when you accelerate. You can feel this when the engine returns a lot to traction, while the car does not accelerate compared to the RPM in the engine. If the slip is small you need to have a little sense of the car to recognize the slip.
You may also notice an increase in fuel consumption. The cause may be a low fluid level or an inefficient fluid.
If you check the liquid and discover large amounts of black debris, it means that there are faults in the converter. In this case, it is good to change the fluid, drive the car for a few days, and then check it again.
Listen to the engine both at idle and while accelerating, to notice if you can hear strange noises from the torque converter. If you hear any noise, ask a mechanic to lift the car and see if there may be other things that cause the noise before replacing the transmission torque converter.
If you feel vibrations when driving between 30 and 45 miles per hour, it may be due to the converter. In this case, you will feel as if you were driving on a road full of unevenness. The vibrations do not appear gradually, but suddenly, so we advise you to go to the service as soon as you feel them.
When the torque converter slips while driving, it can cause the transmission fluid to overheat, which can even heat up to a boiling point. A sliding torque converter will wear out the transmission very quickly. In some cases, you have temperature sensors that will turn on the transmission control unit’s flashing light on the instrument panel, which is an indicator that the torque converter is slipping.
The car will not move in traction or in reverse
If your car does not move at all in traction or in reverse, there may be a completely defective torque converter. However, a car that does not move at speed can be caused by a lot of different things and should be diagnosed correctly before replacing parts.
How to test for a torque converter problem
There is a simple test that helps you diagnose potential problems with the torque converter. First, start the car and leave it with the engine running for a few minutes.
After that, press the accelerator pedal a few times, then brake, then put the derailleur into the drive. All the while, try to notice any strange sounds or if the car is shaking in any way.
If everything is fine, put the derailleur in all positions and pay attention to the above again. Finally, start the car and listen to the engine, to notice if it makes strange sounds or vibrates.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your car, stop driving it and go to the mechanic immediately. Driving a car with a faulty converter can not only aggravate existing problems but can also be extremely dangerous. Due to a faulty converter, various residues can reach other components of the car and damage them.