The national cost for a torque converter replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $340 and $975 with an average of $425.

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What is a torque converter and how does it work?

A torque converter is a component of an automatic transmission. The torque converter is a hydraulic coupler that connects the transmission to the engine and transfers torque from the engine to the transmission.

The torque converter is a large cylindrical housing partially filled with transmission fluid. One side of the torque converter is connected to the engine’s flywheel, and the other side is attached to the input shaft of the transmission.

When your engine is idling, the torque converter allows it to spin free of the transmission. Little or no torque is transmitted. But as engine RPMs rise, centrifugal force inside the torque converter causes fluid to move from one side of its housing to the other in order to rotate a turbine and, ultimately, the transmission input shaft. This rotation is used to turn gears to move your vehicle.


How is a a Torque Converter Replacement done?

Replacing the torque converter on a vehicle with an automatic transmission is a fairly in-depth process. It involves removal of the transmission from the vehicle. In order for that to happen, a technician must first lift and support your vehicle in the air for access. From there, general steps (depending on your vehicle make and model) might include:

  • Removal of the driveshaft(s) and transfer case (if so equipped)
  • Separating the transmission from the engine and removing it from the vehicle (in some cases, the engine and transmission must both be removed along with the engine cradle)
  • Removal of the torque converter from the transmission
  • Fill the new torque converter with transmission fluid
  • Reconnection of the engine and transmission
  • Refilling the transmission fluid and allowing it to circulate through the transmission A special break-in procedure may be necessary before the vehicle is placed back into service.

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National average cost of a a Torque Converter Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new torque converter?

Excessive friction, faulty seals, and other problems can cause a torque converter to fail. When it does, you might notice one or more of the following signs:

A lag or lack of power when you try to accelerate

The transmission feels like it is slipping, not accelerating as it should

Abnormal vibrations or shuddering when driving or accelerating

Contaminated or leaking transmission fluid

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Other questions customers ask

Can you drive a car with a broken torque converter?
It is possible to drive a vehicle with a bad torque converter. But bear in mind that the torque converter is the connection between your engine and transmission. When it is not operating properly, not only might you feel vibrations, shuddering, and slipping, but your vehicle speed will waver as fluid pressure increases and decreases unexpectedly. Plus, a bad torque converter can cause damage to your engine.
Can a bad torque converter cause transmission problems?
A bad torque converter can cause transmission problems for several reasons. If the torque converter has internal physical damage and is shedding metal particles into the fluid, those particles will eventually re-circulate throughout the rest of the transmission and could cause catastrophic damage. If the torque converter is slipping, it can cause altered shift points which may put the transmission into disabling limp mode.
Do you have to remove the transmission to replace the torque converter?
Yes. The transmission must be removed from your vehicle in order to replace the torque converter. The torque converter is mounted in the transmission bell housing, between the transmission and the engine. The two components must be separated to access the torque converter. This is a labor-intensive job that requires not only a vehicle lift, but other special tooling and techniques. It is best left to a qualified professional.

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