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  • Some believe that torque converters don’t need flushing. They claim that dirty transmission fluid actually improves the transmission’s grip and prevents the gears from slipping.
  • But others strongly recommend including a torque converter flush in your routine transmission service. Dirty transmission fluid can damage the torque converter, which is why flushing the transmission fluid can help improve its lifespan.
  • Preparing the necessary tools beforehand, disconnecting the transmission cooling line, and starting the engine are some tips on how to flush a torque converter.

Most automatic transmissions rely on the torque converter to function properly. It prevents the vehicle from stalling when coming to a stop and increases pulling power by multiplying engine torque when accelerating. Because it’s such an important part of your transmission, it’s important to check on your torque converter regularly and service it when any issues pop up.

Should You Drain a Torque Converter?

Ask around, and you’ll get different answers. For some, torque converters don’t need flushing. They believe that dirty transmission fluid improves the transmission’s grip and prevents the gears from slipping. Considering how contaminated transmission oil can actually damage your transmission, it doesn’t seem like this theory holds much water.

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Others strongly recommend including a torque converter flush in your routine transmission service. Torque converters function by creating hydraulic pressure. If the transmission fluid is old and dirty, it can damage the torque converter, causing the transmission to fail. Because of this, many drivers recommend flushing the torque converter to make sure there isn’t any dirty fluid left in the system.

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How To Flush a Torque Converter

Cleaning a torque converter can be as easy as unscrewing a drain plug and waiting for the transmission fluid to drain. Unfortunately, not all vehicles come with a drain plug, so the process can be a bit more complicated than that. Here are a few tips to make it easier:

Prepare the Necessary Tools

You’ll save yourself a lot of time by preparing everything you need before you begin. To drain the torque converter, you’ll need a funnel, flare tool, screwdriver, socket wrench, and a bucket or drip pan. Be sure to have a bottle of fresh transmission fluid on hand too.

Disconnect the Transmission Cooling Line

The transmission cooling line’s exact location can vary depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, but you can usually find it connected to the radiator. In some cars, you’ll have to remove the engine flex plate first in order to access the line.

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If you aren’t 100% sure how to disconnect the transmission cooling line, don’t hesitate to ask a mechanic for help or consult your owner’s manual.

Start the Engine

With your gear set to neutral, start your engine to allow the transmission fluid to flow through the torque converter. Don’t forget to place a bucket or drain pan underneath the transmission cooling line.

Locate the Transmission Fluid Line

Find your vehicle’s transmission fluid pipe so that you can top up your transmission fluid. Depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, you can find it either near the rear of the engine or connected to the transaxle in front of the engine.

Don’t forget to use a funnel when pouring the fluid into the line. You’ll want to keep adding until fresh fluid drops into the bucket, which is a sign that the tank is now filled with new transmission oil.

Shift the Gears

You’ll need to call a friend to help you with this one. As you pour fresh fluid into the line, ask them to slowly shift through each gear. This allows the new transmission fluid to circulate through the system and lubricate each gear.

Go for a Test Drive

To make sure everything’s good to go, test drive your vehicle for a few miles. Your transmission should be running smoothly if you’ve successfully flushed the torque converter. If you notice the gears slipping or any strange noises coming from the transmission, then simply draining the torque converter fluid isn’t enough. You might have to replace the entire converter.

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Can You Drive With a Damaged Torque Converter?

While your engine can still run even if the torque converter shudders, we don’t recommend driving your vehicle until this faulty part is fixed. Driving around with a damaged torque converter can cause your transmission to overheat. Your gears are also likely to slip, making it hard to drive your car safely. It’s a lose-lose situation for you and your transmission, so you’re better off keeping your car in the garage until you can fix your torque converter.

How Much Does a Torque Converter Replacement Cost?

The exact price can vary depending on several factors, including your vehicle’s year, make, and model. In general, however, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $1,460 for a new torque converter. You can save yourself a lot of money by flushing your torque converter and following your manufacturer’s recommended transmission maintenance schedule.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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