Torque Converters and Dirt: Why is Servicing More Difficult?

Posted on: 18 July 2023

Torque converters are essential components of automatic transmissions that help transmit power from the engine to the wheels. But have you ever wondered why debris and dirt can get trapped inside your car's torque converter? And why is servicing a torque converter more difficult than other transmission parts? 

What exactly is a torque converter?

Before you can figure out why dirt and debris can get trapped inside a torque converter, it's crucial to know what it is. This is a device that sits between the engine and transmission, whose primary function is to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. The torque converter's design involves a housing with three main pieces, including an impeller, a stator and a turbine. These parts work together and use pressurised fluid to create the necessary torque to power the wheels.

Why do dirt and debris accumulate in torque converters?

As the engine powers the torque converter, fluid within the housing circulates and helps transmit power. However, over time, the fluid can become contaminated with dirt, debris and metal shavings. The fluid's quality isn't the only cause of the accumulation of dirt within the torque converter, though. The torque converter design creates small spaces where dirt and debris can accumulate, making it tough to flush out entirely.

Why is servicing a torque converter more challenging?

Since dirt and debris can accumulate in the converter, servicing this part requires flushing out the old fluid and cleaning the inside of the torque converter. However, because of its design, reaching all parts of the torque converter can be challenging. A torque converter's small size and limited access points make it more challenging to reach all its parts than an oil pan. That's why servicing a torque converter is more difficult.

What happens if you don't service your torque converter?

If you fail to service your car's torque converter regularly, problems will inevitably arise. Dirty fluid can clog up the torque converter's small passages, leading to impediments in power transfer. The accumulation of debris and dirt can lead to parts breaking and the overall failure of the torque converter, leading to expensive repairs. 

What's the answer?

An experienced mechanic will have a special machine on hand. They'll be able to attach it to the transmission casing, and it will force a cleaning agent through the torque converter to get rid of that accumulated grit.

What can you do?

Your vehicle's torque converter is a vital part of your automatic transmission system, and its regular maintenance is crucial to the car's longevity. Dirt and debris can accumulate inside the converter and it can be very challenging to service the part. Always ensure that you take your vehicle to a mechanic like Wangara Automatic Transmissions whenever servicing is required so they can use the appropriate machinery instead.