4 Common Causes Of Delayed Automatic Transmission Shifting

Your vehicle is home to many mechanical systems, and the automatic transmission is one of the most complex. It's also one of the most hardworking since it is constantly controlling the way power is directed from the engine to the driveshaft. As such, it needs to put up with a lot of wear and tear, and that means problems can develop over time, including delayed shifting.

Otherwise known as 'delayed engagement', delayed shifting occurs when your vehicle pauses either before shifting into drive or when gears are changed as you drive. Such delays indicate that your vehicle needs to be checked by a professional, and there are several reasons why it might be happening.

Here are just four causes of delayed shifting in automatic transmissions.

1. Low Or Old Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid helps keep seals lubricated and prevents overheating. When there isn't enough or when the fluid you're using is too old, it is unable to keep vital internal parts protected. Since your transmission will no longer be functioning at the correct operating temperature, the fluid won't be able to work properly. As such, you'll often notice that shifts are delayed.

2. Faulty Shift Solenoid Valves

Your transmission contains special valves known as shift solenoids that are used to control the amount of fluid that flows through the system. When functioning properly, they open and close in response to electrical signals received from your engine or transmission control unit. However, they can start getting stuck over time as the small plungers and electromagnetic coils they use start to wear down, and this will typically result in delayed shifting.

3. Clogged Transmission Filter

When your transmission filter is allowed to become clogged with debris, the system's hydraulic pressure will drop. This will then lead to a delay in gear engagement. Luckily enough, a mechanic will be able to quickly and easily remove the transmission pan and replace the filter, but this is something that should be done sooner rather than later to prevent further issues.

4. Worn Transmission Pump

The pump that moves transmission fluid around your transmission system can also start to fail over time. As with a clogged transmission filter, this will result in a drop in hydraulic pressure and eventually lead to delayed shifting. Additionally, the fact that your pump will no longer be able to circulate transmission fluid around the system can swiftly lead to the need for further repairs and replacements.

Visit an auto service, such as a BMW servicing shop, to find out more.