If your car is shuddering, slipping, and vibrating, it’s a good sign something is going wrong with the transmission, the flywheel, or the torque converter. When your torque converter starts to go out, you’ll lose acceleration, slip between gears, and your vehicle might not shift at all.
When it does, replacing it as quickly as possible is crucial to preventing further damage to the engine flywheel or to the transmission.
The average cost of replacing a torque converter is $600-$1400. Here, the converter normally costs between $150-$500. The rest is labor, as removing the torque converter means dropping the transmission, which involves 5-10 hours of work.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of torque converter replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
|Supplier||Torque Converter Cost||Labor|
How Much Does a Torque Converter Replacement Cost?*
In most cases, the largest cost in replacing a torque converter is labor. However, depending on which part you buy and the made and model of the vehicle, costs can be about the same for labor and parts.
Here, your vehicle is the most important factor. A common vehicle with cheap parts and a roomy chassis will always save money over a compact vehicle that’s less common.
For example, the following chart shows average costs for torque converter replacement across popular vehicles.
|Vehicle||Torque Converter||Labor Cost|
|Land Rover Discovery 3||$1,000-$1,980||$500-$1870|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (June 2022). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.Please select a valid form
Torque Converter Replacement Cost Factors
Replacing a torque converter will cost anywhere from $85-$1500+. Those greatly changing prices depend on factors like the vehicle, the cost of parts, and, of course, labor.
Torque Converter Brand
If you’re buying an original equipment manufacturer torque converter to match the one you’re taking out of the vehicle, you’ll likely pay top dollar.
For example, a new Subaru torque converter has an MSRP of $655 from the manufacturer’s website. A new Land Rover torque converter has an MSRP of $1,980.
You can also choose aftermarket parts, which are made to meet or exceed the standards set by the manufacturer.
These range in quality and cost but typically start at around $150-$200 for a new torque converter.
Condition of Parts
While you can choose to buy a new torque converter, you can often save considerably by choosing a remanufactured part.
These have been taken apart, any damage fixed, and the part otherwise remanufactured to meet or exceed original manufacturer specifications.
Remanufactured parts often start as low as $80 and run up to around $400 (although there are costlier exceptions).
Normally, they’re at least half the cost of the part new but often closer to 25-30%.
Cost of Labor
The cost of labor will always be a considerable part of pricing a torque converter replacement.
That’s because taking the transmission out can take 5-10 hours. At the national average of $100 per hour, that will cost you around $500-$1000 in labor.
Of course, timelines vary quite a bit. In addition, if you have to resurface your flywheel, you’re probably adding extra time and machine fees onto the job.
In addition, you’ll likely have to pay shop fees (5-20% of total bill) and a lot fee ($5-$25 per day your car is at the mechanic) as well. So, costs can vary quite a bit.
Vehicle Make and Model
The make and model of your vehicle will impact costs in quite a few ways.
The first is the availability of parts. The more common your car is, the more likely it is you’ll have aftermarket and refurbished parts available.
In addition, if your mechanic is familiar with the vehicle, they’re more likely to know exactly how much time the job will take, meaning you save money.Please select a valid form
6 Signs of a Bad Torque Converter
If your torque converter is going out, you’ll notice your vehicle slipping, losing power, and struggling to shift between gears.
1. Weird Noises
If you’re noticing clinking or whirring noises coming from the transmission area, it’s a good sign that the clutch is going out.
Normally, bearings start to go bad and make a whirring noise as they turn over. That noise might sound like a fan.
Your torque converter might also start to clink if one of the turbine blades is bent or broken and starts hitting the side of the casing.
2. Longer Time to Engage
The gear engagement speed will likely go down as your torque converter fails. That means your vehicle will take longer to engage on gears. This is especially noticeable with higher gears.
However, the worse your converter gets, the more likely it will impact lower gears as well.
3. Contaminated Transmission Fluid
If your automatic transmission fluid is dirty or an odd color, it could cause issues with your torque converter.
That’s especially true if you have grime or sludge in the fluid, which can interfere with and even damage the turbines in the torque converter.
4. Trembling Car
If your car starts trembling or shaking when you hit 30-45 miles an hour, the issue is normally the torque converter. This happens as the lockup clutch seizes up.
Normally, it will also go away quickly. But, if you’ve experienced it several times, it’s likely a transmission or a torque converter issue.
5. Vehicle Overheating
When the torque converter overheats, it loses efficiency or ability to transmit power to the gearbox.
This causes the transmission to work harder, which generates more heat and may cause your vehicle to run hot or even overheat.
6. Slipping Gears
If your vehicle is slipping or delaying gears, the torque converter is a likely culprit.
However, it’s also important to check fluids first, because fluid issues can have a similar effect.Please select a valid form
How Do You Replace a Torque Converter: 22 Steps
You can choose to replace the torque converter yourself. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a difficult job.
You need a good jack and a means of lifting and lowering the transmission. Normally you want either a transmission jack or two jacks with a stabilizer.
Things you’ll need:
- 2-3 floor jacks
- 2-4 jack stands
- Ratchet and wrench set
- Breaker bar
- Penetrating fluid
- Automatic transmission fluid meeting the specifications of your vehicle (usually at least 5 quarts)
- Transmission assembly lube / any light automotive grease
- Replacement torque converter
- Shop towels
- Drain pan
- Disposable gloves
- Jack your vehicle up from the back and stabilize it using jack stands. You can jack it up from the front as well if you’d like more space.
- Drain the transmission fluid.
- Find where the drive shaft connects to the rear axle and disconnect the U-bolts. Normally this means undoing four bolts. You can use penetrating fluid if they are stuck.
- Have someone put the vehicle into neutral. Then, turn the drive shaft and pull the shaft away from the rear axle yoke. You can normally tap or pull on it to pull it out of the transmission. Then, put the vehicle back in Park.
- Remove the bolt going to the transmission fill tube tab and pull it up. If you have trouble finding it, find the fill tube/dipstick from the top and follow it. Pull the rubber grommet out of the fluid fill port on the transmission.
- Disconnect the battery from the negative post. Make sure you’ve taken the key out of the ignition first. Then, disconnect any wiring leading to the transmission. You may want to label things first.
- Find and remove the starter motor. Normally you can remove the electric harness and then remove the bolts. It’s not necessary to remove it all the way, just push it out of the bell housing.
- From under the car, remove the bolts on each tab sticking out from the torque converter at the front of the transmission. These are facing the engine and connect directly to the flywheel.
- Disconnect any cables attaching to the transmission. Label them if you think it’s necessary.
- Use a line wrench to detach the transmission oil cooler lines.
- Place one or two floor jacks under the transmission and use a board between the jack and the transmission pan. This distributes weight and ensures the jack doesn’t puncture the pan. Lift the transmission up just high enough to relieve pressure on the bolts.
- Remove the bolts holding the transmission to the cross member. Alternatively, you can simply unbolt the cross member from the frame. Make sure the transmission is firmly supported and stable before you do so. Then, left the transmission high enough to remove the cross member.
- Use a ratchet and socket with an extension to remove the bolts attaching the transmission to the flywheel. As you do, all of the weight will move to the jacks.
- Pull the transmission off of the engine dowels and lower it to the ground.
- If the exhaust pipe is in the way, you may have to remove it as well.
- Remove the final bell housing bolt.
- Remove the old torque converter, using a pan to catch the fluid.
- Clean the input shaft and then use grease to overlay the transmission seal, front pump bushing, and converter neck.
- Install a quart of automatic transmission fluid into the torque converter.
- Carefully install the torque converter, center it against the pump, and turn the front mounting pads around clockwise to allow the spines and hubs to drop into the transmission.
- Inspect the flywheel and the engine dowels. If there is damage or rust, clean them.
- Replace the transmission in opposite order, being sure to tighten everything. Then, refill the transmission fluid with appropriate ATF. Most transmissions take 4 quarts.
Replacing a torque converter is a complicated job. This FAQ may help.
Do all automatic transmissions have a torque converter?
No. While most automatic transmissions use a torque converter not all do.
Some, like the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta use a dual clutch system instead. So, anything with a Ford PowerShift uses a clutch instead.
On the other hand, all manual transmissions use a clutch instead of a torque converter.
Can you replace just the solenoid?
If the torque converter solenoid is out, you’ll normally have to replace the full unit, because it is sold as a single unit.
Therefore, the answer is “usually no”.
Can a bad torque converter damage the engine?
Yes. However, it’s more likely to damage the gearbox, the transmission, and the flywheel.
If you leave a bad torque converter alone long enough, it can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the rest of your vehicle.
A bad torque converter is a serious repair that will cost you $600-$1400 on average. While you can save money by doing the work yourself, it’s a big job that requires significant care with the transmission to avoid damaging it. If you do, the parts will probably cost you between $150-$500, but expect to spend a full weekend on the job.Please select a valid form