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Bad Transmission Pump? 5 Signs It Might Be Failing on You!

How To Know If Your Transmission Pump Is Bad

Just about everyone knows how essential the transmission in a car is. Next to the engine in a car, the transmission is probably the next most important part. But not everyone is familiar with every single component inside of a transmission. For example, a lot of people don’t have the first clue about what a transmission pump is or what it does within the context of their car’s transmission.

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You don’t need to know every single thing about a transmission pump. But you should have some general idea of what one is. You should also know how to tell when the transmission pump in your car is going bad. It’ll prevent you from driving around in a car with a transmission pump that’s on its last legs. Learn more about transmission pumps and the signs that will appear when you have a bad transmission pump in your vehicle below.

What Is a Transmission Pump? How Does It Work?

First things first: Not all vehicles have transmission pumps in them! If you drive a car with a manual transmission in it, you should know that your vehicle doesn’t have a transmission pump in it. If, however, you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, your car does have a transmission pump in it.


The transmission pump in a vehicle with an automatic transmission in it is designed to create pressure in the transmission to keep transmission fluid flowing through it. If a transmission pump goes bad, this fluid will stop moving around as much as it should, which could put your entire transmission into harm’s way.


Here is a brief breakdown of how the transmission pump in your car works:

  1. A part called a torque converter causes your transmission pump to turn when your engine is up and running
  2. When your transmission pump turns, it results in a vacuum forming in your transmission
  3. The vacuum that forms in your transmission pulls transmission fluid through the filter in your transmission
  4. Your transmission pump pressurizes the transmission fluid as it makes its way into your transmission
  5. The transmission fluid travels throughout your transmission as long as your transmission pump continues to do its job

The transmission fluid that moves through your transmission is responsible for keeping it cool and lubricating all the parts in it. This is why the transmission pump is often referred to as the “heart of a transmission.” Without it, your transmission won’t get the fluid that it needs to work efficiently.

How Long Should a Transmission Pump Last?

The good news for those who might be worried about their transmission pump after hearing about how important that it is just now is that it’s not a part that’s going to break down on you very often. In fact, it should last for as long as your transmission as a whole does, provided you service your car accordingly and don’t allow transmission fluid to linger for too long.


There are some people who neglect their transmission and watch it break down on them before it reaches the 100,000-mile mark. But generally speaking, you should be able to get at least 150,000 to 200,000 miles of life out of a transmission, if not even more than that. It’s not all that out of the ordinary for some transmissions to last for over 200,000 or even 300,000 miles.


Does this mean that your transmission pump is going to last that long, too? Not always! It could conk out on you long before your transmission is ready to go. It’s a big part of the reason why you need to be aware of the signs that’ll show you that you have a bad transmission pump on your hands. It’ll help you steer clear of driving around in a car with a bad transmission pump and doing damage to your transmission.

What Are the Signs of a Bad Transmission Pump?

It shouldn’t be all that difficult for you to see when you have a bad transmission pump in your vehicle. There are going to be all sorts of signs that’ll start to appear right before your eyes when your transmission pump is about to die on you. You should keep your eyes peeled for them and listen out for any trouble with your transmission, too. Keep reading to find out about 5 of the most common signs of a bad transmission pump.

1. Your Transmission Begins to Make a Lot of Noise

If you hear any unusual sounds coming from underneath the hood of your car, that’s pretty much never a good thing. But it can be an especially bad thing if you suspect that the sounds might be coming from your car’s transmission. A bad transmission pump can result in your transmission making sounds that you’ve never heard before.


When you have a bad transmission pump, it’ll often lead to your transmission making a whining noise when you’re driving it. And because your transmission pump is powered by your engine, that noise is going to get louder and louder (and louder!) as you accelerate in your car. It’s going to be a pretty obvious sign that something isn’t right under your hood.


You might be tempted to turn the radio up in your car to distract you from the fact that you have an issue with your transmission. But the whining sound that your car makes is going to be impossible to ignore forever. You’re going to need to have it looked at to see if you have a bad transmission pump.

2. Your Transmission Starts to Slip on a Regular Basis

The transmission fluid that flows through your car’s transmission is one of the things that allows your car to change gears while you’re driving. The fluid makes it possible for your transmission to move from one gear to the next smoothly. But this isn’t going to be possible when you have a bad transmission pump.


A bad transmission pump is going to prevent transmission fluid from working its way through your transmission, which will make changing gears a challenge. There isn’t going to be nearly enough pressure built up in your transmission, and it’ll result in you experiencing what is called transmission slippage.


If you start to feel transmission slippage taking a hold of your car, it’ll mean that it’s time to have your vehicle serviced right away. You could be driving with a transmission pump in place. If you don’t do anything about it, it’s only going to be a matter of time before your transmission stops working completely.

3. Your Transmission Turns Your Check Engine Light On

There are about a million and one things that can go wrong in your car and make the check engine light come on. You might see your car’s check engine light come on if:

  • Your gas cap isn’t on tight enough
  • Your catalytic converter has gone bad
  • Your mass airflow sensor is faulty
  • Your spark plugs are about to die

With this in mind, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you have a bad transmission pump just because your check engine light is on. But you should strongly suspect it if your check engine light comes on and you see any of the other signs listed here.


Your car’s computer is constantly monitoring what’s going on within your transmission. It’ll alert you to the presence of a bad transmission pump. It’s going to be your job to take your car to a mechanic when the check engine light comes on to see what in the world is causing it.

4. Your Transmission Leaks All the Time

There is a seal that forms in between the torque converter in your car and your transmission pump. That seal should be able to stand the test of time and stay strong for many years. But eventually, it is going to start to wear down on you and cause transmission fluid to leak from your car.


When this seal fails, you’re going to start to see transmission fluid leaking at the front of your car’s transmission. It’s going to strongly suggest that you have a bad transmission pump that must be replaced. If you don’t replace it, transmission fluid will keep on leaking until there is none left in your car.


You might be able to get away with driving around in a car with a transmission fluid leak for a little while. But you’re going to be tempting fate if you do it for too long. You should have your car inspected to see if a bad transmission pump is causing the fluid to leak out. And you should do this before it’s too late!

5. Your Transmission Stops Working Altogether

You’re going to see some of the 4 signs that we just mentioned appear when your car’s transmission pump is dying on you. You’re going to see this particular one when your transmission pump gives out on you and has no more life left in it.


When your transmission pump fails completely, your transmission is going to stop working the way it’s supposed to. You’re not going to be able to get your car to budge, regardless of which gear it’s in. This is going to be a worst-case scenario for you since it’ll often mean that you’ll need to have costly transmission repairs done. You should try not to allow things to get to this point!

How Do You Replace a Bad Transmission Pump?

If you discover that your transmission pump is going bad early on in the process, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to rebuild your entire transmission. You will, however, have to replace your transmission pump before it leads to other issues with your transmission.


This is not a job that you should ever try to take on yourself! Replacing a bad transmission pump involves removing the torque converter from your car and taking apart certain aspects of your transmission. You should let an ASE certified mechanic handle this job rather than trying to tackle it on your own.


You’ll usually need to prepare to replace both the transmission pump and the torque converter at the same time. You might also need to flush your transmission fluid while you’re at it and put a new transmission filter into place.

How Much Will a New Transmission Pump Cost?

Anytime people think about doing any type of transmission repair, they often think that it’s going to cost them a small fortune. In some instances, this will be the case. But you might be able to replace a transmission pump without breaking the bank.


While the cost to replace a bad transmission pump is going to depend largely on what kind of car that you have, a new transmission pump should only run you a few hundred dollars at most. That’s a far cry from the $1,000+ that you’ll have to pay for a brand-new or even salvaged transmission!


Still, you’re going to need to assess the situation to determine whether or not it’ll make sense to replace a bad transmission pump. There could be other transmission issues that’ll also need to be dealt with accordingly, and it could drive the price of replacing a transmission pump way up. It might make you want to sell your car rather than replacing your bad transmission pump.

Can You Sell a Vehicle With a Bad Transmission Pump?

If you have a vehicle with a bad transmission pump, you’ll be happy to know that selling it will be an option for you. If you don’t want to pay to have a transmission pump replaced, Cash Cars Buyer will pay you cash for your car and pick it up from you so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with it anymore.


Here is how you can sell your old car with a bad transmission pump in it to us:

  • Tell us what kind of car you have (make and model plus the year)
  • Let us know how many miles are on your car and what’s wrong with it
  • Receive an offer from us within just minutes
  • Choose to either accept or reject our offer
  • Schedule a time for us to pick up your car if you want to accept the offer we make to you

At Cash Cars Buyer, we strive to make selling an old car simple on you. Contact us today if you would like to part ways with a car that has a bad transmission pump in it.

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