Silverado Transmission Slipping (Here Is Why + Helpful Tips)

silverado transmission slipping

Have you ever wondered why your Chevy Silverado transmission is slipping? Well, we got you covered.

When it comes to Chevrolet Silverado trucks, transmission issues have been prevalent in recent years, particularly in the models from 2012 to 2019.

Transmission problems can lead to dangerous driving conditions and costly repairs, so it’s crucial to address them as soon as they arise.

Here are the main causes of transmission slipping in Chevy Silverado:

  1. Causes of Transmission Slipping in Chevy Silverado
  2. Worn or Damaged Clutches
  3. Transmission Control Module (TCM) Failure
  4. Torque Converter Failure
  5. Manufacturing Defects

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes of Silverado transmission slipping, how to diagnose the issue, and recommended solutions to keep your truck running smoothly.

Overview of Silverado Transmission Issues

Transmission problems can manifest themselves in various ways, such as hard or rough shifting, sudden jerking, and difficulty downshifting.

These issues are not only inconvenient but can also pose a significant safety risk when driving. Chevy Silverado owners have reported a range of transmission issues, with some of the most common ones listed below.

Common Transmission Problems

  • Manufacturing defects
  • Transmission fluid leaks
  • Low or burnt transmission fluid
  • Clunking noise when shifting between gears
  • Jerking
  • Noise when the gear is in neutral

These issues can affect the overall performance of your Silverado, leading to a less-than-ideal driving experience. To gain a better understanding of the root of the problem, it’s essential to conduct a thorough diagnosis.

How to Identify Transmission Slipping in Your Chevy Silverado

Transmission slipping can manifest in several ways, making it essential to know the signs to look out for before more significant issues develop. Some of the common symptoms of transmission slipping include:

  • Hard or rough shifting between gears
  • Sudden jerking or shuddering
  • Trouble downshifting
  • Delayed acceleration
  • Grinding or whining noises
  • Check engine light coming on

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your Silverado’s transmission.

Read also >> Transmission Problems in Chevy Silverado (Here Is How To Fix)

Read also >> Automatic Transmission Problems Shifting Gears (Solved!)

Read also >> Can a Bad Throttle Body Cause Transmission Problems?

Read also >> Does Transmission Fluid Need To Be Changed? (Here Is Why)

Read also >> How Much Does a Used Transmission Cost? (Pros Tips On Buying)

Causes of Transmission Slipping in Chevy Silverado

There are several reasons why your Silverado’s transmission may be slipping. Some of the most common causes include:

Low or Burnt Transmission Fluid

One of the main reasons for transmission slipping is low or burnt transmission fluid. The fluid plays a vital role in lubricating and cooling the transmission components, and if it’s not at the right level, it can lead to slipping and other issues.

Worn or Damaged Clutches

Worn or damaged clutches can cause slipping in automatic transmissions. The clutch packs in an automatic transmission help to transfer power from the engine to the transmission, and if they are worn or damaged, they can slip and cause issues.

Transmission Control Module (TCM) Failure

The TCM is responsible for sending signals from various sensors in the vehicle to the transmission, allowing it to shift gears correctly. A faulty TCM can lead to erratic shifting behavior and slipping.

Torque Converter Failure

A failing torque converter can cause transmission slipping in Chevy Silverados. The torque converter is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the transmission, and if it’s not functioning correctly, it can lead to slipping and other issues.

Manufacturing Defects

In some cases, manufacturing defects in the transmission components can lead to slipping and other issues. This can include issues with the valve body, shifting solenoids, or other internal components.

Checking and Maintaining Transmission Fluid

As mentioned earlier, maintaining the right level and quality of transmission fluid is crucial for preventing slipping and other transmission issues. To check your transmission fluid:

  1. Locate the transmission dipstick, usually found near the engine oil dipstick.
  2. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean.
  3. Reinsert the dipstick and remove it again to check the fluid level.
  4. The fluid should be within the acceptable range marked on the dipstick.

The transmission fluid should be pinkish-red and have a fresh smell. If it’s brown and has a burnt odor, it’s time to change the fluid and filter.

Pro Tip

Regularly changing your transmission fluid and filter is an inexpensive way to ensure a long-lasting transmission.

Reading Trouble Codes

Your Silverado’s transmission is controlled by the powertrain control module (PCM), which stores any trouble codes related to transmission issues. To access these codes, you’ll need an OBD-II code reader.

Even if your check engine light isn’t on, there may be stored codes that can help diagnose the cause of the slipping. In some cases, more advanced code readers may be necessary to access deep-rooted codes within the PCM.

Diagnosing Silverado Transmission Issues

Before attempting any repairs, it’s crucial to identify the specific issue affecting your Silverado’s transmission. Here are a few steps to help you diagnose the problem:

Step 1: Check Your Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is vital for the proper functioning of your vehicle’s transmission. Start by checking the level and condition of the fluid.

The fluid should appear pinkish-red and have a fresh smell. Brown fluid with a burnt odor indicates that there may be an issue.

To check your fluid, locate the transmission dipstick and inspect the fluid level when the engine is hot. The acceptable range should be indicated on the dipstick. If the level is within the acceptable range, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Read Trouble Codes

Since the Silverado’s transmission is controlled by the powertrain control module (PCM), any trouble codes thrown by the transmission will be stored in the PCM. You can access these codes through the OBD-II diagnostic link connector inside the cab.

Even if your check engine light is not on, stored codes can provide valuable insight into the issue. It’s worth spending a small amount to have the codes read, as they may point to a specific problem, such as a faulty solenoid or switch. If the code is general, continue to Step 3.

Step 3: Identify Common Problems with the 4L60E and 6L80E Transmissions

Certain issues are more likely to cause transmission slipping in Silverados equipped with the 4L60E and 6L80E transmissions. Below is a list of common problems and their respective solutions:

  1. Slow, slipping, or no reverse: A broken sunshell or a circuit issue in the valve body may be the culprit. A broken sunshell requires disassembling the transmission, while a transmission restorer additive may temporarily alleviate the circuit issue.
  2. No 3rd or 4th gear: Worn-out 3rd-4th clutches may be the cause, requiring a transmission replacement or repair.
  3. 1st and 3rd only, but no 2nd, 4th, or reverse: A damaged sunshell may be to blame, necessitating a transmission replacement or repair.
  4. No 2nd or 4th gear: A slipping 2-4 band or leaking servo seals may be at fault. Servo seals can be replaced without removing the transmission, while a band replacement requires transmission removal.
  5. No 1st or 4th gear, and transmission shifts from 2nd to 3rd by itself: A failed shift solenoid or a wiring issue between the PCM and transmission could be the problem. Replace the shift solenoid located in the transmission pan or check the wiring continuity.
  6. No 2nd or 3rd gear: A failed shift solenoid B or a wiring issue between the PCM and transmission may be responsible.
  7. No drive in OD or D, but L2, L1, and R work: A broken forward sprag may be the issue, requiring a transmission replacement or repair.
  8. No movement in any gear: A pump failure may be the cause. Check if the fluid level changes when the engine is running and not running. If the level does not change, the pump may have failed, necessitating a transmission replacement or repair.

If any of these issues apply to your Silverado, it’s essential to address them promptly to avoid further damage.

The 4L60E transmission is commonly found in the GM GMT800 and GMT900 Silverado models, while the newer K2XX models typically have the 6L80E transmission. These transmissions can have similar issues that lead to slipping, and it’s essential to understand the common problems and their solutions.

Should You Replace Your Transmission?

Replacing a transmission is a significant and costly repair. If you can afford a new transmission without straining your finances, it may be the best option. However, if a new transmission is beyond your budget, consider taking your Silverado to a certified repair shop for a thorough inspection and diagnosis.

Dealing with Silverado Transmission Problems

If you own a Chevy Silverado and are experiencing transmission issues, it’s essential to address the problem as soon as possible. A certified repair shop can help diagnose and fix common transmission problems, including pressure regulator system issues, automatic transmission system problems, and valve body concerns.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Transmission Problems

Regular maintenance and timely intervention can help prevent transmission problems from occurring. Some preventive measures include:

  • Changing transmission fluid and filter regularly
  • Checking fluid levels and condition regularly
  • Avoiding excessive towing or carrying heavy loads that can strain the transmission
  • Observing any unusual behavior or noises while driving and addressing them promptly

Can a dirty transmission filter cause slipping?

Yes, a dirty transmission filter can cause slipping. When a transmission filter becomes clogged, it restricts the flow of transmission fluid, which can lead to problems with shifting gears.

This can cause slipping, hesitation, or other issues when trying to change gears. In addition, a clogged filter can cause the transmission to overheat due to a lack of proper lubrication, which can also contribute to slipping.

It is important to keep the transmission filter clean and replace it if necessary to avoid further damage to the transmission.

Can low oil cause transmission slipping?

Yes, low oil levels can cause transmission slipping. When the transmission operates with insufficient fluid, it can lead to restricted fluid flow and overheating, which can cause the transmission to slip.

Regular maintenance such as checking the fluid levels and changing the oil can help extend the lifespan of the transmission. If the transmission is already slipping, it may need to be rebuilt or replaced.

However, if caught early, adding the specified oil and checking for leaks can help fix the issue.

How much does it cost to fix a transmission slip?

A slipping transmission can be caused by various reasons, including dirty transmission filter, low fluid, worn clutch, burnt fluid, or worn-out gears.

The cost to fix it can range from as low as $5 for adding transmission fluid [1] to as high as $5,800 for a complete transmission replacement. Rebuilding the transmission can cost between $1,000 and $3,000 [1], while replacing the transmission can cost between $1,400 and $5,800, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

The cost of replacing a single shift solenoid is between $150 and $500. It is recommended to get a professional mechanic to determine the best repair option.

Regular maintenance such as checking fluid levels and changing the oil can help prevent these issues, which can cost up to $3,400 on average for a transmission repair

Make sure the TRANSMISSION is not Slipping Before you Buy a Used Chevrolet Silverado!!! >> Check out the video below:


Transmission issues in Chevy Silverados are not uncommon, but they can be diagnosed and resolved with the right approach.

Understanding the common causes, symptoms, and solutions can help you keep your truck running smoothly and safely.

By following the preventive measures and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can minimize the risk of costly repairs and ensure a reliable driving experience.

Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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