Automatic Transmission Valve Body Functions and Failure Symptoms

In this post we will discuss about the main parts of automatic transmission called VALVE BODY. What is the main functions of valve body? What is the symptoms will occur if the valve body malfunction? You will find all the answer after you read full article below:

Basic Function of Valve Body

All automatic transmission systems have a valve body which serves as its main control center. Basically, there are numerous passages and channels within the valve body which direct the flow of hydraulic fluid to different valves in order to activate the right clutch and shift the gear appropriately based on the driving situation. The valves that make up the valve body each serve a different purpose and their names reflect what they do. For example, the valve body has a 2-3 shift valve which is responsible for up shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd gear. And if there’s going to be a downshift from the 3rd gear to the 2nd gear, then the 3-2 shift valve would be responsible for that.

Types of Valve Body

Commonly, there are two types of valve body, first type is electronic valve body which using electronic system ECT (electronic controlled transmission) as main control to operate all shifting on automatic transmission. And many newer cars using this electronically controlled transmissions (ECT) which have bands and clutches that are operated from hydraulics. However, an electric solenoid valve is used to control each hydraulic circuit. This is what allows the transmission to have more elaborate and advanced control schemes than the non-electronically controlled transmissions. The controller of the transmission can monitor the throttle position, vehicle speed, the anti-lock braking system, and the engine speed.

And  another type of valve body called hydraulic valve body, all system works using hydraulic pressure and controlled by each valve that linked to the shifting handle.  When you change the handle’s position, it will uncover and cover certain passages in the valve body to accommodate that position. So, if you were to change the gear handle to “Drive,” then fluid would be directed into the clutch and the 1st gear would be activated.

Failure Valve Body Symptoms

If you have a failing automatic transmission valve body, there are some clear symptoms that you should look out for. Many of the symptoms simply have to do with the noises that you hear when you change gears. If you were to hear banging noises when you slow down, change gears, or travel in reverse, that would be one indication of a faulty valve body. Another symptom would be if the gear shifting stick slips a lot when you try to change gears. If the valve body were working properly, this shift stick would not slip so easily like that. You may also notice that it is much slower for your transmission to go into reverse or drive when you change the gear. All these are signs of a failing valve body in your automatic transmission system.

Read also: Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor and Replacement Cost

It is easy to ignore these kinds of problems in the beginning because they are not so intense. But the problems with your valve body will become very clear if you drive your car continuously for at least 30 minutes because your transmission will start to get hot. If you experience any of these problems, take your vehicle to the nearest auto body shop right away and have a professional look at your valve body to see if it needs replacing.

52 thoughts on “Automatic Transmission Valve Body Functions and Failure Symptoms”

  1. Hi please help BT 50 2011 3.0tdi auto. Only when it shirt from 4to5 it gift’s a double jurk when it shifts. Is it the valve body?

    • Possible cause from valve body, if you do not fix immediately, it will effect to plates and clutches on 4th to 5th area and maybe one way clutch will defective as well.

      Correct me if i wrong…

    • yes, it is possible, and once the valve body malfunction, it will burn also clutches and discs, so it need to dismantle immediately

      thank you

  2. I have a 2008 dodge nitro with a 3.7 motor. I recently had a lot of work done to it such as a new pcm , tune up , fuel induction service, #4 injector replaced , and most recently a TIPM replaced. Shortly after the TIPM was replaced my transmission was getting stuck in gear possibly 2nd. And than it stopped until the other day it started up again. I took it to a mechanic that I trusted this time and came up with a code of p0882. He checked over everything and couldn’t find a problem. He even tried to get it to act up again and no luck. He said it could have a bad TIPM. So since I still had a warranty on the parts and labor, I took it back to the dealership where I had all of that recent work done. They called me up and said that the valve body is going bad and needs to be replaced. What do you think the issue could be ? Is the dealership right? Or should I continue to drive it until it acts up again and throws a code? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  3. I have a chrysler aspen 2008 with a 5.7 hemi..i keep getting a code of p0750.shift selenoid A i have replaced my selenoid pack and pcm..can it be possible that my body valve is causing this problems?hope to hear from u thanks

    • Usually when the selenoid malfuntion, it will effects to entire automatic transmission relative parts if not repair immediately

  4. Hi I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4×4. The reverse does not work. It sounds like it wants to go into reverse but not movement. It goes into drive just done. Hoping you can give some guidance.

      • I got stuck at the courthouse yesterday with the exact issue. Could not go in reverse. Sounded like it was in neutral but didn’t go anywhere. Shifted from 1-6 just fine once i got out. It was the valve body. Had it replaced yesterday. I have a 2009 bmw 335X with 170k miles 🙂 Around 700 for the fix. Better than a new transmission or junking the car!

  5. Hi, I have VW tiguan 2.0l petrol. I have faced the problem that the car is not moving in drive mode(D) after driving about 25 km. Spanner sign came on cluster after driving for a while, and there was difficulty in shifting gears.But it could be driven normally after cooling down.After allowing the vehicle to cool, drive was only possible in D1, D3.Even Reverse was not possible. Moreover, most of the return drive was possible only in D1 gear.I visited the VW dealer and they have replaced gearoil but still the problem is the same.Is this the problem due to fault in the valve body?

  6. Hi, I have VW tiguan 2.0l petrol. I have faced the problem that the car is not moving in drive mode(D) after driving about 25 km. Spanner sign came on cluster after driving for a while, and there was difficulty in shifting gears.But it could be driven normally after cooling down.After allowing the vehicle to cool, drive was only possible in D1, D3.Even Reverse was not possible. Moreover, most of the return drive was possible only in D1 gear.I visited the VW dealer and they have replaced gearoil but still the problem is the same.Is this the problem due to fault in the valve body?

  7. my car is Mitsubishi pajero junior 1997, yesterday while i was driving the car around some hilly road suddenly the car slams out of gear while the the selector in still in D position and the car stopped but the engine was working, and nothing happens in all gears D, 2,L and even in R or reverse the car doesn’t move at all.. please anyone who knows the problem help me out… Because i couldn’t figure it out.

  8. I have a 2004 bmw745i can i use the valve body off another 2004 bmw 745i. I switch mines out now its only flashing in park

  9. Have an infinity g35x was driving loud bang then my slip light keeps flashing and sound like a bike chain that cannot catch does go into gears tho plz help

  10. I got a 2004 nissan maxima 3.5 v6 with a 5 speed automatic transmission. When it’s cold it goes into drive good but when it gets up to operating temperature it bangs into drive could that be a valve body causing the problem?

  11. I own a golf 5 DSG GTI. And it doesn’t change gears from 1 to 2 To 3. It change manually on the steering pedals…what might be the problem for it not to change gears ?

  12. I have a 2008 audi A8 3.2 L car. The problem started with a jerk which shifting the automatic transmission gears either in reverse of into D mode. There would be a violent jerk.Sometimes the car would also stall while going up a steep incline and it would seem as if the gears are shifting in the transmission.

    One more problem occurred that while driving normally at various speeds there would be a sudden jerk as if the transmission changed gears or a fuel supply issue occurred.

    the local Audi dealer ship changed the fuel filter and the control unit of the transmission. This has greatly reduced the gear jerk from stationery position but not eliminated it. The jerk feeling while driving is still felt once in a while. The Audi dealer said that when they opened up the transmission they observed that the Valve body is damaged and needs replacement as the circuits on it are not properly transmitting the signals and the jerks are as a result of this.

    I live in Lahore, Pakistan and there are not many highly qualified technicians here so your well considered advice will be greatly appreciated as Ive already spent over 5000 usd and the valve body and labour is another 4000 usd.

    Please help

  13. 2008 Ford F-250 super duty 6.4. Was driving down the highway at 65 to 70mph and the truck just down shifted by it’s self driving home did the same thing the got a code 0766 shift solenoid d stuck off before getting home it won’t not shift into over drive. Got to the road I live on the then it wouldn’t shift out of second. Got the solenoid from Ford replaced that and the filter and noticed one bolt was missing out of the valve body it was in the pan and three others were lose tighten them down put it back together same thing transmission wouldn’t shift into over drive and the temperature became normal in the transmission and wouldn’t shift out second again. Is the valve body bad please help.

  14. I drive fairly easy on the gas but still…. what about that rough jerk when accelerating from a complete stop, going to 2nd or 3.rd ? Doesnt seem to happen much when the engine is cold. It easily happens when it downshifts to an almost complete stop such as first gear will engage and when shifting up, it will jerk badly if I press the gas a little extra..
    So I’ve seen reman’d valve body at $200 bucks and that would be a great replacement if it cures the problem. What you think ?
    I certainly don’t want to spend +$2,000 on a new transmission a valve body on a truck that is worth about $2500 🙁 … I like this truck (Ford Ranger 2004, single cab, extra long bed is a bliss and I just replaced rear window gasket – was leaking; redid the ceiling lining and even went further and put an Outback roof console (yeah, it was cheap on ebay), and also bright LED internal lights… so I like this truck 🙂
    Thanks for the article.

  15. I was told by the dealership that the valve body has a problem. They have been trying to identify the issue for 10 months. They are replacing it now. Could this problem have affected other parts of the transmission? I am not sure what to ask to have them check and my warranty expires in 1 month. Thank you

    • If the problem started in the warranty period you should be covered especially because you have taken it in to the dealership to get looked at.

  16. My bmw e46 zf automatic transmission that works well for 20min on a nonstop straight drive and fails in 5,4,3 gear after 20min as it indicates (*) on the drive mode. Could it be atf or valve body or something else? Pls help.

  17. I just bought a 2016 altima and the valve body needed to be replaced. I bought it less than a month ago. Car is under warranty but im kind of skeptical now. Should the car be fine after replacement or should i see if i can change car? Bought it through a well known dealership.

  18. I have 2011 polo vivo clp i have problem changing the gears if i shift the gear stick to drive it makes a banging sound and it makes same sound when you shift to reverse and it remains on the first gear,pls help.

  19. I have an MG 3 salon car,2013 model,its the valve body that’s faulty but i can get the replacement to purchase.Do you have some dealers i can contact?

  20. Hi, i have a issan Pathfinder se 2003, i took it out for a drive one morning everything ok and then suddenly i observed on the way back that it i would have to rev up to 3000 rev/min b4 the gear changed to 2nd gear and after that it would not change to any gear after that , but would downshift back to 1st gear once i slowed down.

    pls what could be d problem and is it still manage to move around with?

  21. Good day..I have a Venda 2009 model and it was skipping gear so I just changed the valve body but after that I found out that the gear stops changing after the 4th gear.what could be the cause and how do I resolve it..thank you

  22. What might cause a with an automatic transmission that in 5th gear when given a punch of gas revs to very high rpm

  23. My volkswagen transmission slips between first and second gear. You can see the rpms shoot up inbetween gears before in engages second gear. Have warranty for transmission but they claim the repair shop cannot show physical signs of damage therefore they deny the coverage. There are also no warning lights on dash. Any suggestions on how to prove its the valve body?

    • Actually if you need proof for the warranty claim, workshop can do active test using scan tool. scan tool can record the data for failure condition. it look like your car has delayed shifting.
      as you said the transmission has slips, if you keep run at this condition, the plates and clutches will be burn

  24. I got a Madza 3, 1.6, it lights AT Light then skips gears, from 1 to 4. What could be the problem? But if the AT light is off it changes gears just fine.

  25. Hello,
    I have Mercedes W202 C200 1999 automatic transmission , recently i have replaced conductor adapter 13 pin and Gasket , now the gear does not shift to up gears during drive it moves with 1 , 2 , 3 and not change the gear automatically to up shifts as well when it is in D after moving and push the accelerator pedal the gear not change and the it stick have to press break pedal and then it goes to the manual.
    so please tell me what is the problem? does it relate to the transmission body valve or other things. what should i have to do to fix this issue.

  26. I have a 2007 Porsche Cayman S, new to me, with the auto tiptronic trans. I notice when driving in the auto mode, around residential area mainly, the rpm’s will fluctuate a bit…a very slight rev… while going thru the gears. Doesn’t feel like its slipping….no jerking or sounds other than the slight rev…..Usually in 4th or 5th and only when the car is lugging. Seems to shift at about 2000 rpm’s and lugs a bit at slower speeds (kind of normal from what I have learned as far as the lug goes).

    I can make it do it at about 40 mph which is about 2000 rpm…rpm needle jumps a bit, almost like it doesn’t like being in 5th at that speed and is searching for 4th???

    Odd thing is it doesn’t behave like that as much when in manual mode, shifting gears myself…i am guessing because I shift it higher than the 2000 rpm as the auto mode does

    Explained all this to my mechanic…had all the trans fluid and filters replaced (needed it app 72,000 miles) and he reset the computer for it to “re learn” my driving habits????

    Had trans fluids all re checked and all good there. Mechanic suggests rebuilding valve body, THINKS that will cure the problem…

  27. 2018 GMC Canyon. I owned it for 2 weeks and 500 miles before it failed to start, then ran in what seemed like only first gear. It’s been at dealer’s shop for close to 2 weeks. They now are saying that it needs a new Automatic Transmission Valve Body. Bad luck or just the first of what may be many future problems?

  28. Can dirty/neglected trans fluid cause valve body malfunction? My 1995 Escort was shifting funky at slow speeds but after a few more fluid changes everything smoothed out. Assumed it was the some valve body crud. I typically removed 2 quarts of warm fluid from the fill tube every other time I changed the oil vs dropping the pan. Recently sold the perfectly running, 23 yr old Ford with 175,000 city miles. The trans filter was changed @ 75,000 miles when I got the car in 2000.

  29. I got a VW Sharan 2.8 tiptronic, I got no reverse , can drive in all other gears , but gets a hard jerks when it changes over to 3rd gear. I am not driving the vehicle at this moment but would like to fix. I was told that there are four solenoid valve that can be replaced and it will fix the problem. Can enaone help me , please.


    • It’s definitely possible the control solenoids need replacing. Also make sure your transmission fluid is at the correct level.

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