Car Transmissions

Transmission Valve Body Symptoms

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 18, 2020
Transmission Valve Body Symptoms

Your vehicle is your pride and joy. And you depend on it daily to get you places. So, it is important that your car is always in good shape and running smoothly.

When you own a car or truck, it is crucial to maintain a schedule of routine maintenance. This ensures that your car always has optimal amounts of fluids, clean filters and it can head off problems before they become major issues.

Despite this it is still possible, and often expected, that your car will have some trouble at some point. If you regularly service your car, then you will be able to quickly notice when something is off. The key is to figure out what is wrong and then fix is right away.

If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, you should be aware of some signs and symptoms that can alert you to a problem.

Transmission Valve Body Symptoms
Transmission Valve Body Symptoms

What is the valve body?

The valve body acts as the control center in a car with an automatic transmission. The valve body houses a system of channels and passages that are responsible for directing transmission fluid. The fluid goes to different valves. These valves are responsible for the different gears being able to shift appropriately.

Clearly the valve body is crucial for the transmission to work properly.

Are there different types of valve bodies?

Yes. There are two different types of valve bodies that are used in cars.

1.Electronic Valve Body

An electronic valve body is part of the car’s ECT (electronic controlled transmission). This kind of body valve uses the ECT as the main control when shifting. It utilizes bands and clutches that work by hydraulics.

There is an electric solenoid that controls each hydraulic circuit. This type of system allows the controller to monitor throttle position, vehicle speed, ABS and engine speed.

2.Hydraulic Valve Body

This type of system uses hydraulics to control the valves. These valves are linked to the shifting lever. When you change the position of the handle, fluid is directed into the corresponding clutch.

Reading the error codes
Reading the error codes

What are some signs that the valve body is bad?

There are some pretty clear cut and obvious signs of transmission valve body problems. It is important to take note and get it taken care of promptly.

1.Garage Shifts

If you notice that your car is experiencing harsh or delayed garage shifts, you might be having valve body issues. It is called garage shifts because it refers to trouble when you shift from Park to Drive or Park to Reverse. You may notice a delay or several seconds, or a harshness to the shifting.

2.Erratic Shifting

Another sign of valve body issues, is your car shifting into higher or lower gears at incorrect times. This could be while you are driving uphill and your car shifts into high gear, making the climb more difficult. It could also refer to your car shifting into high or lower gear even though you are driving at a steady speed.

3.Shift Flares

Your transmission is designed to have a slight decrease in RPM when shifting up. If you notice that your transmission RPM is shirting up while you are shifting up gears, there is a valve body problem.


If you notice any knocking or banging sounds when you are accelerating, slowing down, or shifting into Reverse, it is a sign of possible valve body problems. You should not hear any of these types of sounds.

5.Slipping Gears

Slipping gears while you are driving is another sign of a possible issue with the valve body.You might notice that while you are driving, your car may try to upshift, but instead quickly falls into a lower gear. Or your car may not shift at all and this will cause your engine to run at a higher RPM.

6. Check Engine Light

Anytime your car’s check engine light comes on, it is a sign that there is something not working properly. You need to find out what is wrong and get it repaired.

Maybe you can find code P0715, P0751, P0783, P0829, P2707... with the best obd2 scanner, you should have one to find some common error in your car.

Can you repair the valve body?

Repairing versus replacing the valve body is a good question and there are a few schools of thought about it. Certainly, it costs less to repair the valve body than it does to replace it.

The general rule is, if your car currently has 100,000 miles or more, you should replace the valve body. If your car has a lower mileage it may be possible to rebuild the valve body.

If you decide to go ahead and rebuild the valve body, make sure you are dealing with a knowledgeable and reputable transmission shop.

What about replacing the valve body?

If you and your mechanic decide you need a new valve body you still might have a less expensive option. It may be possible to find a remanufactured valve body for your car. If you can find one that matches make, model and year it is a viable option.

If you do need to replace the valve body with a new one, here is what it could cost you. The parts by themselves can cost between $250.00-$500.00. This will also depend on the make and model of your car. The labor will probably cost $150.00 to $350.00 for a few hours of work. These prices will also vary depending on the area you live in.

Final Thoughts

Routine car maintenance will keep your car in top shape and hopefully alert you to any problem before it becomes a major issue.

Since the transmission operates as a major controller of your car, you need to pay special attention to any signs that there may be a problem. Anytime you notice your car is shifting gears oddly or maybe it is making noise, get your car checked. If your car slips gears while driving that is a definite sign that there is a problem.

Most likely you will need to get your valve body replaced. You might have the option to have it rebuilt or you may be able to use a remanufactured one. No matter which option you choose, make sure you are using a knowledgeable and reputable transmission shop.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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2 comments on “Transmission Valve Body Symptoms”

  1. In addition, you could be driving a steady 60 MPH on a level highway and your transmission sporadically shifts into either a higher or lower gear for no reason. Any type of erratic shifting can be a symptom of a bad transmission valve body.

  2. I have a 1976 Chevy c10 with a th350, two things concern me. The first is a hard 1-2 shift and the second is the truck will not roll back at all even when in drive on a steep hill. Interested In your thoughts? If this is a valve body issue can I change it without removing g the transmission from the truck? Thanks.

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