Skip to content


Free Shipping on Orders greater than $80.00
Free Shipping. $80.00 and greater.
What are friction discs?

The Importance of Friction Discs in Automatic Transmission Maintenance

It’s something a lot of us have become used to:  driving down the road without giving a thought to shifting gears, all thanks to the engineering genius of the automatic transmission.

But for something we don’t give much thought to, automatic transmission is a complex piece of machinery.  Its many parts—torque converter, planetary gear set, shaft, piston, and the rest—come together to make the magic happen.  But where do the friction plates come in?

What are friction discs?

Friction discs are one of two types of rings found in an automatic transmission’s clutch pack.  The other type, steel discs, are their partners.

Prompted by hydraulic pressure, the piston squeezes and opens the disc pairs, which helps regulate the transfer of power between the engine and the wheels. 

The in-and-out exchange between the two types of discs is what allows automatic transmissions to shift between gears smoothly.   

Disc lifespans are usually long, assuming the vehicle has been on a regular maintenance schedule.

Possible damages to friction discs and their consequences

Discs do occasionally wear out, though, usually only after many years of service.  With the constant application of friction, the outer layer of the discs is gradually worn away, leaving a metal-on-metal scenario between friction and steel discs.  

The initial result be in the form of gear slippage, hard jerking shifts, stuck gears, or increased RPMs without acceleration.  

Eventually, you’ll notice a burning smell because of overheating.  It’s at this point that your transmission may already have suffered serious damage.

An Easy Fix

It’s generally accepted among mechanics that the number one cause of transmission damage is failure to maintain an adequate supply of clean transmission fluid. 

Although the fluid lubricates other parts of the transmission system, it’s especially important for keeping the friction discs from wearing down. 

When there isn’t enough fluid, or if it’s dirty, you’re apt to have problems on several fronts. 

The good news is, it’s easy to avoid:  regularly check your fluid.   Replacing friction gears can be costly, especially if the entire clutch assembly itself needs to be replaced; you don’t want to go there!

A Source for Transmission Solutions

If your transmission needs a little TLC, let Sun Transmissions help.  We’re here to provide you with parts, accessories, whatever you need to keep your vehicle healthy, including a full line of automatic transmission clutc, solenoid partspower steering components, transmission rebuild kit, transmission pan gasket and more.  Come see us in Miami or order online—we’ll be happy to ship to you wherever you are.

Previous article Is it Safe to Drive a Car with a Slipping Transmission?
Next article The Dangers of Transmission Overheating

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare