Can a Weak Battery Cause Transmission Problems?

Can a Weak Battery Cause Transmission Problems

A battery is important to a car as, without it, it will be impossible to start the car. However, the battery gets weak over time and can result in various problems in the car. So, can a weak battery cause transmission problems?

A weak or corroded battery can cause transmission problems because both the transmission and battery are electrical components of a car, therefore, a problem with the battery will likely affect the transmission.

A weak battery will always show signs, it is up to you as a car owner or driver to note these signs and make the necessary repairs.

What is Considered a Weak Battery?

For a battery to be considered weak, it must show some signs pointing to the fact. When a battery starts showing some of the following signs, we say it is weak:

  • A Problem Recharging: One way of recognizing a weak battery is when the alternator stops recharging the battery as it should. If a battery that usually would charge fully and last for a long time suddenly stops recharging then it’s becoming weak and needs a replacement. One reason why a battery will fail to recharge is due to internal wear and tear,
  • Difficulty in Starting the Car: A weak battery will have low-level amps of cranking power. Enough amps and cranking power is required to start a car, but when it is not in the right amount there will be difficulty in starting the car.
  • A Clicking Starter: Another way to classify a battery as weak is when a clicking sound can be heard from the starter when the ignition key is turned. A weak battery will not have enough power to activate the starter solenoid which results in the clicking sound.
  • Having a Dim or Weak Headlight: The battery is responsible for powering other accessories in the car including the headlight. If the light from the headlight isn’t as bright as it used to be then that’s a pointer to a weak battery.

These signs and others are signs that your car battery is weak and a replacement should be in order.

Can a Weak Battery Cause Transmission Problems?

A car’s transmission system is electrically powered just as a battery is an electrical component, although both are not directly connected to one another. So YES, there’s a possibility that a weak battery will cause transmission problems.

When a battery is weak, it doesn’t provide voltage high enough to power the engine and other components, the transmission inclusive.

Some of the problems that can be caused by the transmission are; an incoherent shift in the auto transmission, and the transmission being pushed into a ‘Fail-Safe Mode’.

However, the severity of the battery problem will depend on the car type and model and it will also determine if it will cause a transmission problem.

What other Problems can a Weak Battery Cause?

Apart from transmission problems, a weak battery can cause other problems such as:

1. Inability to Shift Out of Park

For cars that use electronic gear shifters, it will be impossible to send a signal to a module in order to engage the gear if the battery is weak. Because a battery doesn’t provide enough power when weak, it will cause a shifting problem in newer cars.

2. Havoc with the Automatic Start/ Stop System

This often happens when a car is restarting after idling for some time. A car may be stopped for various reasons such as at a traffic light or other places with the aim of saving fuel etc.

At times like this, if the battery is weak the system may refuse to restart. The bad thing about this is that the car can refuse to start in the weirdest of places.

3. Different Warning Lights Coming On

If something is wrong somewhere in the car, you are sure to have warning lights come on in your instrument cluster. This warning light can be accompanied by some systems not functioning including the traction control, cruise control, etc.

4. Some Accessories Develop a Mind of their Own

When the battery is weak, some of the car accessories like the door locks, push-button ignition, power window, power tailgate, etc. begin to malfunction and act out of line.

How Long Before your Battery Becomes Weak?

Battery like every other component of a car grows old and wears out with time. The length of time it takes for a battery to become weak will depend on factors such as; heat, time usage, and vibration.

A new battery in use, all things being equal should be able to last 3 – 5 years before growing weak. The duration is subject to the type of activities the car is used for and the length of distances driven.

The climatic condition of your state of residence plays an important part in the duration of usage before it becomes weak. If you live in a hot and harsh region, your battery will not last as long as that of a person living in a cool region.

The extent of vibration in a car can cause internal parts of a battery to break down, when this happens over time, the battery life is invariably shortened.

What Should You Do to a Weak Car Battery?

Although the best solution for a weak battery is to replace it, there are certain steps that can be taken to keep it useful before replacement.

It is possible to rejuvenate a battery by adding more acid. A way to make a battery more effective is by adding more distilled water and acid.

This method can only be used if your car battery uses lead acid. When topping up, you will be very careful because of the toxic nature of acid.

Jump starting the car is also an option if the battery is not frozen (depending on the climatic condition), however, this is only temporary till a replacement can be gotten.


It will do you a lot of good and save a lot of costs if you carry out car maintenance as and when due. If care is not taken a weak or bad battery can eventually cause your car engine to die while you are driving. In order to avoid this and other problems, you should do the needful.