Can a bad alternator really cause transmission problems?

Get this! I took my car to a mechanic this weekend with transmission problems. The car was shifting really rough. You won’t believe this, but he tried to tell me it was … the alternator! So tell me, can a bad alternator really cause transmission problems?

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Answer provided by
Matt Terzi
Answered on Apr 15, 2022
We’re sorry to hear your car is having these uncomfortable rough shifts. But as unbelievable as this is going to sound … yes, your mechanic is actually correct!
Your car’s alternator is basically a small generator that helps pump electricity back into the battery as you drive. If the alternator fails, the battery isn’t getting recharged quickly enough (or, in some cases, at all).
Your car’s automatic transmission uses a computer to help the transmission shift between gears. The car’s battery getting too low has the same effect on the car’s computer as your brain not getting enough oxygen—some miscalculations are going to happen.
The end result here will be rough shifting, the engine stalling out, or the engine downshifting early and rocketing the car forward faster than you expect. The car might just feel jerky when it shifts, too.
If you’ve taken your car to a professional, certified mechanic and they’ve identified the alternator as the culprit for your transmission woes, we’re prone to trust their expert assessment. They should have diagnosed the issue carefully and cleared the usual suspects from the list before concluding it was the alternator, and then tested the alternator to verify the problem.
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