Chevy Colorado Transmission Shudder (Solved)

Your Chevrolet Colorado’s transmission may be experiencing an occasional or frequent vibration which can be mild or aggressive.

Be assured that this is a common Chevy Colorado problem with easy fixes.

Read further to find out what causes the dreaded Chevy Colorado transmission shudder as well as how to get rid of it.

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What Causes a Chevrolet Colorado Transmission Shudder?

A common reason for the Chevy Colorado transmission shudder is bad transmission fluid. The depletion of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) ATF (auto transmission fluid) additives may also have a role to play.

The ability of the transmission’s lockup torque converter to transfer torque smoothly will decline the more you use the vehicle. This can cause torque converter shuddering.

Another possibility could be a broken piston seal which makes clutches get inadequate pressure and slip. Low transmission fluid levels can be the source of the problem as well.

Shudder problems can be fluid-related or mechanically-related based on the aforementioned reasons. Keep in mind that vibrations triggered by broken piston seals may be a factory defect.

Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that what you are experiencing is due to larger truck tire sizes or rough road surfaces. Although tire problems are also known to make, vehicles shudder during acceleration.

Driving with A Transmission that Is Vibrating

You will most likely feel your Chevrolet Colorado’s transmission shuddering when driving at steady or high speeds. Chevy Colorado vehicles are known to shake at speeds between 50mph-70mph.

Expect rough shifts to happen when changing gears. Although this occurs in rare cases of shuddering. The following are the possible suspicions you may have while driving and feeling the shudder:

  • Vibrations brought about by a bad transmission fluid can give the impression of an engine running on gas that contains water.
  • It may seem like there is a serious engine misfire.
  • You might mistake the problem for a front shock defect.
  • The noise being produced could be like the sound that car tires make when they roll past rumble strips.

The occasional shudder can be unsettling or annoying, making you want to take the vehicle to the dealership or an auto repair shop ASAP. It is advisable to do so without delay.

You, your truck, and the vehicles near yours may be at risk depending on the severity of the problem. Driving in such a condition can lead to a damaged torque converter.

The more you drive, the more damage the transmission will sustain. The risk also extends to other vehicle units.

Little pieces of metal will begin to chip off the transmission and contaminate your coolant when the unit begins to slip.

The more you let the transmission slip, the more contaminants that will spread inside it.

How to Stop a Transmission Shaking

The repairer will do a torque converter replacement, total transmission fluid flush and/or refill, or piston seal change once the source of the problem has been properly diagnosed.

The fix could be a combination of a fluid swap and mechanical repair.

Fluid replacement alone may not work 100% of the time, and the problem may return after a few weeks.

You will need to start looking into a possible mechanical fault. Keep in mind your truck’s transmission fixes may be covered by a warranty.

Change your Chevrolet Colorado’s transmission fluid every 45,000 miles if you want the unit to last very long. Ensure that you use the right type of fluid for the transmission model.

For example; Dexron VI is the appropriate fluid for the following transmission models:

  • 8L45
  • 6L50
  • 4L60-E

Note: I have elaborated on Chevy Colorado’s transmission types in the FAQs section.

Adding Transmission Fluid Additives

Using a standard quality transmission fluid additive, you can make the vibrations milder and infrequent.

It will make the situation manageable for a long time until a lasting solution is implemented.

The application of additives should only be considered as a temporary solution.

Transmission fluid additives can also work as preventive measures to replace depleting OEM additives and protect your torque converter as the transmission ages. They help maintain optimal friction as you drive.

It is easy to apply the additives DIY style. Just look for the transmission dipstick or fluid fill port and use a funnel to pour the liquid into the transmission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Transmission Does the Chevy Colorado Use?

Chevrolet Colorado trucks from 2003 to 2012 used a 4-speed 4L60-E automatic and a 5-speed Aisin AR-5 manual. The ones from 2012 to 2022 use an 8-speed 8L45 automatic, a 6-speed 6L50 automatic, and a 6-speed Eaton N8D manual.

How Long Does a Chevy Colorado Transmission Last?

The average lifespan of the Chevy Colorado 8L45, 4L60-E, or 6L50 transmissions is 130,000 miles to 180,000 miles. But the 8L45 and 6L50 are prone to premature wear, so they may not last for more than 100,000 miles before needing to be swapped. The Eaton N8D, 4L60-E, and Aisin AR-5 can last for up to 280,000 miles if well maintained.

Is It Safe to Drive with Transmission Shudder?

It isn’t safe to drive with a Chevy Colorado transmission shudder in any situation. The best thing to do is to stop operating your truck and call a tow service to help you take it to your dealership or an auto repair shop.

What Causes Shuddering when Accelerating?

Tire problem is the most common origin of vehicle shuddering when accelerating. It can be a misalignment, imbalance, or poor installation.


As stated earlier, a Chevy Colorado transmission shudder is an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked for a long time.

Try to resolve the problem as soon as it is noticed with the “how to” tips I gave earlier.

An occasional and mild vibration can become a frequent and aggressive shudder. Other faults may arise from the neglect of this defect.

And that means more money down the drain, especially if a warranty doesn’t cover the repair.