Automatic Transmission FAQ

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Q. I have an automatic transmission, when I put it in gear nothing happens every gear is like neutral.

 

A. First check your transmission fluid level and condition. If the level is low fill it to the proper level indicated on the dip stick and try putting the vehicle in gear again if nothing happens have a friend help you check that the shift linkage on the transmission is moving when you move the shifter. If it moves you have an internal transmission problem and need to find a reputable transmission repair facility in your area work on your vehicle to either repair or replace your transmission..

 

Q. My transmission just got serviced about 3 days ago. Now it won’t shift until it goes over 30 m.p.h. and won’t go in reverse. Also when my transmission got serviced I was told it was really burnt but there were no metal shavings. Explain that.

 

A. If your oil is really burnt & you go ahead and change it, sometimes the new oil stirs up a lot of contamination in the transmission, which might cause shift problems. The problem was already there. It just needed you to do something for it to show itself. Ask the tech if apart from the oil being burnt was there anything in the bottom of the pan, like clutch particles or metal particles. A good way to see these particles is in direct sunlight. You should call the shop that performed your transmission service and explain your problems; they should invite you back and double-check their work. An improperly installed or cracked transmission filter could cause slipping and erratic shifting concerns. If the service was done right you more than likely need a transmission repair or to replace the transmission.

 

Q. My car seems like it’s stuck in first gear. It’s an automatic. What do I do?

 

A. First, how many miles are on your car? Second, have you ever serviced the transmission? Start by checking the fluid. Is it clean or burnt? Cherry red is clean and brown is burnt.
Next, check the adjustment of the kick down cable. Next have the governor check by a transmission technician. If no problems are found you may need to have the transmission repaired or replaced.

 

Q. My transmission just got serviced about 3 days ago. Now it won’t shift until it goes over 30 m.p.h. and won’t go in reverse. Also when my transmission got serviced I was told it was really burnt but there was no metal shaving. Explain that.

 

A. If your oil is really burnt & you go ahead and change it, sometimes the new oil stirs up a lot of contamination in the transmission, which might cause shift problems. The problem was already there. It just needed you to do something for it to show itself. Ask the tech if apart from the oil being burnt was there anything in the bottom of the pan, like clutch particles or metal particles. A good way to see these particles is in direct sunlight. You should call the shop that performed your transmission service and explain your problems; they should invite you back and double-check their work. An improperly installed or cracked transmission filter could cause slipping and erratic shifting concerns. If the service was done right you more than likely need a transmission repair or to replace the transmission.

 

Q. My transmission has been shifting down to 3rd after about 10-15 miles. I had the filter changed, but it is doing it again. What’s wrong with it?

 

A. You need to have a transmission repair facility road test your vehicle and scan the computer for any transmission diagnostic trouble codes. It sounds like your transmission is going in to what we call limp mode, 3rd gear only. The transmission computer detects a problem in the transmission 3 consecutive times and puts the vehicle into limp mode or safety mode. Depending upon the reason or code that is found it may be a small problem or a large one. It just depends on what the problem is. Most transmission repair facilities perform this check out for free as we do, but if your local shop doesn’t, call around and you will find someone who will.

 

Q. I was driving my car and everything was fine. I stopped at restaurant for lunch and when I went to leave my car would not go at all. I tried reverse, first and nothing. Then I tried drive and the same thing happened. What do I need to do?

 

A. Check your transmission fluid. It may be low. If it is not low you may need a service/flush. You could change the fluid but remember that the torque converter will need to be flushed out as well as the rest of the fluid. Your local transmission shop should be able to help you out with this. If you find signs of debris in the transmission pan during the service your will need to have the transmission repaired or replaced.

Q. My check transmission light came on. I just went over 100,000 miles on this car. What does that mean? Do I need a transmission?

 

A. The first thing you should do is to check the fluid level. Pay attention to the color and smell of the fluid. Cherry red is good. Brown is bad. If the fluid is low or brown, service the fluid and filter first then test-drive the car. Transmissions like fresh fluid and filters. I’m not too excited about synthetic fluid, unless the manufacturer calls for it. If the problem continues you’ll want to have a professional scan the computer for transmission codes. The result of the scan will determine the direction you’ll need to take from there.

 

Q. I changed my transmission fluid about 3 months ago, and I checked it the other day and it is a brownish red color. I know it’s dirty, and I know you’re not supposed to change it every 3 months. Could you tell me what it is?

 

A. You will only get 1/4 to 1/2 of the fluid from a transmission when you service it because you generally cannot drain the torque converter. This is where transmission flushes make the difference. If the fluid was very dirty to start, it contaminated the new fluid. It will not hurt to change it several times or have it professionally flushed. I do not like and use the synthetic fluids unless recommended by the manufacturer. They cost nearly 5 times as much and if you regularly service your transmission the fluid doesn’t have time to breakdown. Save the money and spend it on your next service.

 

Q. My transmission will slip sometimes, but if I drive for a long time, it will jump and bang when it shifts. What could I check to fix this problem?

 

A. I hope you mean harsh shifts. This is most likely caused by the PCM seeing the slipping and it trying to save the trans by raising line pressure. Have our technicians at Paul’s Transmission scan the vehicle’s computer for codes and proceed from there.

 

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