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How to Tell if Your Automatic Transmission is Bad



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rev up your engines, today I'm gonna talk about a very important problem, how to

tell if your automatic transmission is actually starting to go out, now the

automatic transmissions in most modern cars are very complex, they're computer

run, most don't even have dip sticks to check the fluid level, so how do you know

when they're starting to go out, now years ago I had a customer who came to me

from a different mechanic, the other mechanic had replaced the transmission

in his car, but it still had the same problem, at higher speeds the

transmission would drop out of top gear and go to the next lower gear, and it

wasn't shifting right, he thought it was the transmission so he replaced it and

guess what, it did the same thing, so when he brought it to me I first did a scan

of the whole vehicle, turns out that he had a misfire, all he had was a bad

ignition coil on one of the cylinders of the engine, and you might think hey what

is a bad spark plug coil have to do with the transmission shifting, well modern

cars are very complex, they have a really tight relationship between the engine

and the transmission and the drivetrain, it's all monitored by computer sensors

and in this particular vehicle, when it senses a misfire, the computer software

automatically takes it out of the top gear which was an overdrive gear and

puts it into the next one, it's designed to do that, so in this case previous

mechanic charged this guy for a new transmission, when all's it needed was an

$80.00 ignition coil that was the whole problem, now you don't want to pay for

such an unneeded expensive repair it was thousands of dollars, so I'm going to

show you how you can tell if your transmission really is starting to go

out, now in the beginning of this video I showed you the scan tool and it showed a

code of P0730, I hooked it up to this van, right away you know, ok it's got a

problem in the transmission, now unfortunately there's over a dozen

different things that can cause this particular code, that's when you got to

use your brain and also use the internet to see what this particular vehicle has

a problem with, because we know it's a transmission problem because P0730 is

gear ratio incorrect inside the transmission

but we don't know what exactly is causing this code, now this particular

code, correct gear ratio, it could be a whole bunch of different things

sometimes it's as small of a thing as the fluid is dirty or the filters clogged up

but from my experience with many makes and models, when you get an incorrect

gear ratio code, especially with ones that are known for having problems, it

means that the transmission itself is going out and it needs a full rebuild

now nowadays with modern complex automatic transmission, you're talking

about thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars, and from my

research one out of every three automatic transmissions in a modern car

that's rebuilt at one of these transmission shops, isn't fixed right the

first time, it has to be done over and sometimes even over again, so it's something

that most people don't want to get involved with, so let's say it's

running halfway decently, maybe shifts a little bit weird here and there, well at

least with this code reader, we could tell there is a transmission problem and

if you have a mechanic check your fluid, which you can't check yourself anymore

because they don't have dipsticks, and it's not low on fluid and you can't

find other problems with the scan tool, it's probably a good idea to just get

rid of your vehicle rather than spend all that money fixing the transmission

but as I said, you still want to use the Internet

because modern cars have such complex automatic transmissions, they shift often

mainly through software and sometimes the software is just bad and it needs

upgrading, so the Internet can help you here

I'm using the National Highway and Traffic Association, whatever it stands

for, you can look up recalls, known TSB problems, years ago I had a customer with

a Honda Odyssey, they're known for bad transmissions, and Honda had kind of a

secret warranty on them, I looked it up for the customer, printed it out for him,

then they went to the Honda dealer and guess what, they got a brand new

transmission absolutely free, Hondas always were a

bit weak on their automatic transmissions but on the odyssey's they were absolute

garbage and they knew it, and so I have seen numerous people get free automatic

transmissions put in them by Honda, when they looked up this information and

found out, hey it's a known problem, complain to the dealer, they got free

transmissions, now me I'd never want to get involved in any of that nonsense in

the first place, I mean I'd buy a Toyota and not worry about the automatic

transmission, but when you realize there's this kind of information out

there on the Internet, take advantage of it, just go to NHTSA.gov

and it's not just one way it's two way, you can complain there and when

they get enough complaints, say a faulty transmission in any particular vehicle

they will have an investigation on it and that often leads to a recall, so

don't be silent, tell the world about your problem and you might really be

surprised at what might happen, now I've been warning people about buying certain

types of transmissions for years, but I can't reach everyone, with the ability to

use your phone and look up such information, it's really good place to start

if you think you're starting to have transmission problems, cuz in my

grandfather's day and he was a mechanic, hey he wasn't an automatic transmission

mechanic he'd even say about them that every time somebody brings in a

transmission they try to sell them a full rebuild to make some money, all the

more knowledge you can get yourself, the harder it's gonna be for people to rip you

off, because realize hey, go into a shoe store, put on a pair of shoes, what's

the salesman gonna say, oh they look great on you, go to a transmission shop and say

I think my transmission is going out, odds are

they're gonna say, oh yeah it is it needs a full rebuild, maybe it does but maybe

it doesn't, you want as much information possible and even if you're not going to

do any of the work yourself or even have a scan tool, at least go out and get

estimates from different places to see what they say, because if it's a real

transmission problem, all the honest guys are going to give you the same diagnosis,

where if you keep getting different diagnosis from different places, then you

should start wondering, hey is it really a transmission problem or is it

something else, because even though I've been working on cars for 51 years,

decades ago I could just get in a car and drive it around, I could tell how it

shifted and see whether the transmission had a problem or not just by driving it

and feeling how it goes, but with these modern computer-controlled transmissions,

even I can't figure that out with my head alone, loose

connection on a sensor or even worse some fool decided to go under the hood

of their car and pressure clean everything and then they got water and

it infiltrated into all the connectors and the transmissions have a bunch of

electronic connectors on them, I've seen that make them go bad, had not to do with

the transmission itself, it was that all the electronics have gotten wet, so now you

know, yeah people certainly can be squirrely inside, but modern automatic

transmissions with all their computer controls, hey they can get pretty

squirrelly too, so if you think you're having a problem, you have to follow all

these logical steps and I just showed, so you'll understand what's really going on,

whether you have a serious transmission problem, one that maybe you'll get rid of

the car rather than put thousands and thousands in, or there's something really

stupid like that old customer of mine that had a transmission replaced, but

when I looked at the car all I get to do is replace one ignition coil and that

fix the whole shifting problem, they're complex so you have to learn how to deal

with that complexity the right way, so if you never want to miss another one of my

new car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell!