How to Tell if Your Automatic Transmission is Bad

How to Tell if Your Automatic Transmission is Bad

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 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!

About the Author: Michael Flood


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  2. I have a 93 Buick lesabre. The fluid was burnt and bad so I sucked a gallon out of the dipstick tube and replaced it with Lucas and more fluid. Now it's whining like a horible powerstering pump issue, not wanting to switch gears and just running bad. Could it be a clogged trans filter or is it probably screwed?? Lol. Worth a shot.

  3. I have a 2015 Nissan Sentra. It has an intermittent problem with it going into "Limp Mode" (car will only go 20 miles per hour). There is no check engine light making it difficult to diagnose. Autozone found no codes. It has moisture in the right rear tail light. On another forum someone had the same symptoms and found that the moisture in the taillight was causing the car to believe that the brake was on (not sure what signals causes that and how to set up an OBD to monitor for it while driving such as the FIXD that is advertised or some other software). Any help would be appreciated.

  4. Hi Scotty! what are the signs on a CVT before fail. I have a Nissan X-Trail 2011. Thank you very much!

  5. Scotty I have a 2015 Ford Eco Sport and l'm having a problem with starting the car. It drives like new but the car has been towed 4 times because at times the ignition button can't get power.

  6. Question
    I am able to turn my rear wheels when it’s lifted on a jack but when I lowered it Down i can’t seem to push it back when it’s in neutral like the rear wheels are locked, can it be the rear end is bad or transmission

  7. Hi Sir , my Chevrolet Cruze ltz automatic transmission fault code P0990 how to solve this issue plz help

  8. I found out that my transmission Pump is about to fail, but i don't want to rebuild the transmission (isnt worth it on a 2005 car). What can i do to extent the lifespan of my pump? I already did 2x drop the pan and changed the fluid and i changed the filter. Would be very happy if anybody could tell me if that is all i can do or could give me an additional advice 🙂

  9. My car keeps going into something called limp and and Everytime I stop the engine will rev but won't move right away really need help still making payments so can't just junk it

  10. I had my head gasket done. $2500. All that had to be done was an ignition coil🙄 N that was my Toyota 4 runner at the dealership where they bull shitted me😡😡😡

  11. P0704 code . 02 hyndai sanata lx v6 Nothing else. Dash reads that it is in park also reverse but it's not. The major issue is that it will not go into drive it had no signs of failure but now it just won't move forward lol. I don't think transmission is bad but I could be wrong. Any tips would be helpful Im stuck I'm a mechanic but this one has me stumped . Thanks keep up good work your super helpful 👍

  12. Scotty my 2002 audi a4s turn signals dont work but the hazards work fine i replaced the fuse and hazard relay still nothing

  13. I bought a used 2013 Honda civic and it has 90 thousand kilometers on it, and I said before I start using the car I'll do some maintenance to it, and I changed the transmission fluid and filter at the dealership, but now I'm really afraid, the transmission is acting up on me, when I put it in reverse it takes time to shift and there is a clicking sound, and the same thing happens when I put it in drive, and also when I'm driving the transmission has like a hesitation, like it was surprised that I'm stepping on the gas.
    Please if you know what's going on please let me know because I'm freaking out I just bought the car.
    And I'm wondering why a good step from me to change the fluid would cause a problem, even at this relatively low kilometres (only 90 thousand kilometers).

  14. I just replaced my transmission too… It had 180,000 miles and was really haywire… after a little research The average lifespan of my transmission was 100,000 miles…😱 so far it's been running pretty smooth, but if it starts acting up again, I will check into this…Yes, if 2 or 3 different people say the same thing, it's probably true… Always get a second or third opinion if you don't trust your mechanic or have a mechanic that does regular work on your vehicles…

  15. Thumbnail: has a picture of an automatic transmission in manual mode.

    Scotty: makes no mention of it.

    Bottom line: I have no idea how to determine if there’s a problem lmao. All I got from the vid is that I need a second opinion and that if you think it’s tranny problem it may be something else. Cool.

  16. Scotty I just ran in to ur channel n I like. You I been looking at a lot of ur video ur r so helpfully plus u like teaching n thats hard to find .. I would love to send my cars to u old n new I have a few but u in taxes n im in L.A. o.c County.. Do u have somone here in la or oc thats honest like u that I can take my cars too.plz help . I really like u bro u straight up ….

  17. I want to let you know I was watching this because my honda odysseys transmission has been going out there no way I could afford to fix it and because of the recall information you just saved my life thank you so much!!!!!

  18. Had a weird problem the other morning where I started the car and put it in reverse but when I put it in drive it just started reviving. I was stuck behind other cars so I just tried restarting it and it went into gear this time but the check engine light came on.

    So is my transmission going out or low on fluid? Tempted to trade it in

  19. My 1999 Toyota Camry had a transmission failure a few weeks ago. I changed the fluid out and got it back on the road, but it slips from time to time. Will it survive without major expensive repair?

  20. I love my Toyota but a couple months ago I was getting a vibration problem. I did some research and it was a faulty torque converter. The dealership fixed it for free. As a bonus the had to get into the transmission so I got a free transmission fluid change.

  21. I have a 2006 Nissan Sunny overdrive light flash 16 times at startup what does that mean then goes off

  22. ok i've watched this guy a hundred times before and i love his vids , but is it just me or did he have a little to much in hes gas tank today ,,lol,,

  23. I was driving my car and all of a sudden my car did something like a hard shift so I pulled over because it was no longer acelerating and when I put in drive or reverse it wouldn't move at all only the rpms went up. Didn't feel shift when I put in gear. I checked oil level and they are and no burning smell or leaks. This happen all of a sudden. No engine light either. Please help I'm lost!!!!!

  24. The 8-speed AT from Toyota lunges and jerks at a Stop and Go !!! My 2019 Rav4 does it ONLY went coming to a Stop and Go. It's annoying and hopeful NOT a LT premature issue. It this AT BAD ???

  25. My 2008 Dodge Caravan Just Started Doing This Today.. Jumped In 3rd
    Then 15 min Later Jumped In 1st
    Please Help!

  26. I have a 1995 Chevy Silverado and when I put it in d it stays in 3rd gear how can I fix it it doesn’t shift

  27. Have people ever said to you that your voice reminds them of Rod Stewart? Also, can you sing like Rod Stewart?

  28. No wonder our Passport still has transmission issues after it was rebuilt… I wish my dad actually took mechanic stuff like this seriously

  29. Hey Scotty, do you have any idea what could be happening to my car? It’s a 2012 Nissan Versa, 78,000+ miles. Sometimes and I say sometimes when I shift with the automatic transmission, especially on a hill. The shift from park to drive feels super clunky. I really have to put some nudge into it to shift. Is it lubrication thing, stop leak product. I want to get an honest answer without going to a mechanic, if possible. Thanks

  30. I got an old 94 k2500, 4l80e and the transmission stopped shifting. I got lucky with the guy I took it to. Completely honest, it just needed some aging electric components replaced, wiring harness connections cleaned up and an ecu reprogrammed. Only about $500. I was expecting a complete rebuild. Took five weeks to get it diagnosed and fixed though.

  31. Can you do a video of when car starts to sputter and possible causes? My car does this thing when I idle for too long or when I use my AC or heater my car starts to sputter like crazy. I have a good battery 2 too. Also I've had several "fixes "of this problem in the past and none of them worked. On top of it all it doesn't seem to do this during the winter months

  32. Autozone says they provide free car scanning. But when i asked them for it, the staffs took out some tiny little cheap code reader, probably about $20. Of course, it only detected minor issue.

  33. Hi,

    I have a BMW 325ci 2001. The issue is that sometimes when putting the transmission stick on D , R, or P, the light that is next to the stick blinks (intermittently). Do you know the possible reason for this? Is it the light bulb itself or the issue with transmission? or transmission fluid change?


  34. They're all starting to go out. It's just a matter of time. All slush boxes are junk. Be a man, drive a stick shift, learn how to use a clutch and live happily ever after for 3 or 4 hundred thousand miles.

  35. I'm just going brag, my 2004 dodge ram 1500 with hemi it almost have 300th miles on it still run strong. I guess my ram was built by scotty Toyota. Lmao

  36. 0:39. I can relate 100% on my 2002 bmw 3series it has a miss fire thats causing all sorts of problems I believe its like called "limp mode".

  37. There are a lot of incompetent “mechanics” out there, for sure. That’s why I never let anyone else touch my vehicles.

  38. even a simple transmission fluid change can work wonders. I have a 2007 Saturn Outlook(It's the 6T75E that's in the Lambda style SUV's). The transmission had a 1st in 2nd gear SHIFT solenoid "Going bad". When this would happen the computer would cause the transmission to stick in 2nd gear so I'd have to pull over, turn off the car, restart it and then it was fine. It slipped on me 3 times in a year but it would take months for it to do it. Thanks to a youtube video showing the same symptoms being relieved with a fluid change I changed the fluid and it never happened again. People are sending their cars in for this repair causing the transmission to have to be rebuilt because the solenoids are inside the transmission when a $20.00 home fluid change fixes it.

  39. Hmmm, your not a simple mech Scotty. Mech only knows what he's been shown told or experienced. Trouble shooters understand how it truly functions and the symbiotic relationship between the diff systems and within it's own op system. Like the guys that keep charging you every year for me o2 sensors every year or 6 months. o2 sensors will last 100k miles on a properly running and maintained vehicle if a sensor or unit keeps going bad it's not that part, money grubber non thinker, you hv 12 or more sensors that are all part of the o2 sensors system. Check somewhere else you freak! Simple multi meter will find prob 90% of time. These guys are known as r&r guys to me or parts pullers. You repeat offender by 3x, vehicle should be looked at by your shop TS trouble shooter. You are the TS guy aren't you Scotty?

  40. Damn! 2k-4k fix from another so called ASE certified mechanic in one or more cats and didn't get fixed! I would hv went back and beat someone's azz for that! You fixed it for bout $100 plus your hourly rate? Umm I hope you said something to somebody or posted something my man. I have relatives in Houston and Dallas I live in SA so we're always up there. I don't want them working on no one's shyte I know. Woooooo!

  41. Hey Scotty, I have a 1996 Jeep Cherokee and all of a sudden it only moves in the lowest gear and reverse. Bad solenoid, limp mode, or a bad tranny (hopefully not)? I changed the transmission filter and tranny fluid to no avail. And no Check engine codes, have also had the speed sensor and crank sensor replaced. Please help 🙂

  42. Scotty idk if you'll see this comment but I need help. I have an 08 Acura tl 5 speed auto with 49,000 original miles. I changed all the mounts sometime last year with original mounts. For some reason when shifting into reverse and drive there is a clunk and the engine moves. It looks like the engine tilts towards the radiator. What can cause this?

  43. I know honda accord transmissions are trash, so what would be a good swap for a 2000 honda accord with a j30a1? I don't plan on keeping the car for forever but just incase I do what would be a good replacement?.. auto or manual doesn't matter!

  44. I have a 2006 Honda Accord with 225k miles (bought in 2008 with 17k miles from Enterprise). It still runs relatively well, religiously changed oil. I've seen 2 videos where Scotty mentions transmission problems with Hondas (the other one specifically mentioned 2005-2010 Accord's). Honda has done 2 recalls with my car. One was a transmission software issue, the other was the air bag recall. My car is a little sluggish now, with slower shifting/acceleration. Any idea how to check if my car is covered by the transmission recall?

  45. I have a 20yr/200k powertrain warranty. Had them take a look recently cause the trans was slipping or shifting jerky when accelrating slowly. They recommended and did a fluid change and adaptive learning reset. Cost $200. Ok, fine. but 6wks later and its doing it again. 130k on the vehicle. Maintenance done properly since new. Glad I watched this vid. Going to read the computer with a cheap reader next!!

  46. I recently changed my transmission fluid and every morning when I make a left it slips but the for the rest of the day, it shifts smoothly. SOMEONE HELP

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