Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Saturn, Transmission Won't Make Up Its Mind!
Q: I have a '91 Saturn.
I bought it a year ago and LOVE it... I had to replace the alternator
but other than that it has been a great car. With one exception. About
two months ago I started having a problem with the automatic transmission.
At times it will not shift and I can hear the engine working harder. This
does not happen all the time and does not seem to be weather or temperature
related. I have tried coaxing the transmission into shifting by letting
up on the gas for a few moments and then slowly accelerating. It really
is dangerous when trying to merge onto a highway and I can't get up to
65 MPH because it won't shift. I've checked the transmission fluid level
and it's fine. Could it possibly just need a filter change or is there
something more sinister happening in there? I am a woman and don't want
to get ripped off by a mechanic because I don't know a whole lot about
you have any idea when the automatic transmission was last serviced? With
a complaint such as yours I would recommend a complete transmission service.
This would include, flushing the transmission, torque converter, transmission
cooler lines and the transmission cooler of its old oil, followed by the
installation of a new transmission filter. According to the Automatic
Transmission Rebuilders Association, over 16 million transmissions fail
each year. Surprisingly, 90% of these failures are due to transmission
oil neglect. Your vehicle doesn't have to be a motor home or pulling a
trailer to overheat the transmission fluid. Even stop and go traffic can
overheat and damage transmission oil. Old, or overheated, transmission
oil will cause transmission shifting problems. If left unattended this
can result in a transmission failure. A little maintenance now could save
you a whole lot of money later.