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2000 Subaru Outback--transmission problems?

We have a 2000 Outback with an automatic transmission. For the past few months the check engine light has been on. A trip to the dealer yielded $800 worth of repairs, but the light stayed on. Assuming they’d forgotten to flip the switch or something, we didn’t take it back. Now the car seems to be hesitating to go into second gear, no matter how much pressure is on the gas pedal. Yesterday I also noticed that it is bucking between gears as well. We want to know what to tell the shop to look for before taking it in on Monday. Thanks!

Imagine this: you call the doctor and say, “Doctor, there is some sign that I am sick. Some other doctor did some stuff. Now my foot hurts. What does this mean?” You just posted the equivalent.

How about telling us what the car was doing before? What were the codes associated with the check engine light? What did the dealership actually do?

The codes have the format: P1234 There might be one or two on your invoice in which case you should report them. Of course, you may have more and/or different codes now. If you go to an auto parts chain store (such as Autozone) they will read your codes for free. Write them down and post them.

There’s no way for anyone here to get started with what you’ve asked.

In addition to what cigroller noted, I just have to make the following comments:

The CEL was still illuminated after $800 worth of (unspecified) repairs, and you have not taken the car back to the folks who worked on it? Not a wise decision, IMHO.

The CEL has now been “on” for several months? By now, who knows how many trouble codes might have been stored? You need to have the car’s OBD system scanned (free of charge) at an auto parts retailer. Then, you can come back to this thread and post the specific code(s) for more detailed advice.

The transmission is not upshifting? Have you checked the transmission fluid? If so, what did you find when you checked it?

Also, you have not told us the odometer mileage of the car or its maintenance history–particularly how often the transmission fluid has been changed and when the spark plugs, plug wires, air filter, and fuel filter were last replaced.

Taking a total stab in the dark, I believe that you likely have engine driveability problems and–possibly–transmission problems as well. The start of diagnosis is to get the stored trouble codes for us and to fill in the missing information regarding odometer mileage and maintenance history.

Pardon me. I didn’t bother to list what was done because I didn’t feel the two were at all connected. When we brought it to the dealer we weren’t having this problem. I thought I was fairly specific as to what the current issue is I am asking about.

The car started doing this about two weeks ago; we visited the dealer over 2 months ago. The code for the CEL was P0328.

For the record, according to the invoice, they knocked the sensor code to turn the CEL off, replaced the front and rear brakes, replaced the inner CV boot on the left front wheel and performed a fuel induction service.

Tell the shop to look for the cause of the symptoms you’re experiencing and then describe the symptoms to them as clearly as you can. And don’t forget to tell them everything you’ve told us. Then let the on-site diagnosticians apply their expertise to the problem.

His job is to do the diagnostics, Yours is to refrain from telling him what to fix and to clearly and completely describe the problems.

The odometer reading is 120123. The invoice also lists that they inspected and topped off all fluids. The oil is changed every 3000 miles, give or take a few hundred.

I have no idea when the spark plugs were last replaced or any of the other questions. I can see I’m in over my head in this forum; I’d rather take my chances with the mechanic. Thanks for replying.

I can see I’m in over my head in this forum; I’d rather take my chances with the mechanic.

I would hold off just a little longer. If you don’t understand something just ask. Someone will give you an honest answer.

What we can give you is a little more information so you can gauge if the mechanic is giving you the right story or if he is motivated by an upcoming boat payment.

If someone sounds insulting, don’t worry. They are only making themselves the fool.

Pardon me. I didn’t bother to list what was done because I didn’t feel the two were at all connected

Apparently you do think they’re connected - otherwise why would you have connected the dealership visit with the issue?

Just FYI: when the check engine light comes on, it doesn’t literally mean pop the hood and check the fluids or something. It means that the car’s computer has detected some reading from one of the car’s systems that is out of specification. When it does that it stores a diagnostic trouble code (DTC). So “check engine” really means hook up a scanner and check what error codes are present. These serve as a starting point for diagnosing something that isn’t working correctly.

The P0328 indicates a problem with a knock sensor circuit. Presumably they replaced the knock sensor?

Anyway, I wonder whether you’re thinking that since you’d had the “engine checked” so recently that you should be good to go for a long time - ? Well, things can break or start acting up at any time. So any time you have a check engine light on, its time to get the codes read.

Explain your symptoms and let the mechanic go from there.

You may also be due for a timing belt change (105K recommended) and a full 120K service, too. Read the owner’s manual and sort through what may have already been done and doesn’t need to be duplicate through the 120K service. That would get your vehicle up to date for at least another 30K miles or so, less oil changes and tire rotations.

You need to clearly explain your symptoms and when and how they occur. That is all. Let them diagnose.

Mentioning possibilities(from here) can throw the mechanic astray in their diagnosis if they don’t filter it well.

Good luck.