2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee - Did my mechanic mess up?

Just took her in on Friday to have valve cover and oil pan leaks fixed, and within an hour of picking it up today the automatic transmission won’t get out of 1st gear… rpms rising and can’t exceed about 29 mph. Straight 6 engine. Any chance the mechanic messed something up, like a throttle cable or something, or is this just terrible karma?

Definitely a possibility. Take it back to him for a look-see. It’s possible that he forgot to reconnect something simple. lots of stuff gets disconnected sometimes in doing these jobs.

Right on. Thanks. That’s the plan. Just hope they can fix whatever got knocked loose… I actually need the darn thing or I wouldn’t be paying to have it fixed!

Let us know how you make out. Perhaps we can learn something we can put in our mental toolboxes for future reference.

Check the transmission fluid before you drive it again.

Is your check engine light illuminated, by chance?

No, but a malfunction light is… wasn’t planning to drive it though, as it won’t get out of 1st gear… have to have it towed about 16 miles… sigh.

So, took it back in today and their initial response is that a solenoid is not working properly which has put the transmission into “limp mode”. Mechanic is saying this is a problem that is electrical in nature, which makes it sound to me like he’s saying that it could not have been caused by the valve cover and oil pan leaks repair… Thoughts? Thanks.

Modern auto’s have some electrically operated solenoids to help effect the gear shifts and the do on occasion fail. So it could be a coincidence this happened now. Or it could be a connector they had to remove for the valve cover or oil pan still hasn’t been reconnected. Or it could be that the ECM was damaged during the repair, for example if the did it with the battery connected and accidentally shorted something out with their wrench. You say you have a malfunction code. Tell us more about this. Have you had the DTC codes read out?

Thanks for the insight. I just had a malfunction light on… didn’t get the codes read out. Just took it back to the guys who did the oil leak repair, and they called back today to say it is in limp mode… and I now assume they are running the diagnostics on the code(s) they are getting back in order to ascertain what triggered limp mode. I’m just concerned that I won’t be able to tell if they did what triggered this or not… guess it doesn’t matter. If they don’t want to own up to it either way they won’t…

You need to get the codes read and report them if you want help. “Check engine light” is as generic as the true generic term “malfunction indicator light” (MIL). What the dash specifically says varies. (“check engine” / “service engine” , all sorts of little symbols and such) It all means the same thing - which is that there’s no point in speculating about anything until you have error codes. If the shop didn’t actually read the codes, then they’re talking garbage because they probably have no earthly idea what the problem is.

Your transmission might be in “limp mode,” by the way, from a problem that isn’t truly a “transmission” problem. Lots of peripherals involved in the electronically controlled transmission.

Understood, and thanks. Not really looking for help at this point, as I’ve clearly failed to gather the proper information. Will know better next time, I suppose.

When you talk to them again ask them for the specific error codes (format “P0123”). If you put those up and tell people what they said and did then comment on how likely a coincidence is would be possible. At the very least you may end up with some idea of whether to trust the shop or not.