2006 Ford Freestyle AWD - wrench indicator light on/off - possible throttle body or trans or sensors problem?

New to forum. About 2 or 3 weeks after spending 2K on front end and tires, the wrench indicator light on my 2006 Ford Freestyle AWD started coming on sometimes when i start the car or when I’m driving.


  • reverse did not engage twice
  • trans or throttle body appeared to flutter once for 1 second while driving
  • when wrench light is on after starting the car, shifting from park to R or D felt jolting

If the wrench light comes on after startup or driving, i will shut the car down and wait a minute then restart until the wrench light goes out. As long as the light is off the car will run and drive normally.

I’m suspecting either the throttle body or sensor problems. I’m not convinced it the transaxle.

any advise would be helpful.


I can’t speak for a Ford…but on my other cars the “wrench” light means it’s time for scheduled maintenance. Such as oil changes, etc.

If your reverse isn’t engaging that would point to a transmission problem, hopefully just low on fluid. But I wouldn’t think that wrench light would point to a transmission problem.

Do check your manual.

sorry, i accidentally submitted the post before i finished it. i added more.

i did check the manual and it said it may be fluid levels or transaxle issue. i took it to my local repair shop because while trying to check the fluid level, i found the dip stick stuck and ended up breaking the handle. they replaced the dip stick and said the fluid level was good. i will check it myself to be sure.

The wrench symbol indicates a fault has been detected, you will need to read the faults in the Powertrain control module and the Transmission control module.

would i be better off going to a Ford dealer or would a good independent trans shop do for a diagnosis and code read?

I did talk to AutoLab and they would do a complete diagnostic and code read for about $100.

On a 2006 model anything, I’d take it to a local transmission shop first.

The dealer will be a lot more expensive. And likely want to replace the transmission first instead of repairing it.

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Since your vehicle seems to be having a transmission problem a transmission shop may be better for seeking a repair estimate.

The vehicle has a CVT, might be the end of this vehicle’s service life.

What is a CVT?

A different type of transmission than the usual automatic. Uses bands instead of actual drive gears, as I understand it.

CVT =continuously variable transmission

While CVT’s have a lot of benefits, they are also suspect for not having long life

Find an independent transmission shop for them to check it out

Ok thanks.

I will take it to my local trans shop for a code read and diagnosis. The car is a 2006. I really don’t want to spend a lot of money to fix it but If they tell me i need to fix or replace the trans and it costs more than 2K, I’ll be looking for a newer car.

I will keep you all posted.


For what it’s worth, any automatic transmission should be serviced every 30 to 35k miles and probably even more often based on locale (mountains, extreme heat, etc) and whether or not towing is involved.

This is even more critical with CVTs.

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I talked to a transmission shop. he said considering the age of the car (15 yrs old), he didn’t feel right taking my money to replace the trans or try possible fixes. he said he’s see too many situations where they fix or replace one thing only to discover it didn’t work or for something else to goes wrong after a short time. he suggested i look for a newer car.

But i’m still wondering if its worth at least spending approx. $100 to get a full diagnostic done or get the CVT fluid changed as a last ditch effort?

i checked the fluid level and it appears full although i did see what appeared to be a few bubbles in the fluid on the dip stick and wondered if it could that be water.

I was hoping to get the car to last another year or two.


We still don’t know how often–if ever–the trans fluid was changed over the past 15 years.
If the answer is “never” or only once or twice, then I think that–based on the symptoms–the trans is in need of an overhaul. Personally, I wouldn’t sink that much money into a 15 year old car, but if the engine is in good condition and there is no rust damage–and especially if money is tight for you right now–it would be more economical to repair the trans, rather than dumping the vehicle.

The car engine, AWD etc appear to be in good condition and the trans fluid was never changed, but there is a lot rust hidden under the plastic trim along the rocker panels and rear wheel wells on both sides.

But i also had experience with an old 2005 Ford Escape i bought for 5K years ago where a few months into it i had to fixed one thing, months late i’d have to fix another and another. i ended up spending another 3K before the rear body separated from the frame a few years later. While the body was in good shape, I ended up driving to auto recycling.

I swore my next car would be electric but want to spend no more than 10 to 20K. Experience has taught me that you need to spend at east 10K on a used car to get something reliable. unfortunetly, the cheapest used EV is about 16K and up. So If this looks like a lost cause, I’ll be looking for a used Chevy Bolt (238 miles on a charge) as I can’t afford even a used Tesla model 3 and the other EV’s don’t have the range i need.

Between rust damage on a unitized vehicle like yours and a probable need to overhaul the transmission, I think that your vehicle has reached the end of the road. It is probably worth no more than $2,500-3,000 at this point, so you would probably be better-off buying another vehicle.

Just try to remember with your next vehicle to have the trans fluid changed every 3 yrs/30k miles, and you will probably be able to get a longer life from it than you have gotten from this Freestyle.

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the trade in value is about $800 considering it has 175500 miles on it, rust and is in need of a replacement trans.

I’m done with gas cars, I’m going EV. An EV will need a lot less maintenance since there are way less moving parts. No oil or fluids to change, no gaskets or parts or trans or engine or radiator to fix or replace.

Thanks for your help.