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2011 Mazda CX-9 “shift shock”

I was curious if anyone had what is referred to as shift-shock with their car’s transmission, which is when the transmission shifts into drive really hard. After the trained Mazda service technicians finally diagnosed the problem, the Transmission Control Module (TCM) was reprogrammed, which lasted less than a year. Then the TCM was replaced, which only lasted a couple of months. Then Mazda had me replace the transmission. The ironic thing about this is that Mazda has a Service Bulletin on shift-shock and it took their service technicians and Mazda Corporate Technical Support three (3) attempts before properly diagnosing my problem. All this time my transmission was in a state of disrepair and undergoing further damage. The shift-shock repair is covered under the Federal Emission Control Warranty that not everyone knows about and Mazda won’t be telling you, which is for 8-years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. Had the shift-shock been diagnosed when I first brought my car in for service at the Mazda dealership, it would have been covered under the warranty, since my car was only five (5) years old at that time with approximately 65,000 miles. And it probably wouldn’t have needed a new transmission at 95,000 miles. This was a two (2) year long saga dealing with the dealerships, who have incompetent service technicians, and the Mazda Customer Experience Center, who have arrogant and obnoxious supervisors. Mazda provided me with partial assistance for the reprogramming and the replacement of both the TCM and the transmission, even though my car was out of warranty. These offers of goodwill assistance from Mazda were in essence an admission of their culpability and negligence in initially failing to diagnose and repairing the shift-shock, which eventually caused irreparable damage to my transmission culminating in its replacement. Mazda also offered me an E-plan as a goodwill gesture, which gets me 4% off the invoice price on a new car. However, I would never buy or lease another Mazda vehicle after my experience with this car and Mazda Corporate.

Every automatic transmission has a certain amount of “shift shock”. The amount you feel determined by the line pressure inside of the transmission. Most people tend to favor soft/gentle shifts though this isn’t necessarily ideal for the transmission. When an automatic goes into a failsafe mode it’s common for the line pressure to be raised and the shifts (the entire range of ratios might not be available) will become firmer. This is done to help preserve the transmission. Sometimes enthusiasts with automatics will have them reprogrammed for firmer shifts as well.

I have never heard about a transmission problem being covered under a federal emissions warranty. Moreover, it’s likely that the damage was already done before the hard shifting started and the “shift shock” you describe was simply the transmission going into failsafe mode. I doubt if any further damage was done due to the hard shifting, it’s a symptom of an existing problem.

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