'98 Corolla Problem(s) (Transmission?)

Okay, starting with the car history: I am a few miles over for an oil change, but there is oil in the car, and about two months ago I got my car tuned up because there was a slight hesitation/stall/sputter when driving (which ceased after the tune-up).

Now, my car has been whirring in place while I’m pressing on the accelerator and then will take of (jerkingly). Even when I’m stopped completely, I can feel that it won’t go forward on its on when I take my foot off the brake sometimes, and then it’ll surge forward. Yesterday, i had my car parked and cranked it up and started accelerating and it vroomed the whole time my foot was on the accelerator but would hardly budge. After putting some transmission fluid in there it finally drove, but at times would still continue hardly accelerating. Is it my transmission? If so, how much would that cost? BTW that’s the second time putting tranny fluid in the car since last weekend & the check engine light just came on.

You’ve obviously got a transmission fluid leak somewhere. This is not a problem that’s going to fix itself. You will have to take the car to a mechanic or transmission specialist.

First, though, check the transmission fluid level and make sure it’s correct. This must be done with the engine idling in neutral. Check your owner’s manual for the correct procedure, and make sure you do it SAFELY. The accessory drive belts will be turning and you don’t want to get caught by them.

If there is not enough fluid, or too much, the transmission will not work correctly. How much the repair will cost is impossible to estimate from a distance.

As far as the check engine light goes, a mechanic or a parts store can read the codes and see what problem the computer is indicating.

Make an appointment somewhere and get this car the service it needs. Putting it off will just make it worse.

Yes, it certainly sounds like it is your transmission–especially if you had to add fluid twice w/in a few days. As to the cost, this will vary considerably, depending on exactly how much work is required. However, the worst case scenario could easily be $2,000.00, maybe more.

I strongly suggest that you take it to an independent transmission shop that has been in business for at least 3 years. Ask friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, etc. for recommendations. DO NOT go to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other chain operation unless you want a higher repair bill than necessary and also possibly poor workmanship.

I suggest that you take care of this a.s.a.p., as the symptoms sound like the car may be unable to move under its own power very soon, leaving you stranded.

The problem you have is that the vehicle has been operated while low on transmission fluid. Damage can occur in only a few miles and filling the trans fluid after the fact is akin to closing the barn door after the horses got out.
It’s no different than running an engine very low on oil or a cooling system out of coolant.

You can try setting the park brake, shift the transmission into DRIVE, not overdrive, hold the foot brake, and rev the engine quickly.
The engine should stall out around 1900 RPM or so. If it revs up into the 2500 RPM range or whatever you can assume the transmission is damaged. This is referred to as a converter stall test and will give you a rough feel as to how well the clutches are holding inside the transmission. While I did not go through the entire process here with you that little bit should be enough to determine if you’re in trouble or not.

Costs will vary greatly if a transmission is needed depending on used, rebuilt, new and shop labor rates.