'99 Mazda 626 Transmission does not go in drive

Recently my daughters 626 stopped going into drive, 1st and 2nd as well as reverse work. Any idea? Dealer says the transmission is shot…I would like another opinion. Has fluid though I do not know the last time the filter or fluid was changed. Car only has 90K on it.

What color is the transmission fluid?


90k miles and/or 15 years of driving–coupled with lax or no maintenance–is a sure formula for transmission failure. Based on the symptoms, the odometer mileage/age and the sketchy maintenance record, I would be astounded if the transmission was not in need of overhaul at this point.

Just for future reference, trans fluid needs to be changed every 3 yrs or 30k miles, whichever comes first. In my experience, when this schedule is not followed, trans failure will take place at anywhere from 90k to 120k miles.

So what exactly happens? When you put the shifter into D, does the engine drive in 1st; the transmission shifts to 2nd and there is drive; and then there is no drive when the shift to Direct takes place? Does the engine rev freely at this point?

Does the fluid look ruby red or dirty brown? Does the fluid smell like unused cooking oil or overheated transformer insulation?

Run this by an independent transmission shop (not a franchise chain) for a second opinion. Most likely, this will not be cured by a fluid and filter change. If a clutch pack has failed, the transmission will have to come out and the failed part(s) replaced. It is better to do a full overhaul at this time as everything is out, apart, and cleaned. Also have the rear main seal done at this time as it would be pity to have the seal it start leaking shortly after everything is put back together.

Hope this helps.

Is there a check engine light lit up on the dash?

Saying that it “stopped going into drive” is really ambiguous so it’s hard to sort out. If it drives fine in 1 & 2 position, but won’t do anything at all in the “D” position then I would first just inspect the shift linkage. It’s probably just cable controlled with a lever on top of the transmission. Maybe that has slipped and “D” now means “N.” I don’t think that’s likely - but it doesn’t cost anything if you inspect it. After that I’d assume electronic controls - which would hopefully be flagged by error codes. Thus the question about the check engine light.

And btw, I’ve taken transmission questions to dealers a few times. Every time they say X needs a new transmission. A lot of dealer departments just operate like AAMCO shops - “All Automatics Must Come Out.” What - exactly - did the dealer do to diagnose the problem? Read codes? Test things? Such as…?

When the transmission on my Ford truck finally gave up the ghost, when I shifted into D, it was the same as in N. It didn’t shift into any gear at all, stayed in neutral. I could rev the engine and coax it into gear if I tried enough though. Rebuilding the transmission fixed it straight away.

Were I the OP in this situation I’d probably have the transmission given a proper service, drop the pan, change the filter, refill with new fluid, see if that fixed it. If not, you’ll have to visit a transmission shop. that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be rebuilt, it could be a solenoid on the fritz or something similar, but you’ll need a transmission specialist in any event.

Thank you! replaced with a reman with a 3 year warranty.

Seems many trans fail on 99 626 cars. Used trans are very pricey. And hard to find. Of course any trans can be rebuilt. The most money but more reliable than putting in a used trans.

If you’ve had it rebuilt and it’s still under the three year warranty, I’d recommend not doing anything yourself other than bringing it back under warranty. Anything you attempt may void the warranty.

Post #1 I had issue. Last post, rebuilt trans. All better

I actually purchased a remanufactured trans from ETE in WI through Rock Auto. They were awesome, shipped for cheap and I received my core charge back which most shops including the dealer would not do. Most transmissions are avail for european, japanese and other foreign built cars.