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Automatic Transmission maintenance

My car is a 2003 Chrysler Sebring, and I live in Colorado. The car’s 60,000 mile automatic transmission maintenance was done at about 90,000 miles. Immediately afterward the car jolted each time it shifted - so badly that I tensed each time in anticipation. Over a few days, it gradually went back to normal. What happened, and is there a problem? It seems okay now.

What was done during this maintenance? A pan drop and filter change or was it flushed only?
The latter without doing the former is a mistake and trans fluid should be changed every 30k miles in my opinion.

What exactly did they do when they serviced the trans.?? Did they flush it?? If they did flush it, did they drop the pan and change the filter before they flushed it or did they just hook up and flush it and send you out the door lighter in your wallet?? I’m asking because there is a right way and a wrong way to service a transmission and a majority of these shops do it the wrong way.


In addition to answering about the above, you should also be sure that correct transmission fluid was put back into the transmission. Transmissions are very finicky about what kind of fluid they get. Yours is probably supposed to be ATF +4 fluid as it is with most Chrysler’s. Some shops say they use something else plus an additive to make it like ATF 4 but that doesn’t work.

I also wonder - if you didn’t do it at 60K - what prompted you to do it at 90K? People often neglect their transmissions and then have them serviced when they start showing possible problems. The problem there is that it is often too late & the damage has been done. So what prompted the service?

One possibility since you say it went back to “normal” (I assume meaning doing whatever it was before the service) is that the battery was disconnected, the computer lost its memory, and for a while the computer was using default shift points until it “relearned” your driving style.

It should have included a filter change, as I had already purchased, and provided the maintenance kit.

When I told the shop about the odd behavior, they had me bring it back in to check it out - I have no idea what they did for that, if anything. Probably just drove it, but by then it seemed okay. I will ask them what kind of fluid they used.

I had checked the fluid every now and then to make sure it wasn’t getting smelly and brown, and it seemed fresh all along. What prompted the service was partly that I could fit it into my budget, and mostly that a local garage near where I live out in the country does work for a fraction of what it costs in town. So I was catching up on the maintenance items. I got the maintenence kit, and it was supposed to be done at the local garage, but he closed up shop. Since I already had the kit, I had it done at the garage I use in town.

I’m not aware that the battery had been disconnected - the presets on the radio are still there. Holy smokes, that’s all computerized? Would it have to relearn shifting after the maintenance even if the battery hadn’t be disconnected?

I’m fairly lost when it comes to auto maintenance. I really appreciate all of your replies - cigroller, transman, and ok4450. Thank you!

The filter should have been changed - I gave them one. And now I think of it, they told me they used an additive or “treatment”. Would that have made the transmission grab and jolt?

That sounds just like they used regular Dexron fluid and an additive to make it like the ATF+4 which SHOULD HAVE been put in it. Chryslers require ATF+4 fluid. Was this a trans shop that did this or another type of shop??

**Sorry, I just read your reply below. This shop, it sounds like did this the cheap way. Instead of using ATF+4 fluid like the vehicle requires, they use the cheaper Dexron fluid and add an additive. To me, its not the same. I always stay with the +4


I checked the receipt, and it says “Chrysler transmission fluid”, and then I called the shop and asked the owner, and he confirmed they use the real Chrysler fluid - ATF+4 I believe - in the Chryslers. And also the additive.


The ONLY fluid that should ever go in this transmission is ATF+4 with NO extra additives put in by the shop! If they actually put anything besides ATF+4 (and only ATF+4) have them drain it all out and start over. This time, though, they will have to change out all the fluid, not just the fluid that drains out when the pan is dropped.