Automatic transmission safety question

mini
cooper

#1

Often when moving slowly in first gear, the 2005 Mini bucks a bit. It is noticeable in stop and go traffic or when making a turn after a stop. Is this a sign of a serious safety issue? Or is it just a speed bump. We bought the car used in April. The Mini dealer said that no parts are available to repair the transmission. We would need a new transmission at a cost of about $7,500.


#2

I don’t see this as a safety issue, but rather as a potential mechanical problem.
This type of problem really sounds like a driveability issue, and it is just as likely to be engine-related as it is to be transmission-related.

I would suggest that you take the car to an independent transmission shop for evaluation, as they will be able to tell you if the problem lies in your transmission or in your engine. And, if you do need a transmission overhaul, an indy shop will charge far less than the dealership.

Whatever you do, DO NOT take the car to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain operation, as they will tell you that you need a new transmission whether you really do or not, will charge a very high price, and it is likely that their workmanship would be very poor.

If the indy trans shop tells you that the problem is engine-related, I would suggest that you make sure that all of the car’s maintenance is up to date. Unfortunately, used cars tend to be way overdue for many types of vital maintenance, and this lax maintenance leads to lots of expensive repairs. Actually, even if the trans shop doesn’t think that this is engine-related, you still need to bring the car up to date with the maintenance listed in the Owner’s Manual.


#3

Assuming the warranty is up, I would look for a good local mechanic who knows transmissions.

Note: With luck a guy names transman will reply. It is THE transmission man.


#4

There must be more to this story than you are saying. As VDC noted, why are you onto a transmission problem rather than and engine problem? Did this Mini dealer actually diagnose something?

All you’ve noted here is “bucks a bit” which could describe a large number of things.


#5

Where in the world did you get a quote of $7500 for a new transmission?


#6

From the Mini dealer, to whom the OP should NOT return!


#7

I could see a transmission costing that much without the dealer gouging anyone. The car makers do not give the dealers a cut rate price on parts in spite of the perception they do.
We had a gentleman went ballistic (and rightfully so in my opinion) about 5 grand for a new Subaru transmission. The dealer COST on that transmission was almost 4 grand.

My gut feeling is that this is not a transmission problem but could be related to engine performance. You should get AutoZone, Checkers, O’Reillys, etc. to scan the car for codes first and post any results for discussion.
A corroded coil terminal, air leak, etc. could cause this problem and there’s a chance it could be something very simple.

I repaired a car recently that was diagnosed as having a bad fuel pump after having the normal ignition parts thrown at it.
The problem? A razor cut like slit in a breather hose between the throttle body and air filter. Under acceleration the thin wall hose (soft due to age and oil film) would collapse a bit and expose the cut which then admitted air into the intake tract. This was throwing the MAF signal off; and there were zero MAF codes.
Total repair time less than 10 minutes and total parts consisted of a 3" piece of leftover hose. Runs great now.

Point being that the knick-knack stuff should be considered before floating a home equity loan.