Elantra Auto Transmission Problems

I have a 1997 Hundai Elantra, and a couple of days ago, I was reversing out of a parking space when it jumped out of gear. It had never happened before, but all I thought was, ‘that’s unusual.’ I put it into drive, and took off. When it shifted from first into second, it did it messily (the car lurched, and the tires spun), and when I got it up to 40mph, it refused to go into third gear. I pulled over, tried reverse, and…nothing. I decided to get it home before it died on me, so I put it into drive, and took off. It did the lurchy shift again, died at forty, and when I slowed down, second kicked in again. I got home that way, but I did notice that when I was at a set of lights, it seemed that it picked away in second gear. Needless to say, I’ve been scared to look at it ever since. I read some stuff on the internet, and the fluid doesn’t smell burned, so I have disconnected the battery, in case it’s electrical (sensors or something). Does it sould like a need a new tranny?

How many miles on the car, and how often do you have the transmission fluid changed?

There are 140,000 miles on the car. As for the frequency of fluid changes, I have had the car for about eighteen months, and haven’t had a fluid change. Ironically, I was slated to have one done next weekend. As for the previous owner, I’m afraid I cannot say how often they had it done. Sorry to be of no help at all…

I am going to project that you need to have the transmission overhauled. I strongly suggest that you take the car (or have it towed) to an independent transmission shop that has been in business for at least 3 years. Hopefully, you can get some recommendations from friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

Whatever you do, DO NOT go to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other chain operation unless you relish the idea of being overcharged for subpar work that may not even be necessary. In another thread, someone just reported having been charged for a new transmission when all that was done was to replace a solenoid.

More than likely, the first owner of the car never had the fluid and the filter changed. That type of lack of maintenance can easily lead to transmission failure any time after 90,000, in my experience. Next time that you buy a used car, only buy one whose maintenance records you can view, and then compare those records with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. That is a good way of avoiding a situation such as the one that you are currently in.

Thank you very much for the advice. I’m currently at school, so money is tight, but I’ll see if my wife knows anyone at work who knows someone who knows someone…you get the idea.

I had thought about running it over to AAMCO, but my neighbor strongly advised against it. Last year, they charged him $1300 to replace brake lines, when the real problem was a siezed calliper. Of course, they loosened it up before he got it back, but when it happened again, and he took it to another mechanic, he was told that it had been the culprit all along.

Again, thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.