I'm a cute girl with braces...do i REALLY need a new transmission?

I don’t want to sterotype and say that mechanics take advantage of ladies (especially the vulnerable looking ones with braces like me!), so I’m going to assume that my new mechanic actually DOES believe that I need a new(used) transmission. Afterall they do have good online reviews. (I actually do believe that they believe.) What do you think? My VW 1998 Cabrio with 56k miles on it doesn’t like to upshift to a nice cruising gear when i get on the highway. It frequently goes above 4krmp and has once gotten above 5krmp (because I gunned it yelling at my car “shift! shift!”) before shifting up. If I take my foot off the gas to try to force the upshift, it usually takes dropping almost 10mph before it shifts, at the dismay of the people behind me also getting onto the highway. It does eventually shift always and this “problem” doesn’t happen with any other upshift (like 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd).

I’ve only had the car 6 months and don’t know if the previous driver took much care of it even if it wasn’t driven much. I don’t remember this shift issue happening when i first got the car and is why I’ve questioned it as a problem.

On my mechanic’s workorder it says Differential Transmission slipping - major service recommended. They said they drove it. Sooo, what do you think? Should I replace my transmission or are there other things that should be checked?

You may need to have the tranny serviced. One thing you could try doing before replacing the currently installed unit is to get a bottle of a product called Trans-X. It is designed to work in transmissions and fix problems like this. It may help free up a sticking valve that is causing the trouble. If it doesn’t work, you won’t be out much money.

There’s not enough info to know if you need a transmission or not. Just to get a second opinion drop by a reputable independent transmission shop (not AAMCO, etc) and have them scan the car for any codes.

It’s possible the car could have a pre-existing condition caused by the previous owner and I will add this. You’re not doing the transmission any favors at all by gunning the engine and yelling at it in an attempt to make it shift.
This may have turned a very simple, inexpensive problem into a difficult, pricy one.
IF the transmission is slipping and the fluid level is fine then odds are you’re going to need a trans rebuild or replacement; especially if the fluid has a burnt smell.

I would definately get a second opinion. Does it delay shifting into overdrive every time or just every once in a while?? Like ok said, we dont have enough info yet to positively say that you need a new transmission. There are many things which would cause the problem you describe. We need to know whether the problem is mechanical or electronic. Several conditions must be met before the computer will command a shift. The computer uses information from different sensors then decides when to shift the transmission. If any one of these sensors are not working properly and giving the computer false information, the computer can not shift the transmission properly.


If you have braces, I would say you need a new transmission.

Thank you all for your replies. It seems to actually only do this when getting on the highway when there is a slight incline and I can?t remember offhand if it shift smoothly when it finally does shift and I couldn?t replicate the problem this morning. This car has never had much power. I had two cars for a little while, a honda civic and this one and switching over to the honda was like getting into a rocket ship. It was so zippy compared to the cabrio. (maybe that?s a sign the trans was bad the whole time?) To clarify to ok , gunning this car just means keeping up with car in front of me. :slight_smile: I think most people accelerate pretty quickly getting on the highway. I?m kind of gas conscious so most of my acceleration is purposely gradual.

I did ask the mechanic if I should bring it to a dealer and have them hook it up to the computer and they told me that a computer on a 1998 cabrio won?t tell them anything other than that is a general problem with the transmission. I asked them how the transmission fluid looked they said that it looked fine but that that didn?t matter.

Like you said transman, I guess I should really just get a second mechanical opinion.

lol…you’re probably right. Darn these braces, I can’t eat corn on the cob AND I need a new transmission.

I did ask the mechanic if I should bring it to a dealer and have them hook it up to the computer and they told me that a computer on a 1998 cabrio won?t tell them anything other than that is a general problem with the transmission. I asked them how the transmission fluid looked they said that it looked fine but that that didn?t matter.

This transmission is electronically controlled, different engine sensors (TPS, CTS) to name two have direct effect in the shifting of the transmission. A scanner is a very helpful tool in checking these sensors and diagnosing shifting issues. Is this “mechanic” of yours a certified transmission technician or just a general mechanic??


They said they “do” transmissions? Here’s their site: http://www.autobahnservice.net/mechanical.html. They are ASE certified and AAA approved, but I don’t see ATSG on their site. Maybe its just SO clear to them that it’s the transmission that the sensors don’t matter?? I don’t know. They mentioned slipping. I just looked online and there is a ATSG trasmission place (http://www.westsidetransmission.com/index.html) that I’ll drop it off at to get a second opinion. I took it to the general mechanic because of other things like an alignment and oilchange and a loud noise when I back up turning (they said it was RH Mount Cracked). I didn’t even think of a seperate transmission place. Would you say it’s better to go to ATSG transmissions only place or the dealer?

btw - thanks so much for taking time to give your feedback!

The dealer should have all the proper diagnostic gear and trained techs to handle this. A good shop that specializes in transmission repair should be able to handle it also. One benefit of the dealer service is they probably have at least one tech there that has been trained in diagnosing trouble on the particular model transmission you have in the car.

An update…it’s been confirmed, there is something wrong with my transmission, but the transmission shop did a much better job of explaining it all. Every sensor/test didn’t report anything wrong but they were definitely able to recreate the problem and suggested I rebuild. So now I’m just deciding on whether to do the rebuild at the tranny place or a replace and the german auto garage. I can probably find good info on this out there. Thanks!

What do suspenders have to do with eating anything?

Either buy a rebuilt transmission or have this one rebuilt. Don’t buy a new on if they are available. Either way it is rebuilt, so go with the cheaper alternative and from the one you think will do the best job. The best job in the case of the replacement is providing a well rebuilt transmission. Does your garage have a good source for them?

In North America, braces are things to straighten out your teeth. Garters hold up stockings, at least hey used to.

For what it’s worth, the transmission shop I use actually rebuilds transmissions for the Volkswagen dealer! I asked them and a rebuild for a Passat unit at that time was $600 compared to almost three times what the dealer would have charged. So you definitely do not need to go to the dealer for a fix. Prices have gone upo since I got that quote, so maybe budget $1200.

And to think that a “cute girl with braces” also has intelligence, wow. This is a great move on your part to ask for multiple opinions from diverse sources accross the nation. Also on your list of cross checking moves, have a guy friend take the exact same car in for diagnosis and see what he is told. This will tell you if the shops are steering you strait or feeding you a line.