Importance of changing transmission fluid

Watching Wheeler Dealers, the British car show in which Mike and Ed buy fixer cars, spruce them up, then resell for a profit.

Mike found a Porsche Boxster S that the owner was practically giving away because the auto transmission was shifting poorly in lower gears. Mike practically stole the car for 1000 British pounds ($1700 USD). Ed changed the transmission fluid and filter, and it solved the transmission problem. He did a few more mechanical and interior fixes (resurfaced the brake rotors, new exhaust, recovered the seats, etc) and they ended up with bad-boy Boxster S for a total investment of 3450 British pounds ($5900 USD).

A killer deal, and all because the previous owner didn’t change the tranny fluid.

Oh, and they sold the Boxster for a profit of 3000 British pounds ($5100 USD).

True, but if the trans fluid was neglected until problems surfaced how long do you think it will last? I would guess not very long. Did they even inform the “new owner” that the “old owner” neglected this? But it does point out the need for regular trans services sooner rather than later.

Perhaps owner who let car sit for 4yrs should have serviced trans?

Changing transmission fluid and the filter is critical. I have bought cars and trucks in the past that just needed to be serviced in order to be returned to a reliable road vehicle. The best one was a 1994 Nissan Sentra GXE. I bought it dirt cheap with low miles because of transmission problems and it was fixed in about an hour with new fluid and a filter. I drove it over 50K with no problems and still sold it for a profit.

So we’re talking about a British car show featuring a Porsche Boxster S and it has an automatic transmission? I think I’m going to cry. What a waste of a perfectly good Porsche. The owner might as well be driving a Toyota Corolla.

@Whitey, well it was the “Tiptronic” transmission, which you can shift manually via pushbutton.

To each his own, but at least one Boxster owner (see comments below) loves it. Anyway, even with Tiptronic, the car was a steal at $1700! Wish I’d gotten it myself…

(comments below from an actual owner…)

"Since you asked the question of a Tiptronic owner , I guess I’ll answer you with my opinion; Don’t knock it till you try it. Porsche did a great job by installing a performance based transmission in the Boxster. This isn’t your grandmother’s automatic in her Ford Granada. A Tip has 5 shifting maps to accommodate different driving environments. You can also set the trans entering a corner to a gear that will net 5400 rpm’s by burping the throttle. On hard acceleration the trans shifts at 6400 rpms, the peak hp rpm.

For relaxed driving the trans rolls out in 2nd gear and will be in 5th by 38 mph. Want to get aggressive? Stab the throttle at the light and it’ll downshift to 1st and launch you. Don’t like the auto mode? Do it all yourself with the shift levers. I’ve yet to do any better than the auto mode can.

Braking is the same; get aggressive with coming off the throttle and the trans will downshift allowing for engine braking while keeping the rpms up.

I’ll run anyone’s manual against my Tip any day, in any situation. I can concentrate on driving the car while leaving the optimum shift points to the Tip. I love it."

depreciation seems to be steeper in the UK on just about every car compared to the USA, the same car here would probably be offered for at least $3,000. Tiptronic would be a downside to some but in a car you most often just cruise down a nice road you can just enjoy the drive without having to worry about changing gears, unless you want to.

Part of the low price is that it was a big gamble since a new transmission would have been 5x what mike paid for the car,plus the car looked a little rough around the edges with obvious signs of long term inactivity (the must and spider webs for example). Ed’s labor is never included in the expense totals so most of us would spend much more.

Yup, the car had been sitting and had some issues. Still, for $1700 I would have been all over it!

“the car was a steal at $1700! Wish I’d gotten it myself…”

Unfortunately, those deals are pretty hard to come by

In my area, that scumbag with the poorly shifting Porsche wouldn’t have let it go for $1700. He would have washed and waxed it, put a for sale sign on it, and asked several thousand for it. And he wouldn’t have mentioned the transmission.

And the new buyer would be asking us for advice . . .

Remember that Mike Brewer is a long-time used car dealer. He works long hours finding the cars and knows where to look for them. His dealer connections also get him deals that the rest of us couldn’t get. He spots problems during the test drive and inspection and then translates that into additional discounts on the buying price. Someone could shine their car up nice, but he would spot most if not all of the problems because of his experience.

“Someone could shine their car up nice, but he would spot most if not all of the problems because of his experience.”

Yes, Mike Brewer would spot the problems because of his experience

But some gullible poor sucker might not, and would wind up buying the car for a lot of money

It happens all the time

And then the seller says “The car’s always been fine for me. I wasn’t aware of any problems.”

And when he’s saying it, he has a ESAD grin on his face

I would not be surprised if Wheeler Dealers, like Top Gear, weren’t “scripted” (i.e., faked) somewhat to make for a more dramatic show.

Of course what you’re seeing is not entirely spontaneous. When we’re seeing Mike negotiating to buy or sell a car, the negotiation has probably already happened, and the producer has them “re-enact” the negotiation like it was spontaneous.

On the other hand, the producers can’t “script” a buyer or seller and force them to buy or sell a car for a certain amount.

There’s a difference between being “scripted” and simply re-enacting for the camera a negotiation that took place earlier off-camera.

You are very trustful, my friend.

I like the show because it chronicles the difficulties someone might get into when restoring an older car. If some of it is scripted, I don’t really care. It’s fun and educational for me.