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Problem with buick riveria

Hi I have a '95 buick riveria with 190,000 miles on it. I haven’t had it long. I had the ck engine light come on and off at intervals, along with the ck coolant levels. Neither stayed on continously. Now the car will not go above 20 or 30 mph. If I try to go faster the rpms shoot up. I checked the transmission fluid and it looks clear and was full. It seems as though the car is shifting gears but is not getting power. Any ideas before a mechanic tries to scam me?

clear tranny fluid does not exist,take it to a tech.

your car was trying to tell you something. the flashing lights (both red and yellow) were saying; take me to the car doctor and get checked out.

now you have more proof. go. get it checked out.

ask friends, co workers for recommendations for a good local mechanic.

sorry, but not all mechanics are scammers.

BUT, in the same thought, you probably did irreversible damage by driving your car with the lights coming on and going out. just because they went out does NOT mean the problem was solved. it just went “dormant” now you need to get it checked out.

I understand that not all mechanics are scammers. And my car is at the shop already waiting for the mechanic to look at it. The problem is that I am new in the area and have not been happy with the 2 I have went to. One screwed me on another car, one obviously didn’t diagnose my car properly. This is my 3rd mechanic. So it would be nice to have an idea of what may be going on with my car so I don’t get screwed with anymore, thanks.

I’m sorry I mean that it looks clean, not dirty

Those symptoms of the engine rpm going up, but, the car speed not increasing, are standard transmission slipping symptoms. The usual repair is the replacement of the transmission.

The attitude that all mechanics are out to scam you is going to lead to nothing but problems and I seriously doubt you’ve had a string of techs lining up to screw you over.
Someone on this board posted a few months ago about every mechanic in their area (northern N.M.) being crooks. A search of the BBB database showed only one shop out of several hundred in that area as having a fair number of complaints, and even that was only comparative because most had none.

There’s a lot of info missing but I tend to agree with hellokit; this sounds like a transmission slippage problem. At 190k miles and losing coolant you may know now why someone dumped the car. A leaking trans fluid cooler inside the radiator can contaminate the trans fluid and roast the transmission. If the trans is currently full of clean and pretty red fluid then you can probably safely assume someone changed the fluid as a stopgap.
You could place the trans in DRIVE, not overdrive, hold the footbrake down, and try to rev the engine. If the engine does not stall out at about 1900 RPMS and revs much higher then the transmission is toasted.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

Regarding warning lights:

  1. if the coolant temp light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  2. if the oil warning light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  3. if a FLASHING MIL/CEL comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

    ASAP means driving to the berm of the highway right now and not waiting for the next exit.

But if the MIL/CEL is not flashing, then it’s not an urgent indicator.

As usual, I agree with ok4450 and hellokit. The symptoms that you described with your RIVIERA are indeed the classic symptoms of a failing transmission, and that unfortunately translates into many $$ to remedy. As ok4450 notes, the presence of nice, clean-looking transmission fluid in a vehicle with 190k on the odometer is likely the result of the previous owner trying to cover up a known problem with the transmission and/or the cooling system.

I strongly suggest that you try to get some recommendations from neighbors, co-workers, etc. regarding a good independent transmission shop in your area. DO NOT go to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other transmission chain unless you want to experience the type of scam that you fear. A well-reputed independent shop that has been in business for at least 3 years is much more likely to give you a fair shake regarding repair of your RIVIERA, although the ultimate cost may be more than you want to pay on a 13 year old car.

I also strongly suggest that you have your next used car inspected by an independent mechanic of your choice prior to purchase, as that procedure likely could have allowed you to avoid the situation with your current car.