CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Pt cruiser slips into neutral when changing gears

I have an automatic 2004 PT Cruiser, non turbo, with right around 95k miles. Today when it changes gears it will feel as if its in neutral, the car won’t accelerate it will just rev the engine. And after a few seconds(sometimes as much as 10-15) it will go into the next gear. And also when its in drive and I’m driving down the road the engine sounds different than it should, sort of higher pitched and a little louder than it used to be. Maybe even kind of flat? I’m not sure if that’s the correct word to use. And when I put my car in park and got out to listen to it didn’t quite sound like there was something rattling around, it almost sounded like there was something just in the way of some sort of movement, kind of like when you get something big caught in the bottom of the vacuum.



I will say a month or so ago I was having the same type of issue but when my car wanted to shift my foot would go to the floor, as if it wasn’t receiving any gas. My foot would also go to the floor usually around hitting 65 mph. So I took it to autozone and they said it could be the camshaft and/or crankshaft position sensor. We replaced the camshaft position sensor which helped the problem for a few weeks, but then that same problem came back so we bought a crankshaft position sensor. We didn’t replace the sensor because around the same time my stepdad bought a chip for the car to improve horsepower and fuel economy and the problem went away for good.



I will also say about a week after putting in the chip my car didn’t start because the chip wasn’t put in exactly right, so we had that taken out(this was about a month ago).



So after saying everything thats happened in the past couple of months, does anybody know what could be wrong with it?

Check the transmission fluid level and condition of the fluid.Change the fluid and filter (don’t let anyone put anything but ATF+4 in it. If none of that works look for a good transmission shop.If you don’t know of any,look and see where the police, school bus garages, or utility companies send their’s.