Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Quest to find out what's wrong with my 2004 Quest

4 weeks ago, my wife started our low mileage 2004 Nissan Quest and when she shifted into gear it wouldn’t go into gear, drive, low, or reverse. I quickly went home, started the car, and it drove without any problems. We then traveled over 2000 miles moving across country and had no problems with the van until today. This afternoon, I drove it about 2 miles, parked the car for 3 hours, and then drove home without problems. About 15 minutes later, I started it up and put it into reverse and immediately felt that something was wrong. The van did go into reverse but it was quite unresponsive. I put it into drive and experienced the same thing. When I pressed the gas pedal, the engine did not rev normally but was slow and would not accelerate. It would move forward but slowly. I stopped the car and put it through drive, low, reverse, and nothing changed. I checked the transmission fluid and it appeared normal. When I drove it, the RPMs didn?t go much above 2000-3000 no matter how much I pressed the accelerator. It felt as if the van was in a higher gear rather than in 1st gear. Nothing changed even as I was able to get up to about 30-40mph. I wasn?t on a road where I could see if the van could go any faster. Even at that speed, it seemed as if the engine was still in the same gear rather than changing gears as it normally would. After driving about 6 miles, I parked the car for 3 hours. When I got in to drive home, the van started up and drove normally.

The check engine light is not on. I am hesitant to take it in to a shop to pay for someone to hook it up to their computer only to tell me that there were no codes and therefore nothing wrong that they could find. What do you think? Does this sound like a transmission problem or something else? Has anybody experienced or seen this happen in a vehicle before?

It could be a transmission problem developing. You might drop by an AutoZone, Checkers, O’Reillys or any parts house chain like those and the vehicle scanned. It only takes a few minutes and they will do this free.

The methodogy might not be as complete as one would get from a transmission pro but it’s a good starting point and the price is right.
Keep in mind the parts house guy’s job is to scan the car and provide you the codes. It is not his job to diagnose the problem nor should he attempt to.

So has the fluid been checked; or ever even changed?

Thanks. I didn’t think about taking my van to a parts store to be scanned. I have checked the transmission fluid level and the level is ok and the color was pink and clear. The van has 40k miles and I don’t think that the fluid has ever been changed or at least not in the last 15k miles since we bought it.

It should be changed about every 30k miles but I don’t think the fluid should be a transmission killer at this point. There could be an electronic hiccup in the transmission controls though, which can exist without the CEL being illuminated.
Forty thousand miles is a bit young to have a serious transmission issue.