Should I replace the transmission in my low-mileage 91' Mazda 626

A while ago, I acquired a 1991 Mazda 626 automatic (currently 105,000 miles) that now has what appear to be the beginning of transmission issues. It hard shifts from 1st to 2nd - the shift jerks really hard when the car is cold but once I’ve driven it for 15-20 minutes the hard shift almost disappears completely and stays that way as long as the car is warm - except for stop and go traffic (Seattle traffic) than the hard shift comes back no matter how long I’ve been driving. The only other shifting issue I notice is on the hills where it seems to shift more frequently than I might expect it too.

Other than what I’ve described this car is in perfect condition inside and out, as well as engine-wise. My question is on transmissions and whether I should get a rebuilt one. I’ve taken it to multiple transmission shops and almost all have told me two things 1) I need a new transmission and 2) that the issue is a hard component problem and I could most likely drive this car for months or years without having to replace the transmission - if I want to put up with the rough shifts. They recommended just driving it until the transmission goes out and then replacing it. Is that sound advice?

I got this car to be my daily driver (right now it’s my only driver) and I average around 3000 miles or more each month. The lowest quote I got was $1600 on a rebuilt transmission. I really love this car but I’m trying to figure out if I should put the money into fixing it - which I couldn’t do for several months at best. If I didn’t fix it than I would just take the money I would’ve spent fixing this car and buy another used car.

I like the idea of no car payments which is why I ditched my new car and now have this car but I’m really new to the used car world and I’m one of “those” girls who, when mechanics see me coming, double their prices before I walk through the door. Also, how do I tell if the shop is a good one?

Any advice is much appreciated!

Get a second or third opinion if necessary. You may find the problem is not a trans overhaul. When you find the guy that says I have seen this before and it turned out to be, you have found the right place.

I agree

A good place to start would be a fluid and filter change…It could just be a varnished up plunger in the valve body causing the erratic shifting…

Thank you for your suggestions. Caddyman, when you suggest a fluid and filter change is that the same as a transmission flush?

Do not flush, but drain the transmission fluid. Flushing sometimes introduces higher pressures than the transmission should see and can damage it.

Say no to the flush. Its drop the pan and change the filter only. To many bad things seem to happen after a trans flush.