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Slipping automatic transmission

first gear “surges” and has a very dificult time shifting into 2nd. I do not have a history of the car ( it was my parents, they both passed away at about the same time and we are trying to determine if the car is worth repairing ).

So you don't know when or if the car ever had a transmission fluid change?  

It is time to do a sniff test.  Does the current fluid smell burned? 

What year Sprotage is it and how many miles on it?

Is the tranny fluid level correct. What color does it look like when you wipe it on a white paper towel?