Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Slow Engaging Transmission

The transmission in my 2003 Chrysler 300M Special (68K miles) is slow to engage on cold mornings or sometimes when the car has been sitting overnight. The problem occurs only when shifting from park to reverse or drive. There is a hesitation, and if I depress the accelerator and rev the engine, the car will then shift into gear. I have not noticed a problem at any other time or situation. The car is at the dealer now being checked. I had a sensor replacement at 30K when the car was shifting hard from 1st to 2nd. Any thoughts on what the issue could be? Thanks

Unless the transmission fluid level is low, neutralizing of a transmission at the first start of the day is usually the early signs of a transmission that’s about to fail.


Old Ford transmissions used to do this and the problem wouldn’t just go away. I don’t have any details other than that. These days, there are lots of other sources of failure. I hope your luck is better than mine with this problem.

Like Tester said, check fluid level first, otherwise you’re probably looking at leaking clutch seals, lazy solenoid pack or even a sticking PR valve. Let us know what the dealer finds out.


Thanks for the responses and information. The dealer called and said the transmission fluid was 2 quarts low. I have a leak in one of the transmission lines. He plans to repair the leak and add the fluid to the correct level. I am hoping there is no damage to the system. I’ll let you all know how things turn out. Thanks!

2 quarts isnt bad. You should be fine once they repair the leak and top off the system.