Sticking Transmission

I just bought a 2004 Nissan Sentra, autoamtic. I notice that the transmission does not shift smoothly. It seems to stick. When I accelarate the car goes wrooom wroom wroom and then finally I feel the shift into gear. I feel that this is not good and I should have it checked out. my neighbor told me to take it to a dealer and have them “adjust” the transmission. I am not sure what that means and how costly that would be? Can I take it to a regual mechanic for this? I did not buy it from a dealer. I am very concerned, because I know transmissions are very expensive and I want to make sure I protect it and don’t ruin it. I just took the car on a road trip and it ran fine, going up hils I could feel the transmission shift after a few seconds. Does anybody have any advise on how to handle this? Is this a problem I should have checked out now before the transmission or motor is damaged? Would a fluid flush help? Any advise would be much appreciated.

You’ll want to improve your description a bit - are you saying the car revs really high when you accelerate, but that the car does go faster, and then sort of bumps into the next gear eventually? This would possibly be be a late shift. Or are you saying that the engine revs, but you feel no power (no real acceleration), and then it finally feels like the transmission “catches” and you get acceleration? This should be called “slipping.” Late shifting might be no big deal. If it is slipping, it would be best to start saving your money.

The first thing to do is check the transmission fluid level and condition. The owners manual will tell you how to do it the right way. You need to make sure it is within the range it is supposed to be. If you need to add some, look in the owners manual to find the right type and use only that type - there are lots of different transmission fluids. The fluid should also look nice and red or perhaps pink. If it looks more like it is brown, the you should have the transmission serviced (the pan should be dropped and the filter changed). If it is really dark brown or blackish and smells really bad - like it is burned - you should also start saving your money, but could start with the transmission service.

In either case, you don’t need a dealer but you also don’t really want a general auto mechanic. There are shops that specialize in transmissions, and that is what you want. Don’t use a major chain kind of place (such as AAMCO) - ask around and find a local shop with a good reputation.

If the fluid checks out ok I’d bring it to a shop for a basic once over. It should be test driven and scanned for codes. If you do this, get the codes and you can post them here.