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Temperamental Transmission does not like warm weather

I bought my wife a 2008 PT Cruiser Std Tranny that she loves to drive. At about 30k miles, we notices at random times that the car was very difficult to shift. Now that it has over 50k miles, I can better describe the symptoms. On a warm morning (75-deg) in Sacramento, we cannot make it to the High School (5-miles) and still get the car into gear at a stop sign, or easily shift between gears while driving. Double Clutching seems to help. On a cool morning (60-deg), I can drive for 2 or 3 hours with only occasional difficulty in shifting. have taken it to multiple transmission shops. 1 shop claims it is the pressure plate (bad springs) the other indicates it is the Master or Slave cylinder. No one blamed the linkage. The problems come and go with the AMBIENT air temperature. We drove to the City last Friday. Drove 80 to Costco in Vacaville, and had to shut off the car in order to get in first. When the car started, the with the pedal fully depressed, the car immediatly started rolling forward. I could only drive in the heavy traffic by double clutching and managing the engine/tranny speed. You can image my surprise that as we got closer to the bay area and the O/S temperature dropped from 100 to 75, that my shifting problems diminished. By the time we made it to Golden Gate Park, and 59 degrees the was absolutely no problems driving and shifting. Returning to Sacramento 5-hours later, the symptoms returned as the o/s temperature increased until I again had to shut off the car to get it into first gear.

Chrysler wants $140 to diagnose the problem, and whatever the problem is, it will not be covered by the lifetime power train warranty.

So, what do we do with a car that doesn’t like warm weather?

You might be expieriencing the same problem as this poster.


I’d say it is the master and or slave failing to keep pressure. Warmer makes the fluid thinner and harder to hold pressure. Ambient may be cooling it just enough

"it will not be covered by the lifetime power train warranty. " ???
Doesn’t the dealership consider the clutch and gearbox part of the power train??

many thanks for the input. In reviewing the other example, I will take the car for a drive and try out the cold water. Sounds very similar to the Honda example. Thank you Tester. I wonder if I can just replace the fluid, might be worth a try. Gary123, the lifetime powertrain warranty covered my valve cover gasket, but would not cover the wheel bearings. All parts external to the transmission are excluded, as is the Clutch. The complete warranty disclaimer is shown here:

My gf’s 2008 Chrysler Crossfire just had the entire Clutch and Flywheel assembly replaced under warranty because of the same exact issue you are describing just the other month. her car only had 9k miles on it at the time it was replaced, however.

For her car, it was the fingers on the Pressure Plate that weakened, and caused the bad clutch lever feel, and inability to get the shifter into the desired gear. This is because as the engine spins, since the pressure plate fingers aren’t fully separating the engine from the transmission, you are not able to overcome the engine power very easily.

Because of this, it glazed her friction disk, and created hot spots on the surface of the flywheel and the pressure plate, so all 3 components, plus the throw out bearing were replaced.

You should have brought the car into be looked at before the original warranty ran out, as they might have covered it, like they did for my gf’s Crossfire. They are much less likely to replace clutch parts under the power train warranty.

You might luck out, and tell them that since the problem is the pressure plate that weakened, that’s NOT the clutch friction material, and they need to replace everything under the warranty, since the bad pressure plate caused damage to everything else! If they resist that, tell them the friction material is the part of the clutch that isn’t under lifetime warranty, and the pressure plate IS, and you know this for a fact, and they HAVE to replace it. Since the PP took out the friction plate, and the flywheel, they have to replace all three, under warranty.