Transmission going on 2009 ford escape

Hey all!

I’m 16 years old and have been given my brothers old 2009 Ford Escape xlt to drive around once I get my license. Only problem is that after taking it to the shop they said the transmission is going on it, and and it is definitely noticeable when it drives. It shifts pretty harshly between gears. I’m not very knowledgeable on cars (although I love listening to car talk) and was wondering if it would be worth it to get a junkyard transmission and swap it or if I should just sell it off to some other shmo. I love this car in both the way it handles and the space it provides but I really don’t want it to become a money pit.

Also, if it’s a goner once the transmission goes, any recommendations on other similar vehicles that are around 2k?

Thanks in advance.

How many miles on the car and I assume that the transmission has never been serviced anyway.

Before writing the car off why not change the fluid and filter? I know that my current and past Fords have been a bit touchy about trans fluid changes so that is done roughly every 35k miles or so. If the pan on the transmission is pretty clean with no sludge or metallic debris then all the better.

As for finding a good reliable vehicle for 2 grand you need to rethink this. Odds are a 2 grand vehicle will be much worse than what you currently have even if the trans has issues. You are getting it for free so don’t throw in the towel yet.


Can’t believe I forgot to mention the miles. It has 170k. Again I’m not very knolageable on cars so please forgive my ignorance but can is changing the transmission fluid something I can do relatively easily at home or should I take it to a shop. We took it to one shop and that’s where we got the dying transmission opinion but I haven’t been able to take it to get a second opinion. I’ll try to find out more about what they said specifically tomorrow because my dad was the one who dealt with them.

I really don’t want to throw in the towel on this car yet because like I said I love it.

Another issue is that I have happen is that if the car sits for a while there is a burning smell when I start it for about 5 min. I think oil is leaking on some element that heats up but that’s a problem for another day.

It’s possible the trans could be going at 170k miles if it has never been serviced regularly but I would not fret over that just yet. I would suggest changing the fluid first.
I think the early Escapes had a transmission dipstick but the 2009s did not. That makes it a bit tougher.

As for the burning smell I have no way of knowing without hands on. It could be a trans fluid leak or engine oil leak. Again. even with this issue don’t fret just yet.

I agree with a second opinion and even a third. Do not tell anyone what the first place told you. And stay away from the transmission chain shops such as AAMCO or Cottmans. I have some personal and not so favorable anecdotes about both.

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I’m definitely gonna take it in for a second opinion and take a more hand on approach to figuring out the problem. My dad isn’t too interested in getting it checked out and everything so the second I get my license (New Jersey is 17 for a probationary) I’m gonna do it myself and be a bit more proactive in taking care of it. Mine does have a transmission dipstick. The car has to be running to take the transmission fluid levels correct?

I did take the oil to get changed a little while ago when I first got my hands on it but I have no idea about the service history of the transmission fluid.etc

Thank you again for your help it is very appreciated.

First of all I also say 2000.00 to buy a vehicle will get you more trouble then you need. Where is the money for a rebuilt transmission going to come from ? What is the condition of this vehicle ( tires - battery - brakes - will it pass state inspection if you have one ) .

Since you can’t put this in your name and you will have to be on your parents insurance then they have the final say about this vehicle.

I’d also say to change the fluid and filter first. No idea how it is on that car but it’s usually not difficult to take the pan off and do it. If there’s no difference then get another opinion on the transmission.

Yes for some cars, no for others. Follow the procedure in your owners manual.

I would change the trans fluid - making sure to use the type spec’d by Ford in the owners manual. Even better, remove the trans pan, inspect for debris, and change the filter if there’s one in there.

Good luck!

Since you state that the engine oil was recently changed I strongly suggest that you examine the oil filter and the oil drain plug just in case someone double gasketed the oil filter, omitted the drain plug gasket, or whatever. Any of that can lead to oil leaks which can burn on the header pipes.

As to checking the transmission fluid, here you go. Main thing in the early stages is make sure the trans fluid is not dark brown or black as that is a sign of trouble.