Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Transmission Issue

I had a situation where I was driving my van (1996 Ford Windstar V6/3.8 with 188,230 miles) and it wouldn’t accelerate past 30 MPH. I pulled off the side of the road and checked the Transmission fluid level. It was below the “low spot”. I put 2 1/2 quarts in to get it to the proper level. I drove the car and it accelerated to 30, 40 & 50 MPH but the RPM s stayed at 4000. I called Advance Auto parts and they told me it might be in “fail safe” mode and that I should disconnect the battery to reset the computer and see if the problem continues. I did that and the car drove beautifully. The next time I drove the car the problem returned. I could accelerate to 30, 40 & 50 MPH but the RPM s stayed at 4000 (it wouldn’t shift gears). I let the van sit for a week while gathering info on Transmission shops. I have now been driving the van for 4 days and it is driving better than ever. I have not encountered a transmission issue so far. Has anyone ever experience this type of issue and do you have any recommendations? I am hesitant to take it into a shop now because it is working fine. I would appreciate any expert opinions/comments.

Transmissions are not known for repairing themselves. At the very least, whatever led to your transmission fluid being at least 2 1/2 qts low is something that should concern you, whether or not the transmission seems to be shifting properly at this time.

I would suggest that you come to some decision regarding transmission shops in your area, and take the vehicle to the one of your choice for an evaluation. (Hopefully, you have not decided on AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain operation!)

Transmission repairs can be pricey, but when those repairs are deferred, the price goes up, rather than down.

The transmission fluid level was low due to it leaking from the front of the pan. I recently tightened the front bolts and the leak has ceased.