Transmission service

I have a 2009 Chevy Aveo. When I had the transmission serviced, the shop put only half the fluid in because transmission was “clogged up” and needed to losen up before a full flush. I’ve talked with other repair shops and they say it should have had a full flush. Is this normal?

Sounds odd. Any problems that you notice while driving? What kind of shop was this?

Sounds like time to find a new shop to me.

Rather than draining and replacing only half the fluid in a transmission that is already acting wonky, I would be inclined to do a FULL trans fluid change, and then–perhaps–repeat the process in about 1,000 miles.

How can changing only half of the fluid have a positive effect on a trans that has an accumulation of sediment? This trans may not be long for the world in any event, but half-way measures are not the answer, IMHO.

As PvtPublic stated, I believe that you need to take the car to a different shop.

Your post is a bit confusing, it sounded like they rained the transmission and only put half of the needed AT back, so the transmission is low on fluid.

Now I see what happened, they drained the ATF and refilled. This only gets about half the old ATF out, the rest is trapped in the torque converter and transmission body. They did not flush the transmission.

They did you a favor. You do not need to have your transmission flushed if you are following the service schedule in your owners manual, it only needs the drain and fill. Contrary to popular belief, and the flush makers advertisements, a flush alone does not get out all the old ATF either. It can even do some damage. If you want a long transmission life, just do a drain ad fill on schedule. Never flush.

However, I do have an issue with the shop that did this service for you. Your transmission is not “clogged up”. You have not indicated that you are having any issues with your transmission. If you were just following the maintenance schedule, then the shop who told you that the transmission was clogged up may be setting you up for a much bigger, unneeded repair in the near future.

If you do need a complete fluid exchange due to not following the recommended service schedule, the ATF must be drained first, the pan removed and cleaned, the filter replaced and the pan refilled, then the fluid exchange machine gets hooked up to flush out the torque converter and transmission body. If there is old ATf in the pan when the machine is hooked up, it will constantly contaminate the fresh fluid going in.

It’s possible what happened is the shop dropped and drained the pan, cleaned and inspected the pan for unusual amounts of metallic debris, hopefully replaced the filter, then added enough new fluid to re-fill it. That process only drains about 1/2 of the fluid out, the rest remains in the transmission in nooks and crannies. Then after a few weeks or months of driving, bring it back in and well repeat the same process, drain all the fluid out we can and re-fill. At which point you’ll have almost all completely new fluid.

If that’s what happened, nothing wrong w/that.

If the first time they did this, they didn’t drop the pan and clean and inspect it, if that’s something relatively easy to do on your tranny, suggest to have that done the second time the do this.

Yes, dropping and cleaning the pan, and refilling it only replaces 1/3 to 1/2 of the fluid. Do that every 30,000 to 50,000 miles and you’ll be fine.

Opinions will vary.

Never flush a transmission. I agree with JoeMario and that’s the best way to go when servicing a transmission. Replace the filter if it has one.

The OP does not mention any problem, so I’d suspect that he only needs a filter and fresh fluid…not a flush.

The shop may have added something that will help with what they feel is a clogged up transmission.
We don’t have their side of the story and should not condemn them with so little info.
The OP could have also misinterpreted what the mechanic meant.

I would not flush a transmission only because it may disturb a lot of sediment that will then be pumped through the tranny until the next filter change.

I wish that the OP would chime in and give us the full story.

Drive on and get another fluid and filter change as indicated in the owners manual.


I do not know what OP is, but I think it may mean me.
First of all, I am a 70 year old woman and I have come here to get the best advice I can because I am considring contacting the BBB. I am not condemning them. I just need some advice. As I understand it, this is what happened. My car was (and still is) sluggish. The only way I know how to explain it is that when some type of filter is not changed and gets dirty, the car starts jerking when I step on the gas, especially when driving it first time in the day and/or going up hills. Small inclines as well as steep. (That is the best way I know how to explain how the car is acting). I took the car to my regular mechanic and they drove it and said it was a transmission problem. Tke owner recommended I take it to the transmission place in a nearby city. I did take it in and they said they could not do anything until they received some type of fluid and had ordered it. They said they would call me when it came in. They said to drive the car in the meantime. It would not hurt the car. So a few weeks went by and I called them. The guy who answered the phone said he did not see it but it had been ordered and they wouldl call when it arrived. Another two weeks went by and I did not hear from them. I called back and a woman answered and promised she would run it down. She did and someone called me, the man who had ordered the fluid. He said to me something like this. “The order came in the day after Ii ordered it and I set it aside and forgot to call you. I’m sorry.” So I went to the place again to have my transmission serviced. The same guy who had ordered it and forgot to call me told me he did not put all the fluid in it and that it had not been serviced in awhile, he only put half in so the (again I don’t know how to explain it, but will try.) The “gunk” in it needed to losen up and to bring it back in two months for what I thought he said was a full flush. So far, I had been quoted a price of $100 to $125. Then the quote went up to $149 and I ended up paying $169 and was told to bring it back in two months to the tune of another $255. Since then I started thinking about what happened and it does not sound right. An apology is not fixing my transmission or saving me money.

This may not be the place to talk about the service. However, I tried to keep it short in the first post because I thought that was the best and quickest way.

I have since taken the car into my mechanic who checked it thoroughly, since there is no difference ini the way it drives, and an employee of my mechanic said he had problems with the business and ended fixing his transmission himself. He advised a full flush. For the second time, my mechanic or his employee told me nothing is wrong except the transmission problem.

I just wanted to know if this was normal or was the guy just trying to get more money out of me. I am taking the car to someone else on Monday.

That is the best way I can explain. I hope this helps. Keep giving me your thoughts and advice because obviously I don’t know what I am doing.

The symptoms you’re describing, the jerking and sluggishness going up an incline, sound more like a clogged fuel filter or air filter. I would be very suspicious of your transmission mechanic. It sounds like he’s taking advantage of you.

I agree with My 2 Cents, but I want to add that it is very possible that the transmission needs servicing at this point anyway.

For katiemc’s benefit, I will mention that the transmission fluid and filter should be changed every 3 years or 30k miles, whichever comes first, and that the same type of fluid specified by the vehicle manufacturer is the only type of fluid that should be used. If anyone tells you that he can add some type of additive to a generic trans fluid, and that this is the same as using the mfr’s specified fluid, do NOT believe him.

Get another opinion. Anyone that tells you the transmission was clogged up and needs to loosen up before a full flush should be avoided.

If a transmission was literally “clogged up” then your transmission is toast anyway; assuming anyone buys into that kind of hokey diagnosis.

The big question right now is whether the transmission is low on fluid and if the bucking and jerking is caused by low fluid. If so, the transmission is being damaged and possibly to the point of needing to be rebuilt.

Katiemc, I don’t know exactly what “OP” stands for, but I think it means “original poster,” and that is you.
I agree with My 2 Cents in that I don’t know why your “regular mechanic” jumped to transmission problem based on the info in your second post. It seems like there would be some easier tasks your regular mechanic could do before sending you to a transmission shop in another town.

Secondly, were you overdue for a transmission service? If so, how do you determine when periodic maintenance tasks are due? I only ask because you may be missing other maintenance tasks. If you have a good relationship with your mechanic and you feel he/she is competent, you may want to talk with them about other stuff that may be overdue once this issue is resolved. Try to stay with tasks that are in your owner’s manual.

And finally about the transmission shop. ok4450 is correct about the transmission shop. A “transmission shop” that has to order transmission fluid (or any kind of fluid they need to perform transmission work) should also be avoided.

Yes Katiemc, you are the OP or original poster. It might help if we had a little more information to begin with. How many miles do you have o the Chevy Aveo? Have you owned this car since new or is it newly acquired? Have you noticed the decrease in performance as the Aveo was never a very good performer in the first place.

To all those who helped me with your comments: Thank you. It turns out that the glitch is in the engine. I did get my transmission serviced and it cost $192.00 vs. the $255 the other guy wanted. I am going to try to get the money back from the first guy. The original transmission person really did take advantage of me. Thank you all again.

I don’t think the transmission shop owes you a refund. They did not do the diagnosis. You brought it in for a transmission service and that is what they did. It may not have solved your immediate problem, but the first mechanic who suggested that it needed the service was probably right. He probably notice the off color ATF. You needed this service to extend the life of your car, but it just didn’t solve the immediate problem.

The cost of this service may not have been out of line either. If they drained and refilled the transmission and put in a new filter and pan gasket, the parts and ATF could have cost nearly a hundred bucks by itself.

Servicing the transmission is all part of car ownership and it needs to be done on schedule, just like oil changes, filter changes and tune ups. You were not take advantage of. But you do have a valid complaint in that the first mechanic did not deliver the service you requested, which was to find out why the car was sluggish. Who ever found the glitch in the engine should be your mechanic from now on. Use him for all your service, including oil changes. He may cost a little more for oil changes that a quick lube place, but he will save you money in the long run.