Transmission Slips - Only 35k Miles

I purchased this car about 2 1/2 years ago from my mother-in-law who doesn’t drive. The car sat in the garage for 6 years since my father-in-law passed away. When I bought it, the car had only 20,000 miles (not a typo). I replaced all of the tires, new car battery, and changed all of the fluids (radiator, brake, oil, and transmission). About a week ago, I drove about 10 miles and at the stop light, the transmission slipped. The car wouldn’t move while it was on Drive. I changed the gears and nothing happened. I turned off the engine and restarted the car and was able to drive about a mile and it happened again. It happened several times. Someone told me to check the transmission fluid and it was low and I’ve added about a quart and a half. Before I added the transmission fluid, I started the car and while in park, I noticed that the “Reverse” gear is noisy (clicking and clacking noises) and the car would not go in reverse. After putting in the transmission fluid, the noise stopped and the reverse gear worked fine. I thought the problem was fixed. Then, yesterday, I drove only 5 miles and the transmission slipped again. Any thoughts on what the problem is? Do I really need to replace the transmission with only 35,000 miles on it or do a transmission flush and replace the gasket and filter? I’ve added a quart of the Lucas Transmission Fix and hope it will lubricate the inner seals. 1991 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder automatic transmission with 35,000 miles Thanks for your replies.

First of all, never, EVER, EVER put that Lucas junk in an automatic transmission. That thick gooey junk will do more harm than good. This vehicle might be low in miles but it is still a 19 year old vehicle which has also sat for 6 years. More than likely the clutch piston seals have hardened and are leaking. Heres what I would do. I normally dont recommend flushes unless the fluid is contaminated but since you have Lucas in there, I would consider it contaminated. Drop the pan, change the filter and flush the trans then add 1 can of Berrymans B-12 Chemtool. This will soften the clutch piston seals and help restore hydraulic integrity to the transmission. If the problem is indeed hardened piston seals, you should be able to get away with adding a can every couple of months.


The first thing I would do is replace the filter and gasket. Make sure there are no transmission fluid leaks as well. Transmissions in these cars rarely fail, so this comes as a bit of a surprise to me. Hopefully operating it low on fluid did not damage it too badly. It doesn’t take much of that to ruin an automatic transmission.

I would try flush first however this transmission is nearly 20 years old!

35k miles is irrelevant as age matter more here.