Something is wrong with my transmission. I just bought this vehicle, but not from a dealer. I have noticed that it has a faint burning smell after I drive it. Today I started it, put it in drive and there was a slight clunk then it didn’t want to move. I pushed the gas and drove about 200 ft. I also noticed at this time that there was a fluid light on that wasn’t on before. I called a friend who told me to put transmission fluid in which I did. It still had the same problem. So, I drove it in reverse about 1000 ft and parked it. Then, I decided to see if it would go forward which it did. I drove it 3 blocks to a store and bought more fluid. When I left the store, same problem, drove it in reverse a few feet again then it would drive forward, but hesitantly. I drove about a mile, mile and a half home and by the time I got home, it was driving without problem. The question I have is, have I ruined my transmission?

You need to first make sure the fluid level is right. Get it on a level surface when the engine is hot and check the level with the dip stick. Dont just dump fluid in there without checking the level. Overfilling it is just as bad as it being underfilled.


Are you sure your buying the correct fluid? My 2000 Ford Explorer requires Mercon V. I’ve been told that putting Mercon III or IV will ruin the transmission.

It sounds like they dumped a car with known transmission problems on you. You didn’t have a mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection, I assume? And do you have any warranty from the place where you bought it?

What exactly is the “fluid light” that you mentioned? Was the transmission fluid low before you added some? What color is the fluid at this point?

First thing you need to do (already suggested) and MOST important is to check the transmission fluid level. Engine needs at normal temp, and with the engine running check the dipstick fluid level (the one that has the Ball tip on the top end of the stick and held down with a small metal clip. The transmission fluid is added right there at the dipstick tube with a funnel. Just in case you have confused it with the engine oil filler cap. Next, wipe the dipstick clean with a paper towel, and reinsert it all the way down and remove it for a reading. Normal level will show in the hash marked area. IF you have overfilled the transmission you can severely harm your transmission and will cause the symptoms you are describing. WITH THE ENGINE OFF you can insert a small plastic tube into the dipstick housing and syphon to get out any overfill you may have. The color should be pink or light red and if you smell the fluid on the stick it should be free from a burnt smell. If burnt smell appears you have a serious trans problem. Check with the manual or call dealer for the right type fluid. Some Villigers use the ford type xmission fluid and others need the Nissan type. It may be that it is other than the transmission. If the fluid is good then it might be the torque converter or the CV joint or even linkage adjust. You are best to ask some friends to recommend a trustworthy shop. Sounds like you are a first time car buyer. Good luck to you and may this experience, as many of us have learned (including myself) is to have a competent mechanic look over and test any car before you buy. wish you the best. hope i have been of some help.

Automatic transmissions use hydraulic fluid pressure to engage the clutches.

When the fluid level gets too low to fully engage the clutches, they slip and the tremendous heat from friction develops a glaze over them and they can no longer hold. This also dumps friction material into the remaining fluid and circulates it into the torque converter, ruining it as well.

You need a new transmission and torque converter. You could have yours rebuilt, but few people are ever happy with that experience.