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I have a 2003 Toyota Rav4 and since Monday it started to jerk while driving. I added transmission fluid but still jerking. Also when I shift gears from drive to reverse it jerks and makes a loud sound. What should I do?

Auto or Standard? It may not be the transmission

Why did you add fluid? Was the transmission fluid level low?

You didn’t say you checked it, just that you added fluid.

How many miles on your RAV-4? Has the transmission ever been serviced?

I took it for an oil change and they added the fluid. They also mentioned it was low. It has 113,000 miles on it and no I’ve never serviced the transmission.


Why have you not serviced the transmission in 113k miles??? Automatics need to be serviced every 25-30k miles. Most people tend to forget about servicing their transmissions until they start to act up then and only then do they service it and hope for the best. Most of the time its way too late, they have closed the barn door after the horses escaped. You can try a full service, meaning a fluid and filter change and dont forget use ONLY Toyota fluid. Dont be surprised, you have severly neglected the trans and it might not come back. You can have it scanned for codes which might be the cause of the harsh shifting but the noise??? THAT doesnt look good. With the fluid being low, we know there is a leak somewhere. Regular servicing probably would have caught a low fluid condition early reducing the possibility of damage. Low fluid will severely damage a transmission.


Why have you not serviced the transmission in 113k miles???

Likely because the fool manufacturer did not list any service for the transmission.

Let me clarify, I do take my vehicle in for oil changes every 3 months or 3,000 miles as required.

Thats great so the engine is well maintained but what about the transmission?? One of the most expensive components of your vehicle. It costs LESS to service your transmission every 25-30k than it costs to change your engine oil every 3k miles.


Why do people continue to believe that simply changing their oil is a panacea for all automotive problems?

How does an oil change affect the functioning of the transmission, or the differential, or the cooling system, or the brake hydraulic system, or the wheel bearings, or… of a car?
Answer: It has nothing to do with the other operating systems of the car.

This is the automotive equivalent of saying, “How could I have problems with my knees? After all, I do take medication for my cholesterol and my blood pressure!”

Ergo–one part of the human body or an automobile usually has very little to do with the functioning of the other parts of that body or that automobile.

Ur comments were no help at all. Instead of helping with possible steps to take all you did was blah blah blah… Whatever!

Good luck with your new transmission, I hope you take a little better care of it.


Here are my recommended steps, which you will hopefully not misinterpret as “blah, blah, blah”:

  1. Take the car to an independent transmission shop–NOT to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other chain operation.

  2. Ask to have your transmission fluid and filter changed, and also ask them to evaluate the transmission if they observe that the symptoms remain after the fluid & filter change.

  3. While the car is in the shop, begin praying very hard to whatever God you worship, in an effort to avoid the probable diagnosis of “you need to have your transmission rebuilt”.

  4. With your next car, change the transmission fluid and filter every 3 yrs or 30k miles (whichever comes first), and then you won’t have to deal with the “blah, blah, blah” from the folks in this forum, like me.

Thank you VDCdriver. I actually took my vehicle in and they did flush the transmission fluid and changed the filter. The good news is I did not need a new transmission! Yay! I also got a tune up and am well informed of what maintenance I will need moving forward.