Question about 1999 Volkswagen Jetta

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Transmission staying in 3rd gear - 1999 Volkswagen Jetta

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  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    transmission staying in 3rd gear, what does this mean??



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Hi, sounds like it's in limp mode. This can happen even when you just change the transmission oil, let alone for other problems.

Firstly, I would disconnect the battery overnight if you can. Reconnect it and drive. If you're lucky, the TCM will reset and clear the memory of errors it's picked up.

If problem persists, and you are not having any warning lights come on, then it may be something such as the input speed sensor, or the shift solenoid pack. These can get gummed up and sometimes varnished if old oil. put in something like seafoam transtune and let it remain in your tranny for a week or so. If the car is still stuck in 3rd, run the engine and keep shifting through the gears for about 15 minutes, this will work the solenoid.
If it is the solenoid, what you will notice is when the engine is reset, and you put it in srive, there's no jolt or jump. When the car is in limp mode, it will give you a slight jump into gear like it is seeking to lurch forward.

If you are lucky, then this may ease off over a week. The other thing is, when did you last change the transmission oil?

Before you start changing parts on the car, after disconnecting and reconnecting the battery, take the car to a parts supplier like o'reillys and ask to use their engine fault diagnostic tool. This will give you the codes of faults which you can look up.

If you end up finding some faults with the ECM, TCM, etc, shop around for module suppliers as the factory ones are very expensive.

Lastly, if its mechanical, then you'll have no option but to take it into a trusted transmission repair shop who'll be able to run a road test.

good luck.

Posted on Jul 25, 2009

  • jerromey Sep 04, 2011

    Thank you very much, your suggestion re: trans.stuck in 3rd gear was my problem after I changed my starter disconnected battery.My mechanic that purchased vehicle from could not tell me why car would stay in third.I had just also had the trans. fluid changed three weeks ago.Vehicle is a 1999 Jetta with auto and 128,000 miles.I did drive the veh manually shifting the gears and after 15-20 mins the car finally hit 4th gear & shifted by it's self.I did put a 1/2 pint of sea foam in it and she shifted nice going to work this morning.I just wish I could add a 5th gear to this car with out changing the tran.If there is a inexspensive way could you please let me know.Thanks Joe H from Eden N.y.


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1999 honda accord dx 4cyclinder when slowing down and getting back to the gas sometimes the trans dont fill like it dounshifts fast enough and check engine light comes on

Posted on Dec 09, 2009


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SOURCE: 2004 mazda 3 transmission problem

Check transmission fluid. If that is full, try changing the fuel filter. It could be starving for gas, and trying to shift but can't. It could also be the speed sensor, or shift solenoid.

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SOURCE: nissan sentra auto transmission won't shift

I'm afraid your transmission is in lock-up mode. Do the basics...check oil level and condition then try removing the battery negative terminal for 10 minutes then put it on let the car idle for 10minutes and then go for a drive to see. If problem still there then you;ll have to bring it to your local dealer for a transmission diagnostic.

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SOURCE: 92 chevy s10 4x4 4.3L manual transmission no 3rd gear


Your transmission has 3 shift rails...
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If your 3rd gear doesn't work , you have an internal transmission problem, such as a syncronizer, or similar fail... There is not much you can fix, without removeing the transmission.

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SOURCE: transmission wont shift out of 3rd

is the check engine light on?

Posted on Mar 16, 2010

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