Question about 1995 Dodge Avenger

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1995 Dodge Avenger. 2.0 liter 4 cyl. 166K miles. The automatic transmission will shift down into a low gear and get stuck there. Can't change with the shift lever, accel/decel, O/D switch, etc. Have to stop, turn off the engine and start again. Worse when hot. Or if its in the low gear at a stop, it is hard to accellerate. Seems to slip until it gets up to speed. Bought the car used, so not sure if trans has ever been serviced. Should I have the filter and fluid changed? Why does shutting it off seem to reset it? Can any shop change the filter? Its not really worth getting the tranny rebuilt if that is what it needs. What do you advise?

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  • dtskellogg Sep 15, 2010

    Thank you for your advice. The fluid level is fine and the color is red and it doesn't smell burnt or anything. The check engine light does not come on. When the car and tranny are cold, it seems to work OK for about 10 minutes, then goes into its routine. Once it starts, you can only get it out of that low gear by shutting it off. But when you restart it, you have to make sure you feather the accelerator. Any abrupt accell or decell will trigger it to drop back down into that low gear. I talked to a transmission shop and they said to bring it in and they will put a scanner on it. I'm not sure what that does, but it seems like the next step. Any more advice? I will let you know what they say. Thank you! Jim



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It could be a couple of different things. Getting the tranny serviced will for sure not hurt anything. If the fluid is dark and not a pink color, then I would have the fluid and filter changed. The automatic transmission relay could be bad. This would explain you having to shut the car off and it resetting. I would take it to a Transmission shop to have it serviced. If the check engine light is on then you can take it to Autozone and they will run a diagnostics on it and tell you if the transmission relay is bad. But if the check engine light is not on then if the damage is not already done, then a fluid and filter should help. But I am pretty sure that your automatic transmission relay is bad.

Posted on Sep 14, 2010

  • Rodney Clark
    Rodney Clark Sep 15, 2010

    Yes I would take it in and have it put on the scanner. That machine will tell you exactly what is going on. I hope it is something simple like the relay, like I think it might be. I don't think they are more than $15-$25. Labor should not be much to put it in either. So GOOD LUCK!



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