When Engine Problems Feel Like Transmission Problems

When Engine Problems Feel Like Transmission Problems

You’re driving down the road, when all of a sudden a light on the dash starts flashing. And now the car barely accelerates; the transmission seems to be starting in high gear and it won’t shift. Oh, no! You’re going to need a new transmission!

No, probably not. Those conditions usually indicate a computer system problem, not a transmission failure.
The fact is, nearly every system in today’s cars is controlled by computer, and most of those computers are networked together, sharing information as you drive. That level of control makes for really efficient operation and performance.
But it also creates a problem: That integration between the control systems means that a problem in one system can affect every other system around the car.

What does that mean to you? It means that your “transmission” problem could actually be caused by a faulty brake light switch, a loose wire on an engine load sensor, a faulty vehicle speed sensor, or dozens of other sensors or switches that might not seem to have anything to do with the transmission at first glance.

How do you know whether you’re dealing with a transmission problem or a problem in one of the many related systems? You can’t. Without special equipment, education, and experience, no one can.

That’s why, when you notice a problem with your transmission’s operation, your best bet is to take your car to a nearby ATRA Member repair shop. Their technicians are equipped, educated, and experienced in diagnosing today’s vehicle control systems, and will be able to pinpoint the root cause of your car’s problem.

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