P0897 OBD-II Trouble Code: Transmission Fluid Deteriorated

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Cost of diagnosing the P0897 code

P0897 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Transmission Fluid Deteriorated". This can happen for multiple reasons and a mechanic needs to diagnose the specific cause for this code to be triggered in your situation. Our certified mobile mechanics can come to your home or office to perform the Check Engine Light diagnostic. Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. All our repairs are backed by our 12-month / 12,000-mile warranty.

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P0897 code definition

The P0897 code is a generic powertrain code related to the transmission, including pressure faults and sensor failures. In this case, the engine control module (ECM) has detected a deteriorated condition for the transmission fluid.

Codes related to the P0897 include:

What the P0897 code means

A P0897 code is stored when the ECM detects that transmission fluid levels are far lower than manufacturer recommendations and may be harmful to the transmission.

The automatic transmission utilizes transmission fluid that is under a high pressure to change between gear ratios. If the ECM is sent a signal that the current gear ratio is not the one it specified. A code can be stored.

Note that code setting parameters will vary by make and model, so check your service manual for the correct specifications for your vehicle.

What causes the P0897 code?

Several problems may cause a P0897 code including:

  • Transmission fluid level is lower than manufacturer specifications
  • Transmission fluid is dirty or contaminated
  • Damaged or defective shift solenoids
  • Hydraulic blockage inside the transmission fluid passages
  • Damaged or defective transmission control module
  • Transmission failure
  • Damaged or defective ECM (rare)

What are the symptoms of the P0897 code?

Symptoms of a P0897 code may include:

  • Check engine or warning light may illuminate
  • Vehicle may shudder or shake
  • Vehicle may shift harshly
  • Vehicle may not shift in or out of gear
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • The transmission may overheat
  • May experience transmission slippage
  • The vehicle may not exhibit any symptoms at all

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0897 code?

A mechanic may use several methods to diagnose a P0897 trouble code, including:

  • Utilize an OBD-II scanner to check for a stored P0897 trouble code
  • Check transmission fluid levels and compare with manufacturer specifics for the vehicle’s make and model
  • Check quality of transmission fluid
  • If fluid is burned, check for contamination and debris in the transmission pan
  • Debris in the transmission pan is a signal that a total transmission rebuild, flush of fluids, and a new torque converter are required
  • Visually inspect the system for any shorted or burned wiring
  • Check if internal transmission harness replacement is needed
  • Check for any transmission fluid leaks
  • Use a manual pressure gauge to check transmission fluid pump pressure
  • Check shift solenoid reference and ground signals for signs of damage
  • If reference voltage or ground circuits are open, check for continuity and resistance

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0897 code

There are times when shift solenoids are incorrectly determined to be the cause of the P0897 when the problem is truly a transmission failure. It is recommended to fully diagnose any transmission related problems before replacing any shift solenoids.

How serious is the P0897 code?

Because a vehicle’s safe driving operation most likely will be impacted due to faults that store a P0897 code, this code is considered a potentially serious code. When this code appears, it is recommended to take your vehicle immediately to your local service center or mechanic for repair and diagnosis for safe driving.

What repairs can fix the P0897 code?

Several repairs can fix a P0897 trouble code and include:

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0897 code

Often, other gear-ratio-related trouble codes will accompany a P0897. It is always recommended to diagnose and repair trouble codes in the order in which they appear, as subsequent trouble codes may simply be a symptom of one above.

Need help with a P0897 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

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