Q: 4 days after dealership replaced headgasket I need a new transmission

asked by on September 29, 2016

I was told my head gasket needed to be replaced, and to do it before my warranty ran out. Last week I had the dealer do the work along with bg fuel system cleaner. The same dlr has been the only one to work on my car. 4 days later I tried to drive from Sacramento to Tahoe. I only made it 45 miles. On a slight hill my car would only accelerate to 40mph. No indicator lights showed on my display. I talked to the dealer and we agreed I would turn around and try to drive 50miles to the dealer. On the way down the hill, the check engine light flashed and eventually stayed on. Upon inspection, they said one of the ignition coils went bad. They replaced it, and I was back on the road to tahoe. I made it about 5 miles farther than the first time. But again, my car seemed to lose speed and could only go 40mph. No indicator lights EVER came on. I turned around again and drove back to the dealer. They say it's a mystery, but I need a new transmission. I asked about MAP sensor too, was told no.

My car has 95000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Fuel Injector Replacement $379.42 - $3631.88 Get a Quote
Car is slow to accelerate Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Hello. The sequence of events and multiple failures you are describing are unusual. To replace a head gasket at 95,000 miles is unusual, except in a circumstance where the engine was overheated at some point in its life. Because you are describing so many issues, before I get into detail and for your own protection and benefit going forward, I have to tell you that if a mechanic who is otherwise a stranger tells you that a part has to be replaced, you have to ask why and also ask for a specific diagnosis and test results (i.e., documentation or evidence).

Otherwise, there is a non-negligible probability that you are not going to get the best outcome - parts might be replaced or services performed that you do not need. So with regard to the head gasket, in order to fully understand the context here (and for you to fully understand, too) we would need to know why it was replaced.

You have mentioned that the mechanic encouraged you to do this work "before the warranty ran out." Yes, if the head gasket has in fact failed, that’s reasonable and prudent advice but they obviously knew it was work that they would be reimbursed for (they said it themselves) and so if you didn’t need a head gasket or it was cavalierly diagnosed, then obviously that is a problem. By the way, you should open the hood and be sure there is evidence that the gasket was actually changed out. Volkswagen Technical Services might not recommend a "fuel system cleaner." In fact, many vehicle manufacturers discourage these aftermarket gimmicks (there are a lot of them, cleaners, sealers, enhancers, you name it) which are more money makers than cleaners.

Broadly, if a fuel injector is so dirty that it needs to be "cleaned," the proper procedure is to remove the injector (preferably all of them) and they are send it out to specialized labs that use ultrasonic cleaning technologies to clean them. Furthermore, if the injector is dirty, the internal injector filter has to be replaced and those labs replace them. Filters are not cleanable with fuel system cleaner, particularly if there is solid particulate matter caught in the filter. That brings us to the Check Engine Light and the new coil.

If I understand your account correctly, that repair did not solve your issue and upon your return they newly announced, "congratulations, you need a new transmission!" and you need one to solve the mystery. Auto repair diagnostics are not always easy but there are some simple rules: if a mechanic seriously tells you that the malfunction your car is experiencing represents a mystery and consequently they are stumped, run for the exits. A car is fixed, unalterable collection of mechanical and electronic components that operate with SPECIFICITY. There is no mystery at all and there never will be. The human body is a definite mystery.if your doctor tells you, whew, you got me on that symptom, that’s understandable (happens all the time). But, no way on a car. Cars are much simpler and the number of "cells" is much smaller.

Based on your overall account, you appear to need a new mechanic. That mechanic will take it from the top, look for the head gasket, look at the present codes if any, and if your transmission is implicated, look at that, too. You might want to have another mechanic take a look at the car for you before moving forward with a repair. A certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the acceleration problem in order to have this corrected.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Engine shaking when driving and put into gear.

Hi There, This may be related to a number of possibilities such as low transmission fluid, a bad transmission control solenoid or potentially a malfunctioning transmission control module. This may also be caused by a faulty throttle position sensor in...

When car is shifted into drive car will not go forward when pressing gas it just rev the engine.But when shifted into reverse car

Hello, thank you for writing in. The color and condition of the transmission fluid should be a huge indicator. Low transmission fluid is one of the leading causes of issues with the transmission. You will want to start by refilling...

P0121 02 vw beetle

You will need to have codes cleared and then the system tested again to see if it runs good or codes return. If the problem is still there then monitor data for the AAP1 and AAP2 on scanner to see...

Steering wheel grinding and vibration - 2011 Land Rover LR4

Hey there. It is possible that you have a tie rod end that may be wearing out. The steering system is under greater strain when the vehicle is stopped or at low speeds compared to when driving at higher speeds....

Warning lights came on, and I received code P0442 and the gas cap appears to be broken

A P0442 fault indicates a leak in the evaporative emissions system, or EVAP system for short. You are already on the correct path by checking the gas cap first. This is the most common reason for this fault, though it...

My engine is running too lean

Hi there. The high octane gas should not cause this; the new air intake definitely could, though. With more air entering the engine, the computer sensor readings are going to be thrown off. I would recommend that you first make...

Knocking from the engine

Although it is unlikely to be the cause, I would recommend checking your engine oil level. If your oil level is low, the engine will not be lubricated sufficiently enough to function properly and will therefore make knocking sounds as...

My friend's car is vibrating

The symptoms you described do make it sound like an issue with the torque converter. It sounds like, while you're driving, the torque converter lock up clutch is slipping occasionally, causing the vibration to happen. It is possible that there...

on my bmw the engine malfunction light came on plus the warning message engine malfunction reduced engine power displayed and sin

You will need to have the computer scanned for failure codes since there may be over 100 possible codes that will point to the cause of the problem. You will then have a better idea why the vehicle will not...

Related articles

A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle
Although Although it may be one of the most recognizable cars on the road, thanks to its unique design, perhaps you’ve never considered owning a Volkswagen Beetle before. There are a number of reasons the 2012 model should have you...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
In In the second year of the completely redesigned new Jetta, Volkswagen continued its campaign to bring a more affordable compact car to the market and to further raise the bar on their US sales numbers. The base model 2012...
A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan
If If you’re in the market for a concept SUV, you’ve probably noticed a few more options sprouting up every year. However, the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan should still make the decision a relatively easy one. Key Features Being compact means...