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Q: Does my transmission need to be replaced?

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Out of no where my car stops and starts making horrifying loud grinding noises and will not accelerate so we parked it and went back later and it did fine in all gears except drive and it wasn't as near as loud as before. What would you say the problem is? Thanks in advance

My car has 3600 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Your supposition is correct: extremely loud grinding type noises, accompanied by actual failure to gain acceleration, and subsequent loss of function in "drive" likely means that the transmission and/or the torque converter has failed. It is hard to say what the failure is due to, in terms of the individual transmission component, without taking it apart but there are a variety of bearings in there, such as "needle" bearings, that can come apart, there are hydraulically actually clutch packs, there are teeth on gears that can break, and so forth. You might check the fluid level, just in case a really low level has anything to do with this occurrence. But, given the amount of noise you are describing even if the fluid was extremely low, and was the "cause", there is likely permanent mechanical damage. Replacing a transmission these days is not as foreboding as it might seem. The key is to find a shop though that actually knows what they are doing plus are willing to do it according to the INSTRUCTIONS. That actually is the hard part. As always, the recommendation is to "replace it yourself" if you want it done properly (I’m not being facetious; the only known, proven way to get it done according to the INSTRUCTIONS is to do it yourself; a fallback position is to have the repair done through YourMechanic because you can personally observe the work, ask questions, and interact with the Mechanic as opposed to working with a shop where they will use the excuse, "sorry, insurance requirements prevent you from seeing what we are doing and actually understanding the diagnosis"..LOL). At any rate, to get your problem solved, what I would recommend is have a certified Mechanic confirm the source of the noise during a transmission noise diagnostic. If the noise is coming from the transmission (by the way, includes the differential in your case), in certain locales a YourMechanic specialist can do a transmission replacement. In all events, do NOT replace your transmission with a junkyard, salvage, or "used" transmission unless the same is fully tested and has an exceptional "guarantee". You will end up paying double in the end as you install it and then have to remove it or diagnose the used transmission’s "problems". Even rebuilds can be a problem but if you buy a rebuilt from a REPUTABLE vendor, you can reduce the risk of problems. Never re-use the torque converter and in your circumstance you will have to very, very carefully and thoroughly clean out the cooling lines (that go through the radiator) because of the possibility of foreign material having entered those lines if the transmission failed. If you have other questions or concerns related to this, by all means re-contact us and we will be glad to advise you further.

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