At only 31,000 miles, the automatic transmission in my 2011 Chevrolet Malibu is starting to die out on me. When you shift into drive, it takes a noticeable amount of time for it to do anything. Then, every shift seems like a huge effort. I'm worried that the transmission will need to be replaced and I'll be stuck with the bill. It's very disappointing, as I wanted a more reliable car! Any advice on troubleshooting before it gets to that point?
If you are out of warranty, you’ll need to have your vehicle checked for problems with a qualified technician such as YourMechanic. They can come to your home or office, perform a road test, check your transmission for mechanical or electrical issues, and service the transmission if issues are found. I’ve read that even a fluid service change can fix issues of slipping with the Malibu transmission. There are a few factors that may be contributing to your problem as well. One issue may be that an aftermarket adapter might have been left attached to the car’s computer access test port. This has caused problems with the way the vehicle runs and shifts. If an aftermarket adapter is in place, disconnect it to see if it fixes the problem. If you are losing reverse, or if the higher gears are slipping, it may be caused by a broken 3-5 wave plate. The entire transmission need to flushed out and the damaged parts need to be replaced. Another possible issue could be a brake light switch malfunction which causes the brake lights to work intermittently and at other times stay on. For this issue, a wiring harness repair is needed. This is a recall that may affect the transmission’s shifting. My recommendation would be to contact YourMechanic for a thorough diagnostic check before any major damage is caused by the slipping and slow up-shifts.
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