Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Transmission doesn't work when it's cold

asked by on

My transmission doesn't work when it is cold. I have to heat up my car first. The Service Engine light is on. The car is still driveable, I just have to turn it on, pump the gas a little, and it works normally.

Sounds like its almost time for a transmission rebuild. An automatic transmission has rubber seals inside similar to o-rings. These seals get hard over time and no longer do their job. Letting the car heat up also heats up the transmission fluid. This makes the rubber seals pliable again and they start working. Eventually the transmission will fail completely. The usual repair is a rebuild. There are two types of builds. A soft build that just includes seals, band, and clutches. This is done if there is no hard part damage. If it is determined that hard part damage did occur, then a hard build is necessary. This is usually more expensive because of the hard parts that need to be replaced during the build. The torque converter is also replaced during any build as it houses fluid that cannot be removed. The last thing you want is old fluid and debris in your newly build transmission. I would have this repair performed by a qualified mechanic that specializes on transmission rebuilds.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do you tilt or extend the steering wheel?

Your steering wheel offers both telescopic and tilt operation. Tilting the wheel lets you get the perfect angle for driving safely. Here’s how to do both. To Tilt: Pull the lever on the bottom of the steering column down....

Q: Radiator out and car not starting.

Hello, you say your radiator went out so i am assuming that the radiator was leaking and the car overheated at one point. Water was probably added to top up the system so the car is drivable. If I am...

Q: Truck refuses to go into four-wheel drive

There is usually a certain procedure that is necessary for the switch to four wheel drive, such as selecting the neutral option on the transmission, or being stopped. If you have tried these and the vehicle still will not switch,...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...