Q: Transmission is shifting poorly, what’s causing this?

asked by on

I have a 2008 Ford Escape which, up until recently, has been pretty low-maintenance for the last 110,000 miles. Now the transmission has a hard time getting into the next gear and lurches when it finally shifts up. I am very familiar with how the automatic transmission in this car feels, and it felt pretty broken. What causes this to happen, and is it a sign of impending catastrophic failure?

It is possible that this is a sign of impending catastrophic failure but not a guarantee. First, check to see if your vehicle is leaking any fluid and if so, verify the type of fluid. If you find a leak and the fluid found is transmission fluid, that could be part of your issue. Transmission fluid leaks from the transmission cooler lines has been a common failure on some Ford Escapes. If no fluid is found to be leaking your issue could be related to your A/C condenser or an internal problem within the transmission. The reason the A/C condenser is a possibility is because instead of routing transmission fluid through the radiator to cool it, the transmission fluid is routed through the condenser instead. This is perhaps because the condenser is mounted further forward on the vehicle than the radiator and therefore gets more airflow. If the condenser is proven to be adequate, then unfortunately, the problem is likely the transmission itself. Some possible issues within the transmission include a clogged transmission filter, contaminated or wrong type of transmission fluid, or a faulty transmission valve body. I would recommend having a certified mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, perform a full inspection. Be aware of a prolonged inspection period, including a long test drive, for your vehicle so that the mechanic can experience the same faults that you do in your vehicle. After symptoms are verified and an inspection has been performed, then a proper repair can be made.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Transmission is shifting poorly, what’s causing this?

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: My key fob will not open my car doors or trunk. I inserted a new battery in the fob and that did not help. What cld be the proble

Based on your description, I believe that the first issue is the lack of programming for your new key fob. If the dealership told you that the key requires programming and that was not done, this is the reason that...

Q: I just had a water pump put in 2 weeks ago, now the fan belt is squealing and the water gauge is jumping around.

The fan belt squealing may simply be related to the belt just needing to be adjusted or lubed with some belt dressing. Your temperature gauge jumping around is a cause for concern and may or may not be related to...

Q: Unknown oil leak in a 2004 Mitsubishi Galant

It can be difficult to determine which fluid is leaking as transmission oil and engine oil eventually turn black if they have not been serviced. Power steering fluid is another common fluid leak most cars experience. A technician must first...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.