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?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  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: Knocking noise in engine

If the engine has been running low on oil and you have over 178000 miles on it, you most likely spun a bearing on one of the rod bearings. An engine mechanic can isolate it to see if it can...

Q: I failed a smog check with the codes PO171 & PO174, saying the system is too lean on the bank 1 & 2. Can you tell me what the problem is?

Hi there. When the two codes P0171 and P0174 come up for a lean system on both banks of your engine, then either all of the fuel injectors are not working properly or your fuel pressure has dropped. Check the...

Q: I felt a jolt while driving - could it be a transmission issue?

Hi. This is a good indication that the transmission has overheated and damaged a lot of the internal parts of the transmission. This could have been caused by low transmission fluid or extremely dirty transmission fluid causing a cloth in...

Related articles

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...
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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...