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Q: Transmission problem?

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I have an 08 Mazda 6 and when my car shifts from 3rd to 4th, there is a jolt. I'm wondering how bad of a transmission problem it is and if I have to get it fixed ASAP?

A: Hello, thanks for writing in. I will be gla...

Hello, thanks for writing in. I will be glad to assist you with your question about your Mazda 6 transmission.

There is some anecdotal evidence, albeit limited in amount, that the shift issue you are experiencing is not an unusual or unknown issue with this transmission. Apart from consumer reports on the Internet, a consumer filed this Complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013. I think you will find the consumer’s account informative. There are a variety of potential technical causes for your problem involving not only the issue identified in the below NHTSA report but also possible faults with shift solenoids, valve body components, the clutch pack(s), and the programming of the PCM/TCM.

Just to be sure you are not overlooking simple, accessible measures, do make absolutely sure the fluid level in the transmission is correct. If not correct, that could cause a problem with shifting. If you have over 100,000 miles on the vehicle, there is a possibility that changing the transmission fluid and filter might help but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high (it is harmless maintenance and should be done anyway). Shift shock, as this issue is often termed, is not incredibly helpful to the vehicle drivetrain but it would have to be really severe to cause damage. It will not damage the engine for sure and even if it damages the transmission, if this issue is not resolvable via any ordinary diagnostics, you’ll end up having to change the transmission anyway.

To get further insight, I would strongly recommend taking the below NHTSA report to the service center at a Mazda dealer(s) and ask the mechanics to identify the technical issue and try to fill you in. I have done this before and they can be informative. In other words, just make an inquiry. If they can just simply honestly and collegially tell you what the technical issue is (again, it is apparently a known issue) at least you will then have a way of determining if a component can be replaced or if the whole transmission will have to be replaced. If you elect to install a rebuild, be sure you buy a rebuild from an OEM Mazda dealer, as Mazda is likely to have already addressed the issue in their rebuild program given their first hand technical knowledge of the transmission. You (or YourMechanic) can always buy from a dealer and have YourMechanic do the installation to keep the cost reasonable. Let us know how we can assist further. Hope this helps and best of luck!

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