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Shifting Issues: Get Transmission Fluid Change

By Junior Damato, November 5th, 2016

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2001 BMW X5 with the 4.4-liter engine has been meticulously maintained and is still perfect at 100,000 miles, except when stopping. That's when the automatic transmission downshifts from second to first gear. It feels as if the transmission is hesitating and it makes a clunk noise. It only happens when the engine is hot. If I slow down slowly and let off the brake just at the right moment, then I can hardly feel the hesitation of slowing down. I tried adding Lucas transmission additive but it didn't work. This car has a closed system and the fluid is supposed to be lifetime. Can you help? Gary

Manufacturer photo: 2001 BMW X5
Manufacturer photo: 2001 BMW X5

strong>Dear Gary: First start with a full-transmission fluid change. If the filter is a paper element, then change it. If it is a metal screen, then just clean it. I would also use factory-BMW fluid, not a universal -- and do not add additives to it. I have seen transmission complaints on many other vehicles like this with a full service making a big difference. If this service does not make a difference, then you should go to a transmission shop.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2002 Chevy Express van with the 5.7-liter engine with 120,000 miles. I had the fuel pump changed two months ago due to a faulty fuel gauge sending unit. On the next trip on the road through the mountains, the engine service light started flickering and there were multiple misfires. The diagnostic code came back as an EVAP issue. The mechanic changed the sensor/pressure control under warranty of the fuel pump. The light reset for one day then came back on. The mechanic said it may be the connector and changed it after receiving the part. The light will not clear. James

strong>Dear James: For a "check engine" light not to clear indicates a continuing fault code. It sounds like either a wire issue, power, or ground issue. It could also perhaps be that the connector is wired wrong, or even a faulty sensor in the circuit since the code is related to the EVAP fuel system. Have your technician call Identifix with this problem. I know this problem can be fixed.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 1994 Mazda Miata with its airbag warning light on. Mazda does not make the module anymore, but this is a safety feature. Are they not liable to supply it? What should I do? Peter

strong>Dear Peter: It is not a liability on Mazda for not having the module or making it any longer. What you can do is check with the local auto salvage yards. You can also contact Myairbags.com in Duluth, Ga., to inquire whether they can rebuild your airbag module.

strong>Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2016 Jeep Compass with a 2.4-liter engine. It came with one year of free oil changes every five months or 5,000 miles. It uses Pennzoil 5-20 conventional oil. As a loyal reader of your column, I follow your recommendation of changing oil every three months or 3,000 miles. How is it that the dealer recommends the five-month or 5,000-mile oil change interval using conventional oil? Joe

strong>Dear Joe: Today's engine oils are far superior than just as few years ago. The engines also burn cleaner. Engine temperatures are also hotter and engine RPMs are much lower because of the extra transmission gears. After the warranty go to the oil change interval that makes you feel comfortable. You can even switch to full-synthetic oil and change the oil twice a year.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with Forward Collision Warning. I would like to know at what distance the audible warning alert should sound. Also, how many feet do I have before I would hit something? I can't get an answer from the dealer. Leo

strong>Dear Leo: I cannot tell you at what distance and speed the Jeep's audible alert will signal. I can tell you vehicle speed will affect the distance that the warning alerts you. This is a question that you would need to write to Jeep about, and address it to the technical engineering department.

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