Northwest Metro Denver

3686 W. 72nd Ave
Westminster, CO 80030
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 421-4140

(303) 421-4140

Southwest Metro Denver

SE Corner Mississippi & Pierce
1194 S. Pierce
Lakewood CO 80232
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 922-4102

(303) 922-4102

Lakewood 303-922-4102

Westminster 303-422-4140

Misdiagnosed Transmission Problems: You May Not Need a Rebuilt Transmission

When experiencing problems with your vehicle, some things are obvious, like a flat tire. Diagnosing other issues can be a bit more tricky. There are a number of different conditions that mimic transmission trouble and can lead an inexperienced technician to misdiagnose and recommend a transmission rebuild.

Protect yourself from this expensive and sometimes unnecessary repair by knowing what symptoms to look for, which ones can lead to misdiagnosis, and what questions to ask at the repair shop.

Misdiagnosed Transmission ProblemsSpeed Sensor

A faulty speed sensor can no longer transmit the vehicle’s speed to the transmission. When this happens, the transmission will automatically go into limp mode, allowing you to drive the vehicle still, although slowly, until you reach the repair shop. Other symptoms include the transmission revving higher before shifting gear, engaging into overdrive late or not at all, brakes feeling harder than normal when coasting, the speedometer behaving erratically, or the check engine light coming on periodically.


The solenoid is a major transmission component responsible for shifting gears. This part can be replaced in some vehicles by removing only the pan, avoiding the cost of a full transmission rebuild, or removing and reinstalling the transmission. However, certain vehicles do require full removal of the transmission to access the solenoid.

Temperature Sensor

Similar to the speed sensor, the temperature sensor, if it is reading too hot or cold, will trigger the transmission into limp mode. Other symptoms that could indicate this problem include poor fuel economy, black smoke from the engine, an engine that is overheating, and a check engine light.

Low Fluid Level

If the transmission fluid level is low and/or leaks, it can cause serious problems with gear shifting. If this is not corrected quickly, it can cause mechanical failure of the transmission and become an expensive repair. Any time you suspect a transmission problem, it’s best to have a transmission expert complete a service or flush instead of using a general auto shop. This will help ensure that you get a correct diagnosis for the problem.

Worn Engine Mounts

If an engine mount is worn or damaged, it can allow the engine to move and “slam” against the body of the vehicle when accelerating, making clunking or banging noises. Be aware that some repair shops could say the timing for shifting is off when the transmission is ok. If the problem isn’t correctly diagnosed and fixed, it can quickly cause a lot of damage to many parts of the vehicle, including the transmission.

Engine Misfire

An engine misfire can lead to the check engine light turning on. There are many reasons that a particular warning light can go on, including spark plug failure or engine misfire. This can create symptoms similar to a bad transmission, where it shudders during shifting.

Fuel Delivery System

When a vehicle doesn’t rev past a certain point, it can indicate a damaged fuel delivery system. However, sensors in the vehicle may monitor the accelerator of the pedal instead, leading to a misdiagnosis of transmission failure. If you hear a loud electrical clicking or whining when the engine is running, even at idle, chances are excellent the fuel delivery system is the culprit.

Restricted Air Flow

Air flow is critical for the proper performance of a vehicle. A failure in the catalytic converter can cause an exhaust system restriction and lack of acceleration. This may be due to a constant rich fuel mixture or antifreeze entering the combustion chamber. If the converter outlet becomes plugged, it will ultimately lead to a lack of power, causing misdiagnosis of a transmission problem.

Contact Us

If you are in the Denver area and have what seems to be a transmission problem, please contact us at Advanced Transmission Center. We can easily diagnose and make a proper recommendation for repair. Free towing is available if you aren’t able to drive to either of our two locations.

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Owner at Advanced Transmission Center | Website | + posts

Advanced Transmission Center is a Colorado-owned and operated auto repair shop with locations in Denver / Lakewood and Westminster. ATC specializes in driveline issues such as automatic transmission repair, four wheel drive repair, clutch replacement, differentials, manual transmissions and CVT. As Colorado's first AAA approved shop our goal is to provide accurate, timely service with exceptional customer satisfaction. All of our technicians are certified in the latest makes and models and we are one of the few transmission repair shops with a nationwide warranty.

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Our Commitment to You

Free towing is just one of the ways we strive to save you money on a major in-house repair such as a transmission rebuild. With our thorough TrueTest™ Inspection process, you will fully understand what is wrong with your car and only pay for the repairs you need.
Every transmission repair should start with a thorough and accurate diagnosis of the problem. Our multi-step TrueTest inspection procedures have been designed over decades to identify whether a minor repair can fix your issue or if a major repair is required.
We can turn around a transmission repair in as little as 2 days with our fast services! Our in-house rebuild department, expert technicians and strong vendor relationships help us get vehicles fixed ASAP. It also helps to have two local repair shops with identical operating procedures and quality standards.
After a major repair, you can take a breath and know Advanced Transmission Center has your back! We offer various warranty options (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, local or nationwide) and make sure any warranty claim is hassle-free for our customers.

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