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Old 09-19-2011, 04:29 PM
 
220 posts, read 496,559 times
Reputation: 326

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I'm not sure "goes out" is the right term, but -

I've been told my transmission is on its last legs.

But I HAVE to make a 9 hour drive back home. I'm going to drive with my legs and fingers crossed, but, I really want to know what to expect to actually happen if my transmission goes caput.

Will I stall out on the freeway?
Will I get stuck going 70 mph and not be able to slow down?
Will I get stuck going 10 mph and not be able to speed up?

Should I stop and rest the car every 3 hours or so? Or would that make any difference at all?

Assuming that something might happen to me while I'm driving, what exactly would it be?

Thanks so much!
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
1,593 posts, read 2,280,846 times
Reputation: 1099
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily0fthevalley View Post
I'm not sure "goes out" is the right term, but -

I've been told my transmission is on its last legs.

But I HAVE to make a 9 hour drive back home. I'm going to drive with my legs and fingers crossed, but, I really want to know what to expect to actually happen if my transmission goes caput.

Will I stall out on the freeway?
Will I get stuck going 70 mph and not be able to slow down?
Will I get stuck going 10 mph and not be able to speed up?

Should I stop and rest the car every 3 hours or so? Or would that make any difference at all?

Assuming that something might happen to me while I'm driving, what exactly would it be?

Thanks so much!
Well, to answer your questions in order: yes; no; yes; no and no; exactly what happens is the transmission fails to transfer the engine's rotation to the wheels--the engine will turn but the wheels won't. Therefore you call a tow truck and then make the decision to repair or buy a different car.

What makes the person who told you it's on the last legs think that? What's it doing now?

P.S. It's a generally a very bad idea to set out on a long journey when you have signs of imminent trouble. You can make matters worse necessitating more expensive repairs, or end up stranded.

If in doubt, rent a car.

Last edited by Thegonagle; 09-19-2011 at 05:02 PM..
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,405 posts, read 11,982,778 times
Reputation: 5138
Like any mechanical equipment, it can fail in a hundred different ways. Your description of it being "On it's last legs", doesn't give enough information to make an educated guess..
Who gave you that information? Do they know what they are talking about, or just some hack trying to sell something, or was it is a trusted, knowledgeable transmission technician?
Did you ask him if the car has 500 more miles in it? What is the make and model? Is it high mileage, can it be repaired, or does it need a complete rebuild? What are the symptoms of the problem? Slipping, making noise, leaking?
A faulty transmission may go for years, or minutes, depending on what the problem is.
These are questions for the tech who gave you the information, or perhaps get a second opinion before beginning a long trip.
The most important question, do you have a towing service...!! Do you feel lucky..?
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:16 PM
 
8,322 posts, read 22,481,894 times
Reputation: 8065
Is there a particular sympton that you are currently experiencing that caused you to have someone check out the transmission?

Are they are trans shop or an automotive shop with the ability to properly diagnose a problem area with the transmission? How did they test the transmission?
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
First, make, model, and year of car please. I'm guessing automatic trans?

Who told you the trans is on it's last legs? Any reason to think they know what they are talking about? Any symptoms like the engine revving but car not moving (which gear?) or very jerky engagement?

If it's only acting up in overdrive, it's possible that you can just lock out the overdrive and drive home in straight drive. You might want to avoid the Interstate to avoid long periods of high RPM but so long as you keep in within reason you will burn a little more gas and make a little more noise but that's about it.

Frequently, an A/T will start to slip when it's about worn out. *If* this is what's happening to you, if you pick a route with few hills and drive at a moderate speed, that should maximize your odds of getting home without drama.

I'd get AAA or similar towing package before setting out on the trip. Get the "heavy duty" membership with 100 miles of free towing, and find out what shops are along the way that might be able to fix the car if it breaks down during the trip.

One thing you do *not* want to do, is add one of those "mechanic in a can" products to the fluid. This can overfill the transmission, and definitely will damage some Toyota transmissions. Although, do check the fluid level or find someone who can do that for you, if you are just a little low that can cause slipping too.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:56 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,760 posts, read 18,084,357 times
Reputation: 10312
I have had 3 transmissions die over the years. On two of them, when starting off from a stop, it would slip, so the engine raced and it didn't move. After a while it would start moving and eventually go well enough to limo to a nearby garage or home to await a tow. Not safe to drive that way, think about crossing traffic at a stop sign.

On the third, I heard a loud clank, and after that it drove but skipped from first two third. That meant going from acceleration to too high a gear so that up hill it was lugging, again not real safe but able to go. The longer you run that way the more it will end up costing to repair, as metal gets into the fluid and moves around inside. "Last legs" doesn't mean you cannot drive it, just be prepared to stop and get a two when it does start to fail.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:22 AM
 
1,670 posts, read 2,696,591 times
Reputation: 615
If it's slipping also pay attention to when it's about to shift and let off the gas as to let it not be under as much pressure to shift
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,393 posts, read 15,994,245 times
Reputation: 5044
I had an SUV go through a couple of transmissions, since it was a disastrous combination of engine and transmission that was prone to failure. When the transmissions were failing, it would rev much higher before changing gears, and there was a shudder and it would go into gear. Sometimes, when making a quick stop, it would be out of gear and would not move until it was put in neutral or park, then placed in drive again. When the first transmission was going, it was replaced within a week or so, since the symptoms were minor at first. On the second transmission, it went from symptom (dropping out of gear on a stop) to not being safe to drive (bucking and not accelerating) within a couple of miles (luckily, only six miles from the front door of the dealership).

Grades were the worst with respect to the proper gear not being selected, and/or excessive revs for the programmed shift points. Some transmissions can be on their last legs for years, depending upon the problem and driving style. I would drive as smoothly as possible, accelerating slowly and evenly, and try to minimize and fast gear changes for passing or panic stops, provided the vehicle is safe to drive at this point. If it's jumping gears when driving smoothly, or shuddering excessively, a 9-hour drive might be too much for the condition of the transmission.
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Last edited by bmwguydc; 09-20-2011 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:47 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,851 posts, read 17,990,785 times
Reputation: 18987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily0fthevalley View Post
I'm not sure "goes out" is the right term, but -

I've been told my transmission is on its last legs.

But I HAVE to make a 9 hour drive back home. I'm going to drive with my legs and fingers crossed, but, I really want to know what to expect to actually happen if my transmission goes caput.

Will I stall out on the freeway?
Will I get stuck going 70 mph and not be able to slow down?
Will I get stuck going 10 mph and not be able to speed up?

Should I stop and rest the car every 3 hours or so? Or would that make any difference at all?

Assuming that something might happen to me while I'm driving, what exactly would it be?

Thanks so much!
I would avoid putting it in reverse at all costs.

You might be stuck in first or second gear.

I doubt that you would stall on the freeway, but you might end up having to call a tow truck if you can't get it out of first or second, since you can't very well drive 20 miles per hour on the freeway.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:07 AM
 
117 posts, read 225,729 times
Reputation: 91
No matter how much we call into question the credibility of the source, or the make and model of the car, I think its fair to say that no one can really answer how long your car will last. Its entirely possible the 'source' is uncredible but will end up correct for the wrong reasons... this is one of those cases where the internet really can't help!

You are in danger of finding yourself stranded, if you set out on your journey it is possible you will be stuck far away from your origination and not near home. Of course, these worries are technically present whenever you make a long journey, so one might argue the precautions you should take are the same you'd take on any lengthy trip.
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