Most of the time, when I go to "rescue" someone from their "dying" car...

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Diamond Member
Oct 21, 2006
0's nothing. Seriously, probably 9 times out of 10 it's something as simple as the check engine light came on for the gas cap being loose, but they pull the car over, shut it off, and call someone immediately for fear of the thing blowing up. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

This time was an exception though. I went to go pick up a friend of the family after his '99 Hyundai Elantra started giving him trouble for the hundredth time. It started and idled fine, but there is a hard jerk when shifting it from reverse to neutral, and again from neutral to drive. I drove it home, and it either throws you back in the seat when shifting gears, or slips and misses 3rd and / or 4th. About half way home (only ~5-10 miles), it got stuck in third gear and wouldn't shift down or up regardless of throttle and manually running through the gears on the selector. Nothing like a gutless wonder trying to make it up a hill in third...

To add insult to injury, it had the absolute worst warped rotors I've ever felt, and it pulls to the right (needs alignment, at the very least). There's apparently also an exhaust leak somewhere around the cat. When I finally got it home, I checked the transmission fluid. The good news is, it has plenty. The bad news is, it has plenty of dark brown, burnt-smelling tranny fluid. 66k on the odometer.

The labor alone for a tranny swap is probably worth more than the car, and considering that it has some body damage and the other maintenance that needs to be done to it (rotors and alignment are easy enough, but I don't have the time or expertise to do the transmission or exhaust), it's just not worth it. I told him it was time to consider a new car.
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Jul 5, 2000
Drain fluid and top back off. Could last a while longer. I babied my car for abiout another 10k when the trans first started to act up. When it finally went out I drove home backward and parked it. :)
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