Dealership Vs. Mechanic: Transmission Edition
August 30, 2018 7:54 PM   Subscribe

My 2013 Mazda3 manual transmission might need a new transmission - mechanic says it should be covered under warranty, dealer says they can't find any problem, What's next?

I bought this car new in 2013. I've been noticing weird shifting issues for a few months now - the first issue is that sometimes (not all of the time) when I'm in second gear going downhill, it pops out of gear into neutral. Not always, but about 30% of the time. This has been going on for 6 months or so. I took it to one mechanic who couldn't replicate the issue and didn't do any repairs.

In the last week or so, I've noticed that sometimes, about 3-4 seconds after I shift (again, not all of the time), into higher gears (4-6, usually) there's a weird surge in RPMs. I took it to a different mechanic yesterday who drove it, says he noticed those things and also thought it was shifting roughly. He ran a diagnostic on it and drained the transmission fluid and said there was metal shavings in it. I didn't see any of that. He also found a service bulletin that he thinks is applicable in my case and told me to take it to the dealership and that they would probably have to give me a new transmission. Note, my 5-year power train warranty expires in 6 weeks.

Took it to the dealership today and they say they drive it 9 miles and couldn't replicate any of the issues. They're keeping it overnight and will test it again tomorrow but if they don't experience the issue, I'm on my own, I guess. What would be my next steps?

The mechanic yesterday said that if the dealer gave me a hard time, they should call him so I guess I can do that, if needed, but what else can I do? I'm not good with cars.
posted by otherwordlyglow to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Take your mechanic up on his offer. Give him a call and ask him if he'll get in touch with the dealership and try to convice them that there's a problem here that needs to be fixed. Then if he succeeds, become a very loyal customer because he sounds like an awesome mechanic.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:20 AM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

the first issue is that sometimes (not all of the time) when I'm in second gear going downhill, it pops out of gear into neutral. Not always, but about 30% of the time.

Second, or third? It would want to be a pretty steep hill to be going down it in second.

If it is indeed third, then this is probably the bulletin your mechanic found. Check your car's VIN and see if it's one of those identified by that bulletin; if so then yes, that's a design fault and yes, the dealer should be fixing it under warranty.
posted by flabdablet at 3:15 AM on August 31, 2018

It’s second. I live in San Francisco but yes, that's what he pulled up since he noticed it in higher gears.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:43 AM on August 31, 2018

Following up: the dealer still couldn’t replicate my issue the next morning but after talking with me some more, they kept the car over the weekend to look at it again. I still haven’t heard what finally made them decide or what they eventually found but they left me a message today saying they had ordered a new transmission for the car. I’m feeling pretty lucky to have gotten this done just in the nick of time!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:05 PM on September 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Good job!
posted by zippy at 7:45 PM on September 17, 2018

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