Don't hide your head in the sand!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1979 AMC Concord which I towed from El Paso to Florida. I disconnected the drive shaft before starting out. After arriving, I reconnected it. Now, when starting with a cold engine, it shifts out of gear like it's going into neutral. This happens about six times or so, and then it engages. It does this for about five or ten minutes, then works perfectly for as long as it's driven. I hesitate to take it to a transmission shop for fear they'll tell me it's going to cost a bundle. Could you give me your opinion?

TOM: I can see that moving to the beaches of Florida has already had an effect on you, Albert. You've obviously learned how to bury your head in the sand.

RAY: You shouldn't be afraid to find out what's wrong with it. I made a similar mistake a few years ago when I had a cavity. I didn't go to the dentist, because I was afraid. After eating mashed peas and carrots for six months, I finally broke down and made an appointment. But by that time, I didn't just need a filling. I needed a root canal.

TOM: And you're in a similar situation, Albert. It sounds like you've got a transmission problem, which, by the way, probably has nothing to do with towing the car to Florida. So don't hide your head in the sand. If you act right away and change the fluid and filter, you might be able to solve this problem and get another year out of this heap.

RAY: But if you keep driving around with that dirty fluid pumping through the transmission, you're going to make it worse and worse every day. And when you finally do take it to a transmission shop, your worst fears will be realized.

TOM: So take it in tomorrow and try a fluid and filter change. When that doesn't work, you can start searching the Florida junk yards for another transmission. But when you go to the junkyards, be careful not to leave that AMC unattended for more than a few minutes--it could easily be mistaken for incoming merchandise. 1992

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