Automatic Transmission in My Car Jerks When I Come to a Stop

Reader Question

My car is a 1992 Buick Century Station Wagon with 82,000 miles on it. A month ago I got the transmission fluid and filter changed at a local AAMCO.

Shortly after that, I noticed if I’m slowing to a stop after going at a speed in which my car is in 3rd gear, about 10 to 15 feet before I come to the stop the car makes a moderate jerk.  If I have been driving at a slower speed where it’s only in 2nd gear before I slow to a stop, there is no jerk.

Also, I have noticed sometimes when I am accelerating up a slight grade, that sometimes it prematurely goes into 3rd gear and the car accelerates slower and the car bumps gently in short fast spurts, and will keep bumping like that unless I let off the gas and push the gas peddle again in order to make it go back down into 2nd gear again to smooth the ride and complete going up the hill.

Any help you could give me is greatly appreciated.  I am a housewife who doesn’t know much about cars and am scared to take my car back to AAMCO or
any other shop without being armed with the knowledge of what the problem most likely is, so that I won’t be taken advantage of.

Thank you,



Hi there Leah,

Well, first I would get AAMCo to double check the transmission fluid level, if it is low it can cause issues like this.

I have seen MANY similar issues with these vehicles but the complaint is usually: jerking at stops, then engine dies and when trying to restart the transmission is in 3rd gear and engine dies again.  This is due to a bad “shift solenoid pack” inside the transmission which is very common problem with older GM cars.

These cars have what is called a “lock up torque converter” and when there is excessive wear inside the transmission that converter will try and lock up when it should not be, thus the jerking you feel.

Since you did not mention engine dying, I can only hope you just have a low fluid problem.  If its low on fluid already though you probably have a leak that needs to be repaired.

Austin Davis


Reader Follow Up

Thank you for your information.

I have another question.  In an older transmission, is there a type of transmission fluid or additive that is designed to help older transmissions to run smoother and protect them and do you recommend me having AAMCO to put that in my car?

My Follow Up

I would not recommend those right now, lets check to see if you have a transmission fluid leak first. If the fluid level is full, then you most likely have an electrical problem inside the transmission like I mentioned OR the transmission is just worn out and needs an overhaul.  I hope its just low on fluid.

Austin Davis

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