Automatic Transmission Jerks Before It Shifts

Reader Question: My car will be driving normally, then sometimes when I start to speed up a little, it will rev high (between 4 and 5) and then jerk into gear.

The check engine light has come on before but then gone off.

Do you think this could be my transmission?


Hello Colleen,

Yes, this does sound like you could be facing automatic transmission problems. First things first though, you should get someone to check the transmission fluid level and top off if needed.

If the fluid level is fine, I would consult with a few local transmission repair shops in your area before you did anything else.

Having this transmission fluid “flushed out” or changing the transmission filter could actually make the situation worse, so talk to a few qualified transmission shops before you do anything yourself.

If you do not have a relationship with a transmission shop, talk to your regular mechanic and to friends and co-workers to see whom they recommend and do not recommend.

Most people will only have to deal with a transmission shop once during the life of a vehicle, so the opportunity for shady dealings is higher than at your regular mechanic whom you might deal with on a monthly basis and he relies on repeat customers and referrals for his business.

Here is an article I wrote about finding a transmission shop, which you might find helpful:

Dealing with Car Transmission Shops

Austin Davis

2 Comments on "Automatic Transmission Jerks Before It Shifts"

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  1. Arthur Breaux says:

    my 2005 buick lacrosse started slamming into first unless i let up off the brake and wait to press the accelerator for a couple of seconds. this started when my wife had the transmission fluid flushed. they did not top off the fluid. is there a possibility of a bubble or pocket of air left in the thing? how do we get it filled. have run this thing gently for 3 months trying to figure it out. no mechanical troubleshooting done yet. no codes looked for yet.

    • admin says:

      Sounds like you have an internal transmission problem but you might want to let a transmission shop drive it with you and get their opinion first. I would also get their opinion on changing the transmission FILTER.

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