Dear Honest Mechanic,
I have a 1995 Chevy Lumina Mini Van 3.1L V6 TBI. The van is having difficulty shifting gears, especially reverse. It’s making a lot of noise when trying to shift mainly from the first gear to second and reverse. I so afraid that I’m going to be out somewhere and my van won’t go into reverse, or I’ll be driving and the transmission will just fall out! First Can you tell me if I need a whole new transmission or is it something else that can be easily repaired?Second, How dangerous is it to drive? Third, What would be a fair price to repair this problem?
How do I find a honest mechanic in Columbus? Being a woman, I don’t want to get took for a fool so I’m trying to research as much as possible. I’m also going to down load your free gift which I greatly appreciate, thank you! Also thank you for the esurance site they have great prices and I needed insurance since I just purchased this van.
Distraught Desperate in Ohio, Gina
I am not an automatic transmission mechanic, we send our vehicle to a transmission shop down the street, they really are complex these days and require special tools and training. From what you tell me, I would suspect a transmission overhaul is in your near future though. The early warning sign of transmission problems tends to be loosing reverse gear. Since this is an 11 year old vehicle, I would suspect that the whole transmission will probably need to be rebuilt, how much should it cost…..depends on your area, but I would guess $1800-2200 would be a fair price for a complete overhaul.
My ebook gives some great advice about finding a transmission shop…make sure you read that section, and start talking to friends and neighbors about who they had good or bad experiences with in the past. Once thought would be to call the GM dealership parts department and ask them if they sell a complete rebuilt transmission unit. If they do, you can buy it yourself from them and find a mechanic to install it, you will get a GM warranty good at any dealer….which is nice, and the chance of getting a BAD overhauled transmission is less likely than if just any ole transmission shop overhauled it…and you would have to go to them to get any warranty work that might come about.
I would install YOUR GM rebuilt transmission at my shop for about $275…so add that to the price of the tansmission. You will probably be able to haggle the price of the transmission SOME if you really are interested in buying from the dealership….the parts guys work on commission so they will do what it takes to sell parts…within reason.