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Buick LaCrosse Transmission Problems

gerrycgerryc Posts: 9
The transmission in my 05 LaCrosse (CXS/3.6l engine, 25,000 miles)has just started to exhibit hard shifts from 1st to 2nd and from 2nd to 3rd gears in city traffic. Am getting a pronounced thud-like sound as it upshifts. No problems with downshifts, however. Operators Manual does not provide guidance on how to check automatic transmission fluid level. There is no obvious sign of trannie fluid on the garage floor. Will take the car in to the dealer first thing tomorrow.

Appreciate any advice you may wish to offer.


  • Gerry C.

    I have a LaCrosse identical to the car you described and experienced precisely the same problem at about 24,500 miles on the odometer.

    Took the vehicle to the dealer. They had no records of similar problems on LaCrosse models, but mentioned something similar on 2004 Regal and Century models. They kept the car overnight and reportedly replaced some sort of clutch mechanism on the vehicle.

    This took place about 3 weeks ago and just tonight the identical problem has reoccured. I'm taking the car back to the dealer tomorrow.

    Ever since the car was new, low gear/low speed city traffic
    shifts were always jerky...have never experienced anything like this on numerous cars owned in the past. Mentioned it to the dealer at that time and, of course, was told it was normal. I believe there is some sort of systemic transmission problem with the vehicle which is becoming more serious as miles accumulate.

    Have you taken your vehicle to the dealership since posting your message?
  • gerrycgerryc Posts: 9

    I did take it in to the dealer. There was no recurrence either as I drove it to the dealer or during their road test. Service advisor suggested it may have been a balky solenoid in the trannie but claimed the hard shifts don't do any harm to the transmission. At this point, ifthis happens again, I will just park the car, turn it off and then turn it on again in the expectation that the problem will go away just as it did the day I took it into the dealer. I suspect this may be a sporadic software klitch which can be overcome by re-initializing the electronics that control the transmission. I'd be interested to learn if you are able to clear the problem as well by stopping and restarting the engine in your Buick.
  • Thanks for your information. I'll give it a try and mention it to the dealer. I'll let you know what happens.
  • rick151rick151 Posts: 1
    I own a 2005 Buick Lacrosse. Bought it in 2006. It currently has 59000 miles. Started hearing a whinning noise and thought it was the power steering fluid. Checked all fluids and they were find. Took to Pep Boys and they quickly pointed it out to be a transmission problem and to take it to a transmission specialist. I took it back to the GM dealership (a couple of miles from home) to pinpoint the problem. You'll never guess what I was told...
  • I have a 2006 La Crosse that has what sounds like the same problem. However, I do have an additional bit of information: Recently my car sat in a florida parking lot for the better part of a day. When I started up from the parking lot the shift problem occured and contiued all the way home (about 60 miles.) Inthe morning everything was ok. Yesterday I was driving in very heavy stop and go traffic and the problem reoccured. About 3000 miles ago the dealer said the fluid was like "sludge" and replaced it. The problem has continued. Have you gotten any satisfaction?
  • miles9miles9 Posts: 1
    I have read were there those ou there experiencing transmission problems with Buick. I purchased a new 2005 Buick Lacrosse ledftover in March of 2006 so mt car just celbrated it's second birthday of ownership! Unfortunately I am also about to have the dealership install the fourth (4) transmission so don't believe for a minute that the transmissions are NOT a problem with the Lacrosse's at least. I began to have minor slips & a couple hard knocks similar to those described here in Edmunds at 25,000 miles, pulled in to a gas station to fill up, turned the car off, got gas & got back in, started the car & no forward gears! believe me the same thing will happen at 50,000 miles & now at least for me again at 76,000 & when the transmission goes there are very few warnings, no check engine lights, no information from the little computer, just a hard shift & nothing. Buick has stepped up to the plate and replaced the second with the third at no charge (pretty big of them) becasue the 36,000 mile warranty had expired & it is now in the shop awaiting the fourth transimission! Consider lemon law action as soon as possible if it makes sense in your state, I can't even let my wife drive the car any more because of reliability issues & I thought I bought the car for reliability! Should have kept my 1998 Chevy astro van with 270,000 miles on it!


    GM Family Member
  • I am suddenly nervous as my 2006 CXS is sitting at 23,000 miles. Time will tell. So far my car has been pretty much flawless. I enjoy driving it quite a lot.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,049
    This sounds odd. I haven't seen it mentioned before. The transmission is the THM65E I assume. Those are used in the Chevy and other cars with few problems. Now if you were talking Accords that might be different about repetitive failures. I have to sympathize with the person on their 4th transmission! :sick:
  • lcbjlcbj Posts: 1
    My 2005 Buick LaCrosse with 33K has exactly the same problem of recurring hard shifts that come and go. It is very annoying and worrisome. It always seems to be in stop and go traffic. I am off to see the dealer tomorrow.
  • fordfan_17fordfan_17 Posts: 175
    harsh shifting in 4T65E transmissions is a common problem it is caused mostly by a failing EPC (electronic pressure control solenoid) and normally returns a code p1811 Maximum shift adapt or p0741 excessive torque converter slippage. either code can be fixed but either will require transmission removal. if its a p0741 code the dealer will probably want to replace the transmission since dealerships are not to keen about aftermarket fixes to thier transmissions. if code 1811 is recovered the epc solenoid should be replaced.
  • I can not get this web site to work with me. However, I would like to read what the dealership informed you of due to the fact I have been having the same issues. I am taking my car back to them Wed. I got a feeling it just might get really ulgy.
  • mrrogersmrrogers Posts: 391
    My wife has a 2005 LaCrosse CXL which we intend to keep for a long time so we maintain the car carefully. She only has 20,000 miles in almost four years of driving, but there is a lot of stop and go driving in those miles. I purchased a transmission filter at my dealer with the intention of changing the fluid also.
    I learned that the new Buicks come through with Dextron VI transmission fluid rather than Dextron III. My car has Dextron III, but Dextron VI is compatible with Dextron III. I wanted to upgrade to synthetic Mobil 1, but it only meets the Dextron III spec and not the Dextron VI spec. I found that Valvoline makes a synthetic which meets the Dextron VI spec.
    My Buick dealer recommends their power flush for $119, but that only gets me regular Dextron III as he claims that GM get $30 a quart for Dextron VI. Also the trans filter does not get replaced in a power flush. I am leaning towards the synthetic Valvoline Dextron VI and a filter change, but I would be happy to hear someone else's thoughts.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,049
    It's nice that your dealer is wanting to pad the weekly profit with your flush charge and Dexron VI bill!

    Walmart Dexron VI is $3.89??? Check it out. Your can has only 20,000 and 3 years. Perfect timing for high level maintenance change. Buy a Purolator transmission filter, buy 7 quarts of Walmart Dexron VI, and have a quality local shop change it for you for a fee. He won't make any money off 40% of the filter and the fluid he charges, so expect to pay almost as much as he provided those parts, but use yours. Take back the GM filter or use it. I'd save it till the next change myself.

    Or find a friend or neighbor who has done drains on GM transmissions and has the ability if you aren't into doing it yourself. It requires jack stand for safety and ability to crawl under the car and hold up a transmission pan with part of the weight held by loosened bolts as you let the fluid pour into a large, flat pan.

    The process is simply, remove about 20 little bolts, drop the pan slowly holding it above a large catch pan for the fluid that comes out as you tip it. Gently pry the old filter straight down; slide the new filter neck into the old seal tapping it with your hand to push it up tightly. Replace pan using the original GM rubber seal that's meant to be re used for the lifetime unless it's torn somehow.

    Myself, I left the original filter in place until my second drain at 60,000 miles on my 03. The filters should be good up to 100,000.

    You drain out half the fluid in the process and replace it with the synthetic blend Dexron VI--that's the advantage to the new Dexron. It's recommended for any car that came with Dexron III and later.

    If you didn't have 3 years or more, I'd suggest waiting until 30,000 or 36,000 to do the drain and refill but you seem to want to take good car of the car with preventative maintenance, so do it somewhere in between that suits you.

    Don't do the flush. Just regularly keep changing the fluid by draining and refilling.
  • mrrogersmrrogers Posts: 391
    Thanks for your detailed reply. I think I will buy the synthetic Dextron VI and change the fluid and filter myself this weekend. As you say the process is not difficult. I have done it before on my four previous Regals before the LaCrosse.
  • Hard transmission up shifts are a common problem with these transmissions caused by a weak or faulty electronic solenoid. Most times this conditions can be corrected by turning the motor off and re starting. This re-sets the computer that controls the transmission.

    For more information on these transmissions go to
  • Well I have a 2010 Buick Lacrosse CXS with 1400 miles on it. I put it in the shop because the transmission is going out on it. I took it in Friday, January 29, to have it checked. It took the technician over 30 minutes to hear the problem I was hearing. There was no computer indication of a problem. The dealership called GM technical center (what ever that is) and they had no ideas. So I had to take it back in today so they can tear down the transmission to determine the problem.
    I hear a clicking sound if I am slowing down between 35 to 20 mph. The clicking sound will go away if accelerate when it is clicking.
    So I am posting this to see if anyone has had a similar problem with their Lacrosse. Also I am hoping that GM is monitoring these forums, because this is the last GM product I will ever buy. The Lacrosse was suppose to be the new and improved GM model. Well they fell way short of my expectations for this car. I am sorry to you GM workers because this is an indication that you will continue to lose jobs with this type of quality.
  • Fully understand your frustration. However, anything mechanical, electrical, technical, etc., can go wrong regardless of the product. I had a Toyota RAV4 for 8 years. Finally bought 2010 LaCrosse CXS. Gave RAV4 to daughter with 62,000 miles. It was not in the recall of ~4 million cars by Toyota. Like they say in Jamaica 'Pooo-Poooo Happens. Let them fix it and then let us know what happened. Good Luck.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    ".. I hear a clicking sound if I am slowing down between 35 to 20 mph......"

    Is that the only problem, or are there drivability problems with the transmission? It seems odd that they would go through the trouble of tearing down a tranny just for a clicking. Good Luck and keep us posted.
  • I also have a 2010 Lacrosse with the same issue. Interestingly enough just started searching for someone else with the same issues I have been having with this car and wanted you to know it is not just your car, mine has 1494 miles on it and I have been wondering what that clicking is, but have just been ignoring it thinking I am just hearing things.

    It only seems to do it in 2nd gear I believe, and when you accelerate is gone instantly. Doesn't seem to impact performance so I just turn up the radio a bit and ignore, although it sounds like down the road the issue will continue to get worse.

    I WANT to love this car so much, it is beautiful inside and out, in a month of ownership I am already having serious concerns with the quality. I want to buy American so badly, but this may be my last GM car.

    Unfortunately the clicking is minor in comparison to the other problem that developed for me, I will start a thread on that issue in a few mins but needless to say I was going down the freeway at 80 mph and the whole car went dead on me, just black. No power steering, power brakes, nada... whole electrical system seems to have fried. It was towed to the dealer where so far they can't figure it out either which brought me to these boards to see if anyone else had that issue.

    Stinks, was loving this car and was telling everyone how American cars were finally on the right track... And now within a month I may be back in a Lexus, we'll see what they find...
  • Well it is now Feb 22 and the Lacrosse CXS is still in the shop. I am still not sure of the details of the problem. However, the dealership is waiting on a part kit of two bearings and a shaft.
    After two weeks I got tired of talking to the dealership and contacted the Buick Customer Service. It took a 30 minute call to get past the first level of Customer Service to get to the second level of Customer Service. This Customer Service representative was very nice to let me know that there are approximately 830 of these part kits on back order. So I am assuming that I am not the only person with a transmission problem with their new Lacrosse. I spoke with this Rep for the first time on Feb 16.
    On Feb 19 the Rep called me again to let me know that there has been no change in the parts back order issue. However, he had talked with the dealership and they were asking for a new transmission. The Rep told me that he has passed this request onto the appropriate levels in Buick. He said that he would call me back on Feb 23 to let me know if he had received any answer to this request. It is funny that when I requested a new transmission on Feb 16 the statement was, "That is not possible." So it is interesting that the longer they pay for a rental car the better it is looking at spending a little money on a new transmission.
    So I had my car for six weeks and at the end of this week it will be in the shop for four weeks. I really like this car and know that anything can happen to a car. But when parts are not available there is a major problem in the GM system. I was given a Cadillac STS with only 3900 miles on it. The rental agency said that it had just come out of the shop with failed power steering. GM continues to display their quality levels are still very low and Toyota is looking better!
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