Transmission - Hard Shift at low speed

ltp1ltp1 Member Posts: 4
edited June 2015 in Buick
My 2005 LeSabre has a "hard or rough shift" when I travel between 20 - 30 mph in "3rd gear", It's very noticeable. I checked the transmission fluid and there are small bubbles on the dipstick. The fluid level is normal. I will the check the fluid level again tonight. The LeSabre has 53,000 miles. Does anybody recognize this problem?

Best Answer


  • ltp1ltp1 Member Posts: 4
    I bought the car about two years ago, with 37k miles. I don't know if the transmission fluid has been changed. I checked the fluid this morning, the level is fine. The problem does come and go. The hard shifts don't happen when I'm idling, just while driving slowly in 3rd gear. The hard shift occurs when I'm driving slowly in my neighborhood at low speeds in 3rd gear, 20 - 30 mph. When I start it in the morning, after sitting overnight, it shifts nicely when I accelerate very briskly in O/drive. Is Dexron VI fluid recommended? The owners manual lists Dexron - III as the recommended fluid. Thanks for your great advice!
  • ltp1ltp1 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for recommending "not" doing a flush. I was planning on changing the fluid myself. So, simply drain the old fluid, replace the filter and gasket, and add the new Dexron - VI, right?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,064
    edited June 2015
    Nope. You don't change the gasket. The original is good for life unless damaged and is made to help dissipate heat to the pan. The Dexron VI replaces Dexron III and other GM spec fluids.

    If I were in your place and you are able to do the pan removal yourself, instead I'd recommend getting a hand suction pump from Harbor Freight if you have a store nearby for $4.99 and put the suction tube down the dipstick tube all the way. Pumping will remove all 6 quarts of fluid that would have dropped out when you removed the bolts on one end of the pan to let it drain.

    I'd replace that with 6 quarts of Dexron VI fluid (I just used Walmart's brand of trans fluid Dexron VI (Supertech blue bottle) for $4.27 each). Fill with 5 and and warm up the transmission then use last one to fill to just the full level when trans is hot.

    Drive it for 5 K Miles or so. By then you'll know if you have a continuing problem or if clean fluid helped things move better inside the trans after some time to clean with the new chemicals in the Dexron VI.

    THEN drop the pan and put a new filter on and replace 6 quarts with Dexron VI fluid. You will have replaced about 75% of the old fluid in the 2 changes with fresh Dexron VI.

    Don't put in any additives. The first refill with fresh fluid with fresh cleaners will do any cleaning that additives might do. The old filter will catch any sludge loosened. Then you're replacing a filter that may have caught some goop with a nice fresh one--I use Purolator from Pepboys.

    Page on link contains the $4.99 coupon for the pump. Click on print coupon to get actual coupon.
    Get on their mailing list and they'll send you coupons--look for the ones where you get something free with any purchase!
    Pick up a second hand pump with a duplicate coupon. The first one I had didn't last long. I don't think it liked the warm trans fluid I pumped out. Maybe should have let trans cool.

    Good luck. Please report back to me what happens.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • ltp1ltp1 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks! Harbor Freight is close by. This is a great advice on the 2-step fluid change.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,064
    Itp1: I sent you an IM (instant message). Go to your profile and it will tag your icons with your name with a red marker showing you have a message. Click on those and the word "message" to read.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

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