How to Troubleshoot a Dodge Stratus Automatic Transmission

Nothing is worse than shifting your car into drive, and the car not moving at all. You may think that you need a new transmission if this ever happens to you. Don't be alarmed as it just might need an easy servicing or repair. If you need to troubleshoot your Dodge Stratus transmission, you can do it without involving a repair shop. You just need about 30 minutes and some simple tools.

Step 1 - Take your Stratus for a drive to warm up the transmission. If the car won't move, then let the engine run while you shift the transmission through all of the gears. Make sure that you have the emergency brake set and keep your foot on the brake pedal as you change gears. This will warm up the transmission.

Step 2 - Park the car but leave it running in a well-ventilated area.

Step 3 - Lift the hood and locate the transmission dipstick. This is a pull-out stick with the word "Transmission" on it. Pull out the dipstick and clean it off with a shop rag. Reinsert it and read the level of the fluid to make sure it is full. There is a line on the dipstick labeled "Full hot." Low transmission fluid will cause the transmission to slip.

Step 4 - Smell the fluid and examine its color. If the fluid smells burnt or is not red, you need to change it. Old fluid will ruin the transmission.

Step 5 - Align car ramps in front of the front tires and drive on up them. Set the parking brake. Position a chock behind one of the rear tires for added safety. Wait for the car to cool down before proceeding.

Slide under the car on your back and locate the transmission attached to the engine. Use a flashlight to inspect the connections. Make sure that there are no wires hanging down. Look for transmission leaks and linkage that may be loose. Linkage is what connects the shifter to the transmission. You can see this linkage on the side of the transmission. Any of these issues can cause the transmission to not operate properly.

TIPS: If your Dodge Stratus is showing a "Check Engine" light, you can hook up an OBD-ll scanner to the data link port and pull any transmission trouble codes. You can purchase an OBD-ll scanner from a local auto parts store.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Shop rag, Car ramps, Wheel chock, Flashlight

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