Chevrolet Transmission Problems

by Dennis Hartman
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With millions of vehicles on America's roads today, General Motors' Chevrolet division is one of the oldest and most prolific American auto brands. Chevy cars, trucks and SUVs have undergone major changes over the years. During that time certain models have become known for specific mechanical issues, including problems with vehicle transmissions.

Types of Problems

Chevy has used many different transmissions in its vehicles, including automatic and manual versions. As a result, Chevy drivers have reported a range of transmission problems, most of which involve automatic transmissions, such as slipping between gears and cracks in the transmission housing or a clog in the transmission fluid filter. Manual transmission problems are more rare. The most common, however, is a loose shifter lever.

Symptoms and Dangers

According to Consumer Affairs, most Chevy transmission problems involve a loud noise, either during driving or only during shifting. Sometimes this is accompanied by a jolt as the automatic transmission shifts. Many transmission problems also lead to decreased fuel economy. While these symptoms are little more than an inconvenience, other transmission problems, such as fluid leaks or problems related to the electronic control unit, can lead to a stalled engine, which may put drivers at risk of crashing.

Repairs and Cost

The costs of repairing Chevy transmission problems are as varied as the types of problems. In some cases adding fluid or resetting the computer is all that is needed, any may only require an hour's worth of labor at a local auto shop for a bill of less than $100. At the other end of the spectrum, an entire new transmission assembly may cost upwards of $1000, installed.

Warranty Coverage

Many Chevy transmission problems, including some of the more severe issues that drivers have reported, are covered under GM's new vehicle powertrain warranty. Because the transmission, like the engine, is considered part of the drivetrain, this coverage may exceed the terms of a standard bumper-to-bumper warranty. Special extended warranties can provide even more coverage for transmission problems. Check with your local GM dealer to see if your vehicle's transmission is covered under warranty before contracting service elsewhere.


On several occasions General Motors has issued a recall to deal with a known transmission problem in one or more Chevy vehicles. In March 2009 GM recalled more than 250,000 vehicles, including many Chevy Cobalts, to address a problem with transmission shift cables that could cause the wrong gear to display on the dashboard. Another recall in 2008 was intended to fix damaged transmissions on several thousand Chevrolet Express vans that could cause the engine to shut down while driving.

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