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Automatic Gearbox Faults

A lot of us can only drive automatics but as we all know, they do have their own common faults which are usually quite expensive! Below is a list of gear boxes that I know of that I've experienced problems with

Audi Multitronic gearbox

Audi's Multitronic gearbox can be found in early Audi A4 and Audi A6 models from around 2001 to 2005. These gearboxes are terrible! They are the top of the list of problematic auto gearboxes because the only good one I've ever had is the one i spent £1,600 on (trade price) So be aware! Symptoms include, fierce gear changers, banging into reverse and sometimes literally no drive whatsoever. The first thing to do when you buy one of these cars is check the history to see if it's had any gearbox work, if it hasn't try going from reverse to neutral several times then let the gearbox get warm to ensure a good test drive. I usually try to purposely upset the gearbox, poodle along sensibly at 30mph, then put the accelerator to the floor, the gearbox should drop down two gears. Then immediately after, let off and see if it climbs back up to the gear it was originally in. If all is ok then you've found yourself a good multitronic gearbox. If not, you've found yourself an expensive bill.

Porsche cayenne gearbox

Porsche cayenne's are beautiful but they're not really a sports car, in a 911 you can kind of accept a few jerky gear changes but in a cayenne you want a smooth, luxurious ride. So if you buy one, again get it to temperature, drive along sensibly at around 40mph in 4th gear, then suddenly floor the accelerator forcing the car to drop from 4th to 2nd, if you hear a 'clunk' or feel a 'thud' that car will need to go to your local gearbox centre. Try this also in 3rd and 5th cos they are known to do it in other gears also. Luckily it's not as expensive as some gearbox repairs. £600+vat should do the trick.

Volvo gearbox V50 V70

Volvo aren't what they used to be, the gearboxes nowadays seem to be poorly built, perhaps on a bit more of a budget than before. Because of this, you as the owner might experience some problems.

BMW M3 SMG gearbox's

Now this is a sore subject for a lot of people but really and truly, these gearboxes are dead simple and great. They have a few common faults which seemingly doesn't cost any more than £400. If you're looking at one that has a yellow gearbox cog on the dash, just steer clear unless the guy wants to adjust the price accordingly. In my opinion they're fantastic gearboxes, I've seen receipts for over £2,000 for repair works, personally i can't see how you could possibly spend this amount on one. Check out my video on you tube where you'll see details of how to use an smg gearbox including launch control. Watch a video of it in action

Volkswagen / Audi DSG

These gearboxes are a little bit more complex than other semi-automatic gearboxes. Again, look out for jerky take off's, whether in reverse or first, if you find the gearbox is struggling with any kind of function it will need some attention in the near future. They do last for ages like this though so if it's not too bad don't be alarmed.

Merecedes A class

The worst experience I've ever had with an Automatic gearbox is with a Merecedes A class, it literally wrote the car off! It was such a lovely little thing as well, black body, cream leather interior, not very old with only around 80,000 miles. These gear boxes will show no signs of fault until they are at maximum temperature, this is a bit of a problem for anyone who might be considering buying one because a half an hour test drive will need to be on the cards and most car dealers won't approve of this.

BMW E46 3 series

The amount of e46 3 series BMW's I've driven is probably a higher number than any other car and i can honestly say that i've only ever experienced one bad automatic gearbox. They're brilliant gearboxes but as with any, get it to temperature and play around with the gears to see if it does as it should.

Ultimately, if the price of the car reflects what the car might need then it really doesn't matter. Sometimes you're better off buying a car with a gearbox fault and fixing it yourself, it sounds crazy but the end result will be you'll have your perfect car with a perfect gearbox. Maybe a trip to the local car auction isn't a bad shout? Trade money but at least you'll know what to expect.

In my experience, if you ever come across a gearbox problem there's a good chance a simple oil change will cure it. In every case, do this first. Even if your mechanic advises against it, surprisingly it solves a whole load of problems. Most people maintain their engines but you'll rarely hear of a car that has had a gearbox service which is silly but true. Your gearbox is just as complex as your engine therefor it needs looking after. It's not expensive and can be very effective.

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