Beware Transmission Problems

Volkswagen and Audi have reportedly recalled 13,500 vehicles, ranging across both companies’ product lines, due to a problem that can cause a vehicle’s transmission to shift into neutral unexpectedly. The affected vehicles utilize a new type of transmission called a Direct Shift Gearbox, or DCG, and apparently a faulty temperature sensor within the transmission at the least can result in an illuminated warning lamp on the dashboard, and at worst can stop a vehicle mid-travel.

The danger with such a problem is obvious. A driver can be accelerating on the freeway, the car can go into neutral, and cars behind that driver have no indication that the car in front of them is slowing down. A high speed collision could result. Or, a driver could be in the middle of a left turn, thinking he or she can accelerate into the turn before traffic comes through the intersection. If the car goes into neutral mid-turn, it’s another scenario for a collision.

Transmission concerns can cause serious impairments in use, value or safety of the vehicle. Other transmission problems include a sensation that the car is being hit from the rear, hesitation, delays, sudden RPM surges, grinding when shifting gears, or getting stuck in gear and not being able to go over a certain speed, to name a few.

When vehicle owners complain to dealers of various transmission problems, it can be like many other problems: the dealer finds a way to deny or deflect the issue. The owner can be told that the problem is a normal characteristic of the car. They can be told that they (the dealer) know it’s a problem but they don’t have the upgraded software available, and will call when they get it in. The driver is left waiting, with a car that’s a risk to drive.

“Dealers have all kinds of tricks when they suspect a vehicle may have a defect—otherwise known as a lemon,” said leading California lemon law attorney Norman Taylor. “These range from convincing the owner that the problem is all in his or her head, through altering repair orders, to telling someone that the car was actually designed to operate that way, and many more. This kind of runaround is mental and financial torture, and can take many months, even years.”

When vehicles are recalled, as in the case of the Volkswagen/Audi problem, it’s a simpler situation. But many such problems never make it to a recall and can be subject to various dealer tactics. Hence, if you suspect you are driving a lemon, you should contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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