My car jerks while shifting gears. Will a transmission flush help with this problem?

My car only jerks while shifting into second gear. When I put the car in drive from reverse there is a slight delay. I just bought the car from a private owner and was wondering in a transmission flush would be helpful.

My car has 216000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello – some would say not to flush the transmission at this mileage point, for fear of stirring up debris and clogging shift valves. On the other hand, changing the fluid and filter may improve gear engagement (slow as you note), and improve what’s left of friction surfaces of clutches. To be certain make sure the transmission fluid level is correct. If you need some assistance, I would recommend having your shifting issue diagnosed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose this problem, get an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Old Or Incorrect Transmission Fluid

Using the wrong transmission fluid may result in some hard car jerks, especially at high speed.

In most cases when the car lunges or jerks when you shift into gear, it`s due to mechanical gears not properly aligning or components in the driveline system (such as driveshaft, input and output shafts) being loose or worn out.
Rough jerking when shifting

This is usually caused by troubles with the vacuum, transmission fluid or a faulty sensor. The vacuum modulator valve helps older vehicles determine when to shift gears. There`s a hose that connects the valve with the intake through a hose.

What`s the secret to changing down gear smoothly? Maintain light pressure on the accelerator pedal as you press the clutch down, change gear and then clutch up gently (or the car will jerk). Using the accelerator will raise your engine speed to match your road speed, ultimately giving you a jerk free gear change.
The Vehicle Speed Sensor measures vehicle speed. When it fails the transmission can stop shifting or shift late and harsh. A bad VSS may also inhibit overdrive and the converter clutch.
Though changing transmission fluid can`t fix mechanical problems, it does make for smoother shifts and can extend the life of your transmission. And even when manufacturers recommend fluid change intervals of 150,000 miles under normal conditions, it may be a good idea to change it more frequently.
Usually when the car will `jerk` when you press the accelerator and lift from the accelerator, it`s likely due to clogged fuel injectors, damage to the throttle body or other fuel system components. It could also be due to worn out motor mounts or perhaps a small exhaust leak.
In an automatic transmission, slipping can be caused by wear and tear on numerous different parts. These include damaged or worn clutch plates, transmission bands, and solenoid packs. If your automatic transmission has been slipping, it`s likely a technician will replace some or all of these parts to fix the problem.
This kind of reaction is often a sign of low transmission fluid or a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears.
Clunking, humming or whining sounds are signs of automatic transmission problems. Faulty manual transmissions will also give off loud machinelike sounds that seem to come out of nowhere. A clunking noise when you shift gears is a telltale transmission situation. Have a mechanic look it over.
Clunking, humming or whining sounds are signs of automatic transmission problems. Faulty manual transmissions will also give off loud machinelike sounds that seem to come out of nowhere. A clunking noise when you shift gears is a telltale transmission situation. Have a mechanic look it over.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

My car jerks while shifting gears. Will a transmission flush help with this problem?
ANSWER : Hello – some would say not to flush the transmission at this mileage point, for fear of stirring up debris and clogging shift valves. On the other hand, changing the fluid and filter may improve gear engagement (slow as you note), and improve what’s left of friction surfaces of clutches. To be certain make sure the transmission fluid level is correct. If you need some assistance, I would recommend having your shifting issue diagnosed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose this problem, get an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

When shifting into 1st gear and attempting to take off, car shakes and then stalls. Car also won’t let me shift into reverse.
ANSWER : Hi there. Either the shifter rail is damaged inside the transmission keeping the gears from going into reverse and the first gear from connecting all the way, or the transmission first and reverse gears are damaged causing the transmission to have a hesitation on the forward 1st gear and no reverse. I recommend seeking out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you diagnose your transmission shifting issue.

I got sound when I shift to 3rd gear and it’s get hard to put shift to second gear when car is in 3rd gear.
ANSWER : Hello. It sounds as though the synchronizers in the transmission, which are used to adjust transmission internal gear speed when upshifting or downshifting are possibly worn out or you are shifting a bit too fast. It is also possible that the clutch is not releasing fully when you press the clutch pedal. In some conditions, utilizing synthetic gear oil in the transmission can help the quality of gear shifting. If the clutch is not fully releasing an inspection of the clutch hydraulics is a good idea. I would recommend having an inspection of the hard shift completed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost for repairs.

Everytime I put car into gear it shuts off the car but idles fine
ANSWER : This sounds like a faulty speed sensor problem. Most cars have two speed sensors (one monitors input shaft and one monitors output shaft) which tell the computer what the gear ratio is of the transmission while in use. If either of these are not working properly, they will cause the computer to shut the car off for safety reasons. I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose your stalling issuee and help you repair it.

The car doesn’t shift into first gear while it works fine in reverse
ANSWER : The problem could be that the internal transmission pump is weak, or the transmission clutch seals are leaking. It sounds like the transmission will need an overhaul.

I recommend having a transmission mechanic test the pressures and diagnose the problems to verify whether you need an overhaul with a new torque convertor.

the car will not shift into any gear, but the gear shift moves

Car in park shifter will move through gears but wont shift through the gears its stuck in neutral have emergency brake on so it wont roll
ANSWER : From what you’ve described, it sounds like the shifter cable came off at the transmission or the shifter. I’d suggest checking the shift linkage on the transmission to see if the cable came off. This is due to the connector end bushing falling apart and not being able to hold the cable on any longer. Some cables have to be replaced as a whole and as with others the bushing can be replaced to fix the cable. I’d suggest contacting a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, who can come diagnose your shifting issue and make the necessary repairs to your vehicle. Good luck.

Transmission intermittently won’t shift to next gear
ANSWER : It is very possible that the transmission may require a full rebuild or a replacement in order for it to perform properly. Although you are able to shift into other gears, if certain gears are not working correctly, transmission damage may be the cause.

If the transmission has already been diagnosed by the dealer that it needs replacement and the transmission is still not shifting properly, it is unlikely that the transmission will get any better without replacement.

It does not hurt to attempt any reset procedure that may be available, but it is also unlikely that a reset of any kind will resolve transmission issues. Small things to check before replacing the transmission if possible would be the fluid level and any trouble codes that may have been stored due to the issue your transmission is causing.

If any codes exist, this may lead you to other possible parts inside the transmission that may be able to be replaced and have your transmission working again as it should. You can get a second opinion from an local expert, such as one from YourMechanic, in order to diagnose your shifting problem and advise you on the next steps.