Dear Doctor: My 2004 Nissan Maxima with the automatic transmission is giving me a bit of trouble with the second gear. When it downshifts at a slow speed, it “clunks” into second gear and sometimes clunks when upshifting from first to second gear. It is noticeable when I turn a corner to make a left- or right-hand turn. This only occurs once the engine is warmed up. No notice of this problem when the engine is cold. Is my transmission going out? Brigitte
Dear Brigitte: The first step is to check the transmission fluid level and its condition. If the fluid is “burnt” or discolored then you need to do a full fluid change with the correct fluid, not just a drain and fill. Next is a road test to notice any change. If the problem still exists, then you’ll need to take it to a transmission shop for a road test with a professional scan tool to monitor the electronics in the transmission.