Some Transmissions are Designed for Spirited Driving

Dear Doctor: I’m the original owner of a 2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL with a V-6 engine and the DSG transmission. From day one, the car has shuddered when slowing down for a stop. The service manager test-drove the sedan with me and said I was not driving the vehicle “aggressively” enough for the DSG transmission. He said I’m feeling the transmission downshifting, which is normal. About three months later, they asked me to bring the Passat in for re-evaluation on this issue. They serviced it under warranty with gear oil, washer, seal ring, filter, pump cover, bolt, sealant, replace Mechatron, screw, gasket, and another screw. It was fine for two weeks and it began shuddering again. Are Passats with the V-6/DSG transmission supposed to shudder when slowing down? Michael

Dear Michael: These transmissions are very positive-shifting and are more harsh than some owners would like. Because changing the transmission fluid made a difference, it does indicate the new replacement fluid offered a slight amount of slippage. If this were my car I would install a bottle of friction modifier. This type of additive should allow the slippage needed to eliminate the shudder.

Dear Doctor: My wife has a 2014 GMC Terrain V-6 with 42,000 miles. While still under warranty I noticed it had a rough idle when the engine was cold — like a miss or engine vibration. The dealer said the battery was weak and replaced it, which didn’t take care of the problem. They said as long as the “check engine” light wasn’t on they could not diagnose it. Can they not put it on a machine that checks all of the parameters and assess if it’s an electrical issue, an injector, or other failing engine component? William

Dear William: Let’s first talk about the battery replacement. Your vehicle’s battery is over three years old and voltage is very important for engine operation, so the dealer was prudent to replace the battery. On the rough idle, a technician should be able to connect the scan tool and look at the engine history, especially at specific RPM and engine temperatures. You may want to leave the vehicle at the dealership so the technician can start the engine cold in the morning and monitor and record the warm-up cycle.

Dear Doctor: I recently purchased a 2017 Ford Escape. My dad always told me the first oil change should happen at 1,000 miles, because it was the break-in period and it would get any stray metal shavings out. The owner’s manual doesn’t call for its first oil change until 10,000 miles! Any thoughts? Sue

Dear Sue: The old days of “break-in oil” are 98 percent past. If old-school oil change methods are what you want to do, then do so at 3,000 miles, then every 5,000 miles. As far as any metal particles in the engine, these engines are all dyno-machine tested at the factory before the engine is installed in the vehicle.

Dear Doctor: At around 65,000 miles my 3.8-liter 2006 Buick Lacrosse got the coughs. It would cough and die immediately after starting (though restart after resting). Even after replacing the fuel pump, it still has a coughing spell within a quarter mile of filling up but it responds if I rapidly pump the gas pedal in neutral or while in motion. I discovered this only happens if I fill up to the point of automatic shut-off. The car now has 86,000 miles and otherwise runs without a sputter if manually fueled. How will I be able to resell the car with this issue? Bob

Dear Bob: A vehicle with a hesitation or drivability problem after a gas fill up requires a professional diagnosis. The qualified technician should have access to Identifix and Alldata to get to the root of the problem. The shop will look at the EVAP ventilation system. A bad vent valve or blockage will cause this kind of problem. Even spiderwebs can cause blockages. On some rare occasions the fuel fill tube vent can get blocked.

— Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2018

(Manufacturer photo: 2016 Volkswagen Passat)

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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