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Questions and Answers

Ford Escort Hesitating Shift

Q. Hey! I have a 1997 Ford Escort with 18,000 miles with an automatic transmission. Sometimes when I come to a stop then accelerate my car hesitates to pop in gear. I have to drop it from Drive to Low and drive about 200 ft or so then pop it back into drive again. Its been doing this for awhile now.

Ford Escort Hesitating Shift

My fluid is at normal and I don't see any fluid leaks. Plus I don't have a lead foot so I give it time to shift. Could my transmission finally be on its last leg??? Or could it be a less major problem? Please help.

Thanks,
Rob in Virginia

A. I would recommend changing the transmission fluid and transmission filter before anything else. You may simply have a partially clogged transmission filter. I don't recommend a flush, just replace whatever fluid comes out with the filter.

A new automatic transmission fluid (MERCON(R) V) was introduced in 1997 for use in some Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. This new MERCON(R) V fluid is not used in all applications and is not interchangeable with others transmissions fluids that are currently used. Using the incorrect fluid may cause transmission or transaxle concerns.

As for your particular transmission...

Fluid Type
Note: Ensure the correct automatic transmission fluid is used. Check the container verify the fluid is MERCON(r) approved. Transmission fluid requirements are indicated on the transmission dipstick handle.
MERCON(r) ATF
Note: Use of fluid marked MERCON(r) V may cause internal damage.

And with only 18,000 miles in 8 years it is obvious you don not drive it much. After the transmission filter and fluid change, I would recommend you take a trip with it, 50 or 75 miles or so. I'd like to see the transmission get good and hot and give the fluid plenty of time to circulate and clean any gum and varnish that could be causing the internal valving to stick.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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