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The mother-in-law's 2005 Renault Clio (auto) shifts very late and stays in too low a gear. When decelerating the tranny downshifts early (it really likes the revs). The garages all want a heafty sum to even pop the hood. Might the issue be something simple such as low tranny fluid level? Anything else that I might check?

There is no 'sport' mode or 'snow' mode that I am aware of.

Thanks.

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    Having a good fluid level is always helping in any case. My automatic transmission is using a cable, I needed to readjust it when I had the same issue. But all car are not the same. – Gabriel Mongeon Jan 6 '12 at 13:57
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    Check the fluid level. Also have a garage or parts store (Pep Boys, Autozone, etc) check the codes with their reader and see if anything comes up. – Peter Loron Jan 26 '12 at 22:33
  • Thanks Gabreil and Peter. The fluid level is fine, and the fluid does not appear burnt or dirty. There are no Autozone-type stores here, I'm not in the US or Europe. – dotancohen Feb 3 '12 at 14:55
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This should cause a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) as it's remotely emissions related and can cause a loss of fuel economy. If you're sure that it's not in a mode that disables overdrive (and typically causes the car to stay in gear and shift late, for descending hills), then:

The first thing I would do is try and get a free or cheap code readout. That can point you in the right direction.

The second thing I would try is checking any kickdown switch linkage, or if electronically controlled, the throttle position sensor.

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