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I drive a PT Cruiser with an automatic transmission, that only has about 75k miles on it.

One day recently, I found that while I was stopped in traffic, my car wouldn't move while it was idling. For the rest of that day, I found that it wouldn't move forward while idling, or move in reverse while idling.

In Drive, if I revved the engine up, it would jerk into motion at about 1000 RPM's.

In reverse, it would accelerate normally as I revved up the engine, but didn't move at idle.

I checked the trans fluid level; it was low but was not burnt. I added half a quart, which brought it to full.

The problem persisted after I added the trans fluid.

The check engine light came on, and there are some codes regarding the gear ratios.

The next morning, I took the car to a mechanic shop. On the way there, the problem went away and the car drove normally.

The first mechanic that looked at it told me that the hydraulic pump didn't have prime clearance (something like that), and that the entire trans would have to be rebuilt.

The price they quoted me was roughly double what the car is currently worth.

I decided to take it somewhere else for a second opinion; I brought the car to another local mechanic shop, this one apparently owned and run just by one person, who looked at the car for free.

This second mechanic that looked at the vehicle told me that the valve body needed to be replaced, and his price for that work was roughly 1/4 the cost to do the work the other shop had recommended.

My question, specifically, is how can I decide which mechanic to work with, when they're both 'reputable' - they both have many high ratings / reviews on google for example - and they have very different opinions on what needs to be done with the car?

If it's not fixed soon, it could disrupt some plans that I have, as I'll be moving across the country soon and am worried about it breaking down on me.

After that first day, the car is back to running normal as it had before, I've only run into the issue with the trans recently, for a fairly brief period of time. Part of me thinks "Hey, it's not currently an issue for you, and when it was, once you revved up the car over 1000 RPMS it drove fine, so you should be able to go down the highways just fine for that 1000 mile trip either way", but i'm sure that it's an issue that might deteriorate and cause other issues if I don't get it fixed.

Now that it's been driving normally for two days, the check engine light has since turned off, though the second mechanic has told me the codes are still there for the Trans control system.

Codes:

  • P0736 GEAR RATIO ERROR IN REVERSE
  • P0841 LOW REVERSE PRESSURE SWITCH RATIONALITY
  • P0868 TRANSMISSION LINE PRESSURE LOW
  • P0944 LOSS OF TRANSMISSION HYDRAULIC PUMP PRIME
  • P0732 GEAR RATIO ERROR IN SECOND GEAR
  • P1790 FAULT IMMEDIATELY AFTER SHIFT
  • Side question - If it's just a valve body issue, is that something that I'd be able to forgo working on for, say, a 1000 mile drive? to another state (; What would happen, generally, if I didn't? – schizoid04 Aug 12 '17 at 19:45
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    The only question I'd have for you is, why didn't you take it to a transmission shop? They are going to be able to tell you with a much better assurity what's going on with the transmission, a lot more so than a regular mechanic would. You wouldn't go to an eye doctor to get your foot looked at, would you? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 12 '17 at 19:51
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    Either get the valve block done or purchase breakdown insurance and if you breakdown be prepared to be late or get a third opinion as @Paulster2 points out – Solar Mike Aug 12 '17 at 19:51
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    also what are the trans codes? that may help... – Solar Mike Aug 12 '17 at 19:53
  • @SolarMike I've added the code info to the post. – schizoid04 Aug 12 '17 at 21:20

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