why does the car have hard shifts through gears when accelerating and shutters sometimes?


Asked by Sep 21, 2012 at 05:34 PM about the 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

At first when starting out it's smooth but when driving for a while it starts the above.

9 Answers


Have you checked the transmission fluid?


Hi Michael, Yes, I've had the car for 2 weeks now. The trans fluid was down 3 qrts so I brought it to the right level. Thanks.


I would look for leaks. There is no reason it should be that low if there is not a leak. Did it fix the issue after you topped off the fluid?


Hi Michael. No, Not any real improvement. I don't know why it was so low, Maybe the other owner was going to have something done? So I decided to take it to my mechanic. He did a flush, additive and cleaned/changed the filter etc. It seems a bit smoother. He told me there were no shavings in there. I guess the real question is what is it making this happen? Computer? Thanks.


Hi Pete.I had the identicle problem with mine.I had a '97 and one day the car was in for a ofl.We checked the tranny fluid and it was a dark gray colour.We did a service on it,and two weeks later,the fluid was gray again.I took it to a tranny shop,and the owner,who also teaches mechanics on GM vehicles told me these trannys are all bad like this.Bottom line the tranny was done.When I bought my '02 I decided to service the tranny at 120'000kms and add a Lucas to it.I pulled out of the shop,drove for about 10mins,and it started shifting hard.A friend of mine used to be a tech at a GM Dealership,and after scanning it found that one of the shift solenoids was gone.We replaced that,and the problem got worse.Now I had no first gear,so I took it to a tranny shop and it had to be rebuilt.The rebuild kits that they use are upgraded and should be problem free.I hope your situation is not as severe.Good luck.

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Hi Riccardo, Now after that work was done on Sat. sometimes hard shifts and some no. I don't think the fluid was gray but I'm going to check in a couple of days. I think your right but it's just happening in a different way but the end is the same. Thanks.


Don't expect the fluid to be gray.Sometimes it will stay red and the shift solenoid will not perform as it should.It will not do it all the time,because everytime you turn off your car the computer resets itself,and since the tranny is computer controlled,it will reset that as well.


Not true Riccardo. If you have a solenoid go out. It just goes out.. I have had it happen many of times. Chances that the low fluid took out all of the solenoids is quite an impossibility. More than likely, the low fluid damaged the torque converter or the pump which is causing the problem.


Thanks guys, A lot to think about! After the car has been sitting (apparently) over night let's say, in the morning it will start shifting smoothly then after 10 minutes it starts hard but not always, some shifts are ok. Maybe a component is damaged as Michael mentioned? Haven't check fluid lately, maybe today. The fluid leak actually is a rack seal(rack & pinion)Ya me!

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