Secret No. 7: The pricey transmission job could be an easy sell, and a bad call.
Both Hutt and Hanks have stories of customers devastated by a mechanic’s diagnosis of a pricey, lengthy transmission rebuild. “They hear clatter, clatter, clatter and are convinced the transmission is shot,” Hanks says. Ask about the condition of the oils. If there’s something wrong with the transmission, they should show signs of burning or charring. Water in the oil will turn it pink and milky. Silver flecks of metal in the oil are another bad sign. Both of my teachers know of transmissions that were making rackets on older engines because the engines were out of tune or, strange as it sounds, because the carburetors needed to be rebuilt.