1998 Mazda 929 mileage: 96,000. My 1998 car shifts very hard going into second gear. One dealer is telling me there is a small hand held machine that you can hook up to the car's computer and it will tell you if there is a problem with the transmission. Another dealer you can look for a light on the dash. This light is supposed to flash a code that tells you what is wrong with the transmission. If this is true, is it possible that the light is burned out or is not working? Thank you for your response, I am very desperate for an honest answer!
Your car has both systems. You can hook up a code scanner that you can purchase for under $80 and it will read the computer and clear the codes after you make the necessary repairs. This device is a real money saver. It works on all cars 1996 and newer. You can cycle the computer and it will flash the light on the dash, but it wont' clear the codes for you. Either way, you will be able to read a fault code to identify the problem.