It's stuck in 2nd gear. That's the default when the transmission computer detects a problem. Most commonly, the clutches are slipping or there's a defective sensor. You can select Park, Reverse, Neutral, or 2nd; that's it. To get it out of this default mode, turn the ignition switch off, then restart the engine. If it goes to 2nd as soon as you put it into Drive, it's probably a sensor issue. If it starts in 1st, like normal, then goes to 2nd when it would normally be shifting into the next gear, it's probably in the transmission.
At first, the slippage of the clutches takes place when it shifts from one gear to the next. To overcome that as a test, let off the gas pedal a little when it is about to shift. As an example, it's common to slip going into overdrive at around 45 mph. If you accelerate faster, it won't go into overdrive until 60 mph or more. Accelerate faster than normal up to 55 mph, then let off the gas just a little so it shifts without so much load on the engine. If the torque is low enough and the speed is fast enough, it will go solidly into overdrive with no slippage. Once it gets into overdrive, you can drive like normal until the next time it wants to shift. This isn't a fix. It's just a way to be able to drive it for a while longer.
Saturday, March 28th, 2009 AT 5:45 AM