(240) 841-0370  

Suburban Transmissions Diagnostic Procedures

Automatic transmission failures occur for different reasons in the Maryland area, from a dashboard indicator light without noticeable problems, to whining or grinding noises that leave you stranded. Because so many transmission problems are easily and inexpensively corrected, a missed diagnosis can cost you thousands of dollars. Our shop is fully equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to isolate the small problems from the large.

Diagnosis of Simple Transmission Problems in Maryland

Before work is performed, a transmission problem should have an initial diagnosis. We commonly see the same failures within the same type of transmission, most diagnoses can be done in as little as 20 minutes, usually while you wait.

Diagnosis of Complex Computer Controlled Transmission Problems

The transmission in most vehicles that are built within the past twenty years is computer-controlled. Electronic data is collected from various sensors on the engine and transmission, and calculations are made that control shift timing and firmness. In the Maryland area, often a failed electronic component will create the illusion of an internal transmission problem. This could prompt an expensive transmission replacement when the issue is simply a wiring or sensor malfunction. Scanners do a great job of checking codes and identifying simple electrical transmission problems, however, they are inadequate at solving complex electronic issues, which can take much longer to diagnose.

At Suburban Transmissions, we utilize specialized equipment that allows us to operate the transmission independently of the vehicle's transmission control module, the ‘computer’. We can also monitor specific signals given by the transmission control module to the transmission. These techniques eliminate the uncertainty between computer, vehicle wiring, and transmission electronic control issues. This prevents our customers from incurring unnecessary expenses.

Intermittent Transmission Problems in Maryland

Some transmission problems are intermittent. These issues, usually electronic, may be difficult to diagnose unless the problem occurs while being driven with test equipment attached. Billing a customer for driving their car around for 3 hours can be unpopular, especially if, during that time, the problem doesn’t occur, and consequently cannot be diagnosed. If the customer says the problem may not occur for hours at a time, a master technician can drive the vehicle to and from home, while monitoring the diagnostic equipment. Since we are going to be driving home anyway, we will not charge for this time. The long trip, about 40+ minutes each way, raises the probability that the problem will occur during the drive. Sometimes a transmission indicator light will come on after a long drive but goes off after a restart as the codes are not always stored in the computer. In this scenario, try bringing the vehicle in for a diagnostic scan with the light on. Call ahead, and don’t turn off the car when you get to the shop. This allows us to immediately scan for the cause of the light. So you do not accidentally shut off the car, you may want to take your ignition key off your keyring, as this helps.

Diagnostic Mistakes

Transmission misdiagnoses are commonly discovered at Suburban. We can share our experiences with you as they apply to your specific vehicle. We have documents to support the countless occurrences of what was later explained away as “honest mistakes”.

Terence Brown called me concerning his Jaguar XJR. His car was at another shop and he was told the transmission had an internal problem and would need to be removed and disassembled. We discussed the problem, we gave him the worst-case price, and he had the car towed to us. Upon inspection, we noticed the vehicle had a leaking transmission cooler line. We replaced the line, added fluid (3.5 quarts), and test drove the vehicle. The transmission operated properly, so we delivered it to the customer. Total cost was $185.00. Because this rare model came with a Mercedes Benz transmission, my initial worst-case price was over $4000.00. That’s quite a savings. While the other shop’s misdiagnosis could have been an honest mistake, it still might have cost the customer thousands of dollars. Even more alarming is the fact that the vehicle was driven 17 miles while at the other shop, while 3.5 quarts low of transmission fluid! Had we found it needed a transmission, it might have been the other shop’s fault from driving while low of fluid. This is not an isolated case. We have caught similar misdiagnoses on numerous occasions to the customer's relief. While we will not publish the supporting documents on the internet, we will be happy to show them to you in person.

NOTE: We strive to keep the cost of initial diagnosis for an automatic transmission problem in Maryland as low as possible. For a simple transmission problem diagnosis, we consider it a cost of doing business in Maryland. A simple diagnosis, where the problem is evident, is free of charge. The most complex problems usually take one to two hours to diagnose, and typically require a diagnostic charge. Our diagnosis includes documentation of the problem, along with the cost of repair in Maryland.


Acura MDX, TL and CL Model Transmissions Honda Accord Civic and Odyssey Transmissions  |  BMW X5, 740, 540, and all other model TransmissionsChevy GMC Yukon Tahoe and Trailblazer TransmissionsDodge Durango, Ram, Caravan, Voyager, Sebring, Jeep Grand Cherokee TransmissionsFord & Lincoln F150, F250 Trucks, Heavy Duty 4R100, Explorer, Mountaineer, Escape, Tribute, Freestar & Taurus Transmissions | Mercedes E320, ML320 Transmissions  |  Nissan Rogue, Murano, Altima, Maxima, Pathfinder, Xterra, Armada Transmissions  | Toyota Camry, Highlander Transmissions  |  VW-Audi Passat, A4 Transmissions just to name a few!


location small9160 Bursa Road Laurel, MD

(240) 841-0370
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Shop Hours

Weekdays:   9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Weekends: CLOSED

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