Hello, from what you have said I believe the dealer that did the inspection is "more" correct. Letting the car run with all the wheels in the air will not hurt anything. It will cause the Anti-Lock Brake and the Traction Control lights to come on while it is running in the air but they will go back out as soon as the car is driven again. That will not cause any problem in the transmission. It would have been nice if the dealer would have at least pulled trouble codes on the transmission to verify and confirm their suspicion. That still may be a possibility since the codes should be saved in the computer even if the problem is not happening right now. These do have a history of transmission problems so I am not completely surprised by their calling out of the transmission. I am not aware of any 'trick' the dealer could play to cause this either. Do you have a mechanic who will work on this car for you? If so, I would ask them to check the transmission fluid to see if it is dark or smells bad and to check the transmission computer for codes. Then I would go with their suggestion. If they find codes indicating transmission problems then I would maybe keep shopping and find one that does not need a $7000 transmission right away. Great cars though. Good luck and let me know if you need any further advice or information.
Thanks for the answer. Any idea why the display indicator on the dash go out as well? And if it was really a problem with the transmission how would the sellers mechanic fix it immediately? Based on your feedback we will pass on this vehicle and look for a different one.
Sometimes the dash indicator will act like a "Check Engine" light and do different things when a transmission problem is detected. The sellers mechanic may have cleared the trouble codes from the transmission computer allowing the transmission to function normally again. When a problem is detected by the transmission computer the transmission will go into "Limp" mode and that is most likely why it would not go into first gear. Clearing the codes will release that Limp mode and allow the transmission to function normally again until the problem happens again. Possibly a fluke but I would be weary.