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Dj, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1910
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician. 30+ years in the car repair business.
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Dodge Caravan SXT: Hi! I sold a 2005 Dodge Caravan SXT to

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Hi! I sold a 2005 Dodge Caravan SXT to an individual. Before I sold it to the individual there was no visible transmission slipping problems. The car was drivable.  I did not drive it for long distance and a mechanic who had checked it before I sold it had indicated a possible fuel pump or throttle body issue.  Other potential buyers had checked out the van and did not indicate any transmission issues.  I could not afford to fix it and when I sold it I made it clear to the buyer that there was a hesitation issue and a mechanic who looked at it indicated there could be a throttle sensor or a fuel pump issue.


When the guy came to pick it up, he brought a mechanic who put a scanner and said there were a heat sensor issue and had worked on the car before he drove it off. Despite the advise of the mechanic, the buyer had the van driven over 25 miles. He called me that evening after the van was driven from my residence saying the car could not go up a hill and had transmission issues.  He is taking me to court saying the transmission was bad. I need to know if him driving it for that distance with a heat sensor issue and other sensors indicators, and without the corrected throttle body problem could have caused the transmission to be damaged or cause other major damages to the van?


Thanks in advance

Hello and thank you for trusting us with your question. I'm DJ.

What a mess. I'll bet you weren't expecting this much grief when you sold your car.

I'm guessing that what the mechanic that diagnosed with the scanner found it was the engine coolant temperature sensor. If the mechanic gave you the failure code I could give you a much better idea of what the problem is.

If the coolant sensor was bad and you drove the car for any distance then it's very possible that damage could have occurred from this. The coolant sensor tells the computer what temperature the engine is and it makes shifting decisions based on this.

Has this guy actually filed a lawsuit or is he just threatening to sue you? Has he had the car diagnosed or is he just guessing that the transmission is bad.

The mechanic with the scanner is your best witness. He told the buyer not to drive the car. That's powerful and takes away any liability on your part. The way the courts would look at this is a third party with no interest in the car said to not drive the car and he was an expert. The buyer ignored the expert's advice. Therefore the buyer takes full responsibility for the failure.

Did you advertise the vehicle? Did you say anything in the ad about the condition of the vehicle? Did you have anything like an "AS IS" or "NO Warranty" statement signed by the buyer?

I really want to help you with this so please give me any additional information and we'll figure a way out of this mess. I hate people like this that abuse the courts and want somebody else to pay for their bad decisions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dj, thanks for the quick response. I stated the Transmission was good on the ad. The mechanic the buyer brought did not tell me the codes. He told the buyer that the heat sensor and a few other sensors were the issue. If you could just explain in a bit more detail how the Transmission could be damaged based on the sensor issue not resolved, I would be very satisfied with your response. No I did not say "As Is" or No Warranty". Thanks in advance.

The computer controls which gear the transmission should be in, when it shifts and when the torque converter locks up.

When the engine is cold the computer inhibits overdrive and torque converter lock up. The computer wants to get the engine up to operating speed as quickly as possible, which is why it inhibits these functions.

If the engine is overheating, the computer will severely limit the gear available with the idea that if it keeps the car in a lower gear you have a better chance of getting home. This is called "limp home mode."

If the engine coolant temperature sensor is out of range or not working correctly, the computer will make decisions based on bad information.

So if the engine is running at normal temperatures but the computer thinks the engine is at 240 degrees because the sensor is faulty, it will start to shut down the transmission's functions.

Kind of like shifting into low gear at 80 mph. Never good.

That's why I would like to find out if the guy had the transmission diagnosed or if he's just guessing or trying to intimidate you.
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