When your transmission runs too hot, driving is impossible or extremely dangerous. Many Jeep owners encounter the widespread issue of transmission over temperature. But mostly, Jeep Commander owners face it. It drives them nuts because the problem is not easy to diagnose. There are so many reasons! Today, I will discuss how transmission fluid, transmission temperature sensor, starter, PCM, ECU, battery, climate, heavy use, cooling system, solenoids, and transmission itself can cause the problem. And why you must closely monitor your Jeep’s oil and fluid levels.
If you want the problem to go away, read until the end. I’ll discuss each of the possible causes and their solutions. It’s a big one. Be patient!
Table of Contents
What is Transmission Over Temperature? What Happens When Your Transmission Overheats?
A warning on your dashboard saying “Transmission Over Temperature” comes on when your transmission becomes too hot. Usually, the fluid temperature rises to an unsafe level. Because of that, the transmission doesn’t function properly.
The warning will stay on until you give the transmission some time to cool down. Therefore, you must wait for the car to cool down if you find yourself in this situation before you can resume driving.
There are numerous potential contributing factors. It may indicate a fluid or filter issue if the transmission temperature in your car is too high. However, there might be additional factors. Your Jeep might show the error message even if your transmission is not overheating.
Several transmission issues can occur when the transmission temperature is too high, including damaging the transmission components. It may also harm the car’s engine and other systems. If your transmission temperature is too high, have your vehicle serviced immediately.
What are the Symptoms of Overheated Transmission?
If you notice these symptoms, suspect an overheated transmission.
1. Check Engine Light
Your Jeep Commander’s check engine light is a typical indicator of an overheating problem. An issue related to transmission usually causes the check engine light to appear.
2. Transmission Fluid
Burnt or black transmission fluid is a crucial indicator of a fluid problem, which is one of the roots of the overheating issue. You’ll get unpleasant and strong fumes coming from your car. The transmission experiences overheating when you don’t change your car’s fluid after due time.
3. Delay in Changing Gears
When you have an overheated transmission, you’ll feel a noticeable delay while changing gears.
The most frequent cause of transmission slipping is an overheated transmission. When the internal transmission components malfunction, slippage takes place. Your Commander engine will rev higher and make gear noises, but it won’t accelerate smoothly.
5. No Start, but It Sounds
Your car doesn’t start when you try. Instead, it makes obnoxious clicking noises. This is a telltale sign of an overheated transmission.
What Causes the Jeep Commander’s Transmission Over Temperature Issue?
1. Low/Bad Fluid
Low transmission fluid will definitely cause your transmission to overheat. If trying to work much harder, the remaining fluid will overheat and lose its capacity to cool and operate the transmission quickly.
2. Faulty Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor
A faulty transmission fluid temperature sensor can send the wrong signal to the PCM. You’ll get a transmission over temperature warning message if that happens.
Your Jeep Commander’s cooling system may not cope in extremely hot weather. Transmission fluid will heat up and degrade faster. But this condition is temporary and subject to the weather. Use only the Jeep-recommended fluid to avoid this problem.
If you tow something heavy, the transmission can get hot because the added weight puts more stress on the transmission, which makes it work harder and heat up more.
5. Heavy Use
In congested city driving situations with stop-start traffic, automatic transmissions work harder than usual, which could lead to overheating. If necessary, get a cooler.
6. Cooling System Issues
If the front of the radiator is clogged with dirt and large debris, the transmission fluid won’t cool properly, and the transmission will overheat. Ensure that the radiator has no problems. It only takes a moment.
7. Solenoid Issues
Solenoids adjust the fluid/pressure in the transmission. They allow transmission fluid to enter. So, even if there’s plenty of fluid in the pan, not enough of it will get to the parts of the transmission that need it if the solenoids are faulty or misfiring, and the transmission will overheat.
- Sometimes, if your car has an electric problem, such as a corroded connection, you might receive a warning even though the transmission works fine. To ensure it functions correctly, use a thermostat to measure the temperature. A temperature below 190 will indicate that you have an electrical problem, not an overheating transmission issue.
- Among the electrical issues that cause this problem, the most common is a starter problem. The starter solenoid’s positive lead causes your Jeep to turn over but not start when the transmission isn’t too hot.
- A faulty PCM can cause a warning even when the transmission is okay. It can give a false reading. When that reading goes above the limit, a warning will appear.
- If you cross a flooded street or pass through a puddle, the warning might flash on your screen because water can interfere with the temperature sensor’s signal.
- Another possibility is the “Jump Wire” that goes to the starter. It is poorly designed. If water gets in there, the car won’t start until it dries up.
- The Jeep’s ECU (electronic control unit) can also be faulty. A faulty ECU might send the wrong signal, and an unnecessary warning might appear.
- A faulty battery causes all sorts of problems, and Jeeps have susceptible wiring. A low/dying battery will send the message: transmission over temp.
- Examine the wires. A defective one could result in starting problems and dash light malfunctions. Also, look for rotting wire covers and pinched harnesses in the back of the fuse box that can cause shortages.
- If you are experiencing this issue, open the hood and check if your water pump is shaky.
- The main wire connecting the battery to the engine and body could be the fault or the battery’s primary power supply to the relay/fuse box. The issue could arise if the battery isn’t fully charged or cannot maintain its charge.
What Can You Do to Fix the Jeep Commander Transmission Over Temperature Issue?
1. Change the Transmission Fluid
Dip the stick into the transmission fluid, wipe it with a clean white cloth, and check the color. If it’s red, you are fine. If it’s brown or burnt red, then your transmission is overheating. Change the fluid immediately.
2. Change the Sensor
If you find your fluid temperature sensor to be broken, change it. The sensor is on the transmission’s passenger side and costs about $80.00. If the transmission over temp message disappears, your problem is solved.
3. Check for Leaks
Focus on the cooling system and transmission to see if they’re overheating. If you think it shouldn’t be losing fluid, there may be a leak or a more significant problem. Identify the source of the leak if your transmission fluid level is low.
4. Change the Seals
If the transmission fluid level is incredibly low, the pump and input-output shaft seals fail. Drop the transmission and Change all seals at one time.
5. Clean and Lubricant the Starter Connection
Find your starter, then examine the connector plate. Clear out debris and sand from corrosion. Spray electrical cleaner to help it resist corrosion. If that is unsuccessful, try changing the starter to resolve the issue.
6. Test Your Batteries
Dead or dying batteries generate all sorts of error codes. Load-testing and checking the alternator is the most appropriate course of action. Clean the posts and terminals on the batteries.
7. Fix Any Low-Voltage Issues
Low voltage causes incorrect DTCs in the PCM, which will cause you to waste time chasing things that aren’t actually broken. Fix any weak battery or parasitic drain issues. Make sure there are no low-voltage issues.
8. Ensure Good Connection
Inspect the transmission temperature switch, ECU and ABS connectors. Look inside the connector by pulling it out. Check the connectors for accumulating corrosion. Clean the connection before reconnecting. Use electronic cleaner, then apply dielectric grease. For good contact, push each wire firmly into the connector.
Examine and locate the defective wires protruding from the fuse box.
9. Use High-Performance Transmission Fluid
It doesn’t make much sense, but changing the transmission fluid type needs to be done sometimes. Switch to high-performance oil for the transmission. When I changed the oil in my Jeep, which was acting similarly, the problems stopped.
10. Reset/Replace PCM
If the PCM is malfunctioning, try to reset it first; if that doesn’t fix the issue, replace the PCM.
11. Replace Key Ignition
Although my ignition was subject to a recall, I replaced the entire key ignition assembly, which resolved the issue. It can happen to you, too.
12. Check for Software Recalls
If your car doesn’t start, you have to turn the key a lot of times to get the temperature light to come on, or you get an error when you try to use your four-wheel drive, and then you have software issues. If you get a false warning light because of these issues, you must visit the dealer to see if there is a software recall. The recalls are free of charge.
13. Flash the Computer and Update the Software
Reset the onboard computer to solve the problem. You need to “flash” the computer, restoring factory settings. Update the software as well. This fix is less than $100.
If your Jeep won’t start, your best option is to try to duplicate the problem at the dealer. Getting them to work on it will be complicated when you can’t replicate the issue.
What Should You Do to Avoid Having an Overheated Transmission?
The most important thing you can do to prevent your transmission from overheating is to maintain the condition of your fluid. You can prevent your transmission from overheating by following a few easy steps:
1. Check the Fluid
Frequently inspect the transmission fluid. Pay attention to the color. Useless or worn-out fluid produces a burning smell. Replace the fluid as soon as you detect this smell to prevent further damage. Follow Jeep’s recommended maintenance schedule to ensure a long transmission life.
2. Change the Fluid Regularly
After every 50000 to 100000 km, change the transmission fluid. If you carry loads, travel far, or drive in hot weather, then change more frequently. It’ll keep your transmission in good condition.
3. Make Sure It’s Full
Your transmission overheats when there isn’t enough fluid because the heat isn’t transferred properly. Periodically check the fluid level. If the dipstick indicates less fluid than anticipated, it usually indicates a problem.
4. External Transmission Cooler
If you follow the user guidelines, you won’t need an external transmission fluid cooler. However, it can help you keep your transmission cool if it’s towing heavy loads. The cooler significantly lowers the temperature, cools the fluid, and is straightforward to install.
4. Maintain the Car’s Cooling System
Take care of the radiator. It allows coolant to pass through metal fins and into the air outside to lower the temperature. Make sure your thermostat isn’t closed as well.
5. Maintain Routine Checkups
Check your starter, PCM, and battery regularly if you are driving an old car.
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Overheating significantly reduces the transmission’s service life. Take action immediately if your transmission is overheating to avoid a costly repair down the line. The main reason for an overheating transmission is low transmission fluid. But a faulty transmission temperature sensor, starter, PCM, or battery can also cause transmission over temperature. You should be able to locate and fix the problem if you take the actions mentioned above.
Like an overheating engine, allowing your Jeep Commander’s transmission to overheat can damage it. Understand the signs and causes of an overheating transmission to avoid this.