The automatic transmission can develop problems like erratic shifting, rough shifting, or delayed gear engagement. Repairs for many of these problems are outlined in service bulletins.
Problems for specific Dodge Avenger years:
Car problem reports
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Most reported 1998 Dodge Avenger problems
Sensor failure inside the distributor can cause intermittent stalling or a failure to start. In addition, the wires to the distributor are susceptible to internal damage, which can cause the same symptoms.
A defective vehicle speed sensor can cause problems with the cruise control and speedometer operation, as well as erratic shifting. The connectors on the sensors are also susceptible to corrosion, which will create similar symptoms. Any of these problems can cause Check Engine Light illumination.
Spark plug tube seals fail, causing the tubes to fill with engine oil and the engine to misfire. As a result, the engine may run poorly and fuel economy can suffer.
There have been reports of premature head gasket failure; an updated gasket design is available to correct this problem.
Failure to use the correct automatic transmission fluid and follow the maintenance schedule can result in shifting problems.
A rattle from the rear of the vehicle may indicate that the rear shock absorbers are defective. Updated shocks are available; however, careful inspection of all suspension components should be performed before any parts are replaced.
Software updates are available to address transmission issues. However, due to the age of these vehicles, mechanical failures are more likely to be causing transmission problems. If a mechanical failure is repaired or the transmission is replaced, it is important to make sure any software updates have been taken care of. Failure to do so could result in continuing transmission issues.