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Hello community.

I have quietly stalked these forums for several years as a non-registered viewer. I finally have incentive to register now that I am dealing with a slight mechanical issue.

I have a 2009 Smart Pure that I purchased in 2012. A few weeks ago I received a letter from Mercedes Benz detailing a recall issue that would be remedied at no charge. This was replacement of the mat/carpet that covers the engine compartment in the rear of the vehicle (I guess some of these were a fire hazard). Seems like a simplistic enough thing to fix. To not miss work, I had the car towed to the dealer and carpooled to work with a friend.

While the car was at the dealership getting the recall work done, I was alerted that the check engine light was on, and was asked if I wanted a diagnostic test to be run. I agreed, but told the service manager that it seemed odd to me. The engine light was not on prior to being towed, and the nature of the recall repairs didn't seem like something that would involve disturbing the actual internal components of the engine compartment. Frankly, it just seemed odd that it would come on at that specific time under those circumstances. The service manager didn't disagree, but basically said they can check it for a fee of $150, or they won't and it was up to me. So, I had them go for it. I later receive a call that the diagnostic code read something about a transmission related issue, specifically reverse gear. The service manager said that it isn't a big deal right now, but if it continues to happen, it may end up in the reverse gear no longer functioning and that the only remedy would be replacing the vehicle's transmission.

I check the invoice after I picked the car up yesterday, and the print out said that the engine code has come up once, and that if it comes up 5 or more times transmission replacement is recommended. I drove it home, and the light was off (It was about a 20 mile drive home). I drive it for my 3 mile work commute this morning and the check engine light is back on. I am a bit baffled by the timing, I guess. No check engine light, towed, recall work, check engine light is on. I feel like something isn't adding up.

It's not super heavy mileage for its age (65k miles). It doesn't go long distances or experience heavy abuse. I didn't get a quote of the transmission replacement because everything I have ever heard about transmission replacement goes to the tune of, "If you have to replace the transmission, it makes more sense to replace the entire car." Due to age and condition, the car is only worth a couple thousand dollars or so. It has been a reliable little car.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Have any suggestions? I am not tech savvy myself, and my wedding is October 27th so I am a bit strapped at the moment. Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks!

-Seth
 

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Just a thought ut how old is your battery?? sometimes an old battery will cause random codes or a bad ground/positive cable can cause troubles. At $150, you could have almost paid for a good scanner that would read codes.
Could be a coincidence that the codes came up after the tow, or maybe the tow knocked something loose..
 

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I can't help with diagnosing your issue but.... If the transmission fails just replace it with a used one. A quick search of Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market shows tons with 10k miles or less for under $300. Time to replace the trans is listed at just under 6 hours. At $100/hr shop rate you're under $1k.

Also $150 to run a code is ridiculous. It takes them literally minutes. You can get a phone based code reader for under $20 and get the codes yourself. I just purchased a stand alone code reader that will read ABS, air bag codes etc that the phone based stuff won't for $115 off amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IUIDFSS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Wow, I am stunned about the service manager stating it might get stuck in reverse gear. The problem was that they tend to have problems going into reverse IF they have not had the software upgrade that was done by some dealers FOR FREE! Sometimes they charge you the hook up to their computer charge of $150.00 which they have ALREADY done to you and did not update the software!!! from what I can tell.
Autozone and others can and will hook up and retrieve basic codes that you can look up on Google to find out what they represent. Sometimes the lamp will go out all by itself if it is a non issue kind of thing that happens intermittently. I like to know which code is causing the light to illuminate. I also always have a scan gauge plugged in that lets me read out most basic codes and reset some.
 

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The gear shifter motors are electric and certainly depend on good voltage from the battery, so If it has the original battery, it is overdue. The computer may believe the battery is okay, but identifies the reverse shifter motor as a problem if it is not getting enough current from a weak battery to do what it needs to do. Those shifter motors can be replaced as a module without replacing the transmission. The transmissions are made by Getrag and are extremely reliable. The shifter motors and clutch actuator are more likely culprits than the transmission itself.
I would ask if the software upgrade has been done on your car, and if not would they do it for free since they did not do it when they had it hooked up the first time. It is a significant upgrade and even changes the shift points, so I would encourage that. It came out shortly after the 08's and early to mid 09's came out. It not only fixes but also prevents the susceptible problem of difficult gear shifting particularly into reverse.
 
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