Common Jeep Patriot Transmission Problems: Symptoms, Causes & Fixes

jeep patriot transmission problems

Are you noticing issues shifting gears or accelerating in your Jeep Patriot? Do you hear grinding noises coming from the transmission? If so, you’re not alone. Jeep Patriots are prone to several common transmission problems.

The Patriot uses either a CVT (continuously variable transmission) or 6-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model year and trim package. Both transmission types can develop issues over time. The good news is that many transmission problems have affordable solutions if addressed early.

In this detailed guide, you’ll learn:

  • The top Jeep Patriot transmission problems and their symptoms
  • What causes these Patriot transmission issues to occur
  • Solutions and repair options to get your transmission operating smoothly again
  • Tips to prolong the life of your Jeep Patriot’s transmission

Knowing the common transmission problems in the Jeep Patriot along with their fixes can help you diagnose issues, prevent major repairs, and get your vehicle shifting properly again. Let’s dive in!

Slipping Transmission

One of the most common Jeep Patriot transmission problems is a slipping transmission. This occurs when the transmission slides between gears instead of smoothly engaging them. You’ll notice the following slipping transmission symptoms:

  • Delayed engagement when shifting – Takes longer for the transmission to switch gears
  • Lack of power – Accelerator pedal depression doesn’t correspond to expected engine power
  • High RPMs without acceleration – Engine RPMs rev up but vehicle doesn’t accelerate as expected
  • Trouble maintaining speed – Vehicle has trouble maintaining consistent speed, tends to slow down

What causes a slipping transmission in the Jeep Patriot? Here are a few possible culprits:

Low transmission fluid – Not having enough fluid causes the transmission to slip when changing gears. Fluid becomes low due to leaks or lack of servicing.

Worn clutch plates – The clutch plates that engage the transmission gears wear out over time. Excessive wear causes slippage between gears.

Faulty solenoids – Electronic transmission solenoids control gear engagement. Malfunctioning solenoids prevent smooth shifting.

Luckily, a slipping Jeep Patriot transmission can often be fixed without needing a full rebuild. Here are some solutions to try:

  • Check fluid levels – Inspect fluid levels first and top up if needed. Use manufacturer approved fluid. Low fluid due to a leak requires leak repair.
  • Flush the transmission – Drain all fluid, replace the filter, and refill with fresh fluid to resolve issues caused by contaminated or old fluid.
  • Replace solenoids – Faulty solenoids that cause gear engagement issues can be replaced individually as an affordable fix.
  • Install updated clutch plates – Worn clutch packs can be replaced to restore solid gear transitions if slippage persists after fluid and solenoid remedies are attempted.

Catching slipping transmission issues early and addressing the cause prevents damage to internal components. But letting it go too long may require transmission overhaul or replacement.

Transmission Shifting Hard

Does your Jeep Patriot jerk or shudder when shifting gears? Do you notice delayed and firm gear changes? Hard shifting is another common transmission complaint among Patriot owners.

Symptoms of hard shifting include:

  • Harsh gear changes – Transmission jerks or slams into the next gear
  • Delayed shifting – Takes longer than normal for gears to engage
  • Trouble downshifting – Difficulty shifting into lower gears smoothly

These shifting problems are typically caused by:

  • Low fluid level – Like slippage, low fluid causes difficulty changing gears smoothly.
  • Worn clutch discs – Excessive clutch disc wear leads to changes in friction that affect shifting.
  • Blocked check valves – Tiny valves that regulate transmission pressure get clogged, leading to firm shifts.

Here are some repair options for fixing hard shifting issues:

  • Fluid flush service – Drain old fluid and contaminants and replace with fresh approved fluid.
  • Install updated clutch plates – New clutch discs help transmission friction engage gears properly.
  • Clean check valves – Removing blockages in check valves restores smooth pressure changes between gears.
  • Solenoids or sensors – Faulty electronic components that assist shifting may require replacement.

Performing these repairs and getting any leaks fixed can restore normal, smooth gear changes in your Patriot. Ignoring the issue accelerates wear and tear.

Transmission Overheating

The transmission in the Jeep Patriot generates a lot of heat during normal operation. But if you notice the smell of burning transmission fluid or see smoke coming from under the hood, your transmission may be overheating.

Some common symptoms your Patriot’s transmission is running hot include:

  • Burning odor from engine bay
  • Transmission fluid leaking or boiling over
  • Smoke coming from transmission housing
  • Hot smell inside the cabin
  • Transmission warning light illumination

Overheating is usually the result of:

  • Insufficient transmission fluid – Low levels prevent proper cooling and lubrication causing overheating.
  • Clogged transmission cooler – Blockages don’t allow fluid to exchange heat properly leading to heat buildup.
  • Failing cooling components – Malfunctioning cooling valves or lines prevent proper heat dissipation.

Before serious damage occurs, try these overheating fixes:

  • Top up low fluid levels – Inspect fluid levels and top up if needed. Repair any leaks.
  • Replace cooler lines – Flush debris from cooler lines or install updated transmission cooler hoses.
  • Replace the radiator – If the transmission cooler is built into the radiator, replacing the entire radiator prevents reoccurring issues.
  • Install auxiliary transmission cooler – Adding an aftermarket transmission cooler provides extra cooling capacity as repairs are made.

Overheating can lead to premature transmission failure if left unchecked. Address the cause right away to avoid an expensive rebuild or replacement.

Complete Transmission Failure

In severe cases, Jeep Patriot transmissions can completely fail. Symptoms include:

  • No drive – Vehicle won’t move in forward or reverse
  • Grinding noises – Loud grinding coming from transmission
  • Check engine light – Error codes set for transmission issues

While rare, catastrophic transmission failure does occur when fluid leaks, overheating, or other problems are left unaddressed.

Common causes for complete failure include:

  • Internal component damage – Insufficient lubrication and excessive heat wear down clutches, gears, shafts, and other parts until they fail.
  • Electrical issues – Electrical problems prevent proper transmission function leading to breakdown.
  • Faulty valve body – Malfunctions in the valve body that controls fluid pressure and flow can catastrophically fail.

When you experience complete transmission failure, rebuilding or replacing the transmission are generally your only options. Costs often exceed $2000 for parts and labor.

Preventing minor issues from escalating into complete failure saves you from costly repairs down the road.

Tips to Prolong Transmission Life

The best way to avoid major transmission repairs in your Jeep Patriot is preventative maintenance. Here are some tips:

  • Use recommended fluid – Keep the transmission full with the manufacturer’s advised fluid. This provides proper lubrication and friction.
  • Change fluid regularly – Flush the old fluid and sediments every 30,000 miles or 2 years.
  • Don’t overload the vehicle – Exceeding cargo weight capacity strains the transmission.
  • Install transmission cooler – An auxiliary cooler regulates operating temperatures for longevity.
  • Fix leaks promptly – Address any fluid leaks right away to maintain proper levels and prevent overheating.
  • Listen for problems – Don’t ignore noises, slipping or odd behaviors that indicate impending issues.

Following these best practices minimizes wear and significantly extends the life of your Jeep Patriot’s transmission.


Jeep Patriot transmissions are susceptible to issues like slipping, hard shifting, overheating, and premature failure if maintenance is neglected.

Knowing the common transmission problems these vehicles face along with their warning signs helps you diagnose issues early. Catching problems before major damage occurs also keeps repair costs affordable.

Implementing proper fluid changes, preventing leaks, installing coolers, and not overloading your Patriot goes a long ways towards avoiding costly transmission repairs. With proactive maintenance and swift diagnosis of problems, your Patriot’s transmission will shift smoothly for years to come.

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