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Discussion Starter #1
I drive a 2012 Pop (6-speed automatic) which I purchased used at ~102K miles. I drove it heavily as I commute 45 minutes each way to my college, and have used this car for this since fall 2018. I have put just over 20,000 miles on the car.

Since quarantine issues began, I went from driving my car 60 miles a day, 5 days a week, to almost not at all since March. I have noticed especially lately that it feels extremely sluggish. I have to push the gas pedal down almost all the way to get it to engage past 50mph, and my RPMs are not consistent, fluctuating from 2500-4000 when trying to reach speeds 60mph or higher. The RPMs also seem to hop around when going lower speeds of 20-50mph. It’s like the car does not want to go fast anymore, especially when encountering hills.
My oil is fresh (not even 2K miles since last change) and I just replaced my engine air filter today to no avail. If anything, my car is even louder now than it was before I changed the filter. There are no warning lights illuminated.

The RPMs in general seem to be slightly higher than they used to be as well. When I was a regular commuter, I could go 75mph with relative ease at just under 3000rpm, but now I have to basically force the car to shift to even reach 75mph, and the RPM sits a bit above 3000 now. In general the RPMs and shifting feels very inconsistent and sluggish. Does anyone know what this could be? Could it be a result of the drastic change in usage? A transmission issue?
 

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When was the transmission oil changed last time ?
Sluggish shifting could easily relate to worn oil - changes in shifting behavior could also be related to old oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
At least not since I have had the car. I did ask about transmission fluid when I got my engine oil changed about 8 months ago, and was told that it looked fine at that time. But it is also my understanding that the automatic models don’t have transmission fluid that is intended to be serviced. I don’t know much about cars, is the transmission fluid the same thing as transmission oil in this case?
 

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Yes - transmission oil is the only fluid supposed to get into the box - any other fluids will bring you trouble ;o)
And it is oil - but with different specs than i.e. engine oil.
Not shure what type of auto-box is used in your Fiat, but in the traditional auto-box, the oil pressure is not only used for lubrication, but also the pressure is used to perform the shifting, thus old and worn oil can easily give you an "interesting" shift pattern ;o)

Had a Volvo that definately needed transmission oil changed at certain intervals.
The transmission specialist told that Mercedes resently had introduced new auto-boxes that never needed an oil change. But the taxi-drivers started to come to him and asked him to find a way to change the oil as they didn't really trust Mercedes' claims. And as taxi drivers are usually the first owners that rack up seerious miles on a new model - they were the first to realize that the auto-boxes started to need some more service than what Mercedes claimed in their sales prospects.
And after some time with a rising number of complaints over failure in the serie of new auto-boxes - Mercedes changed their guides and introduced a kit, enabling oil change on same boxes ;o)
Note: here in Denmark, Mercedes are very popular with the taxi-companies, I'd say they have 90% of the market here. So when thetaxi drivers start complaining - Mercedes listens !
 

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I changed my "sealed" automatic transmission fluid just recently at 66,000 miles and it came out black. I did a drain and refill twice and plan on another real soon. I also got my transmission "whine" to go away. Sealed simply means no servicing required until it breaks and is out of warranty. Then it's lifetime is over. "Lifetime" is much longer if you change the fluid. Wear inside the trans is accelerated as particles build up and flow around causing even more wear.
 

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Lifetime fill should always be considered to mean lifetime of the warranty. From a major oil brands technical desk

on the performance; Consider stale gas. Boost the octane, replace the fuel, or burn it off while driving carefully (to reduce occurrences of detonation) and then refill with fresh fuel. Then drive a while as normal and see if performance improves as the ecu relearns your driving style and all other necessary parameters under the fresh, adequate octane fuel.
 

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Next fill up run some fuel injector cleaner, in you gas tank. Is your engine air filter clean? How old, is your spark plugs?
 
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