I have a 2003 Passat GLS with the 1.8T engine and an A/T. Lately the A/T is acting up. When I slow to a stop, the engine stumbles and then catches itself. It's very similar to what happens when you have a manual trans and wait too long to let out the clutch when you're slowing to a stop. Also, I've observed some slipping in various situations such as downshifting or sudden acceleration. When it downshifts, it sometimes bangs into the lower gear. The car has only 74,000 miles and has had pretty gentle use.

Would it make sense to first try flushing and replacing the fluid and strainer. VW, I believe, says the fluid doesn't need to be changed. It's there for life, they say. I'm not sure I buy that.

What should it cost for a flush, filter replacement, and pan cleaning? I called the local VW dealer and asked them about this and they acted like there was something wrong with me for asking this.

Any other ideas? Thank you.