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These cars have good quality engines. If it has always been taken good care of and driven carefully, I believe, there shouldn't be major issues that will cost you a fortune. It is not a secret that dealership always tries to do as much repairs as possible and their prices are high.
I suggest to check the easily repaired items first: fluids levels, drive belts, leaks - Inspect transmission fluid:must be pink color - not brown,not smell burned,not be foaming and correctly leveled. Simply look under the car and see if any fluid is drooping down. If not - still inspect the transmission and cooling systems visually,use mirror if needed (good idea to drive it a few miles before checking). See if both fans work - they must switch on and off periodically while engine is running. Check accelerator and shift cables for proper adjustment and smooth operating. Drive belts should be correctly centered. Overheating problems may also be caused by thermostat or water pump faulty, bad radiator cap.
Poor engine performance; improper adjustments; hydraulic, mechanical, computer-network malfunctions - they all can cause transaxle malfunction.
There is also a chance that your shift and cooling system problems are not related.
Any way transaxle system is sophisticated and if none of before mentioned helps, you will need a specialist help.
Haynes Repair Manual will give you all necessary information and advices. Buy it in auto part store or online for about $15.
 
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