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Car Won’t Shift Into Gear? 3 Transmission Issues & Quick Fixes

Modern cars, trucks, and SUVs are works of engineering art. They overcome hazardous road conditions and drive more smoothly than ever before. Even though most daily cars are now more durable and reliable thanks to technology, gearbox issues can still be very troublesome. Even worse, the latest developments in transmission technology can make it difficult for seasoned mechanics to identify transmission issues and decide how to fix them.

Whether automatic, manual, or direct-drive, is made up of multiple pieces that must function harmoniously to move your daily driver. This is true of the majority of mechanical parts that make up the powertrain. There are numerous potential causes for transmission failures.

Your Car Won’t Engage Gears? How to Diagnose this Condition

A hydraulic device known as an automatic transmission consists of a number of lines, gears, and valve bodies that enable the system to progressively supply power from the engine to a torque converter, through the valve body to the driveshaft, and ultimately ā€” to the axel. When your automobile won’t shift into gear or won’t drive forward or backward while it’s in gear, the underlying problem is often connected to one of these three sources:

  • Electrical issue: The car’s onboard computer is communicated with by a network of sensors, switches, and electrical wiring in automatic transmissions. A simple electrical malfunction can frequently impair the communication ability, preventing it from engaging.
  • The hydraulic system is jammed: Most automatic transmissions in use today, including the CVT or Continuous Variable Transmission, rely on keeping clean fluids and a suitable fluid level to maintain the operating temperature to deliver the required hydraulic pressure. Debris in the system might clog the lines and reduce effectiveness.
  • A mechanical malfunction: Unbelievable as it may seem, mechanical damage to internal components is the least likely cause of a gearbox problem.

Let’s go over the top three issues with automatic transmissions.

1. Faulty Linkage or Sensor Connection

Put this under “pesky electrical problems” as a major cause of your automobile not shifting into drive. All automatic transmissions use a set of sensors and electrical connections to interact with the onboard computer, as we said previously. A rusted, filthy, or loose wire may occasionally prevent a vehicle from engaging its gears.

How do I solve this problem?

This task is best left to a qualified technician like at Ralph’s Transmission. Our mechanics visit your location, assess the problem, and run a few diagnostic tests utilizing cutting-edge technology to establish whether this is just a “loose or dirty wiring issue” or something more serious.

2. Linkage Cable or Brake Switch Error

A broken linkage cable, shift interlock solenoid, or brake switch may be to blame if you can’t physically move the transmission into gear and are also having trouble starting the car. Because of these safety features, the driver cannot start the car when it is in forward or backward gear. These components are also known as the shift lock release.

A defective brake switch may also cause the engine not to start. But if the engine is running and the car won’t shift into gear, the linkage cable may be loose, broken, or disconnected.

How do I solve this problem?

Our qualified mechanic will correctly identify the underlying issue as the first step in resolving this problem. The brake switch is probably fine if the car is starting. The mechanic will now do a physical examination to identify the part or parts that need to be replaced.

3. Ineffective automatic transmission fluid

As we previously said, your car, truck, or SUV may not shift into gear if your transmission fluid is unclean or polluted. Although most automatic gearboxes are sealed systems, the filters or gaskets will deteriorate with time and let debris get into the hydraulic lines. A leaky automatic transmission may also be the result of low fluid.

When this is the problem, you may occasionally detect a burning smell brought on by overheating. If the check engine light is on or there is not enough fluid, you can check the fluid level by looking at the transmission dipstick.

How do I solve this problem?

The most straightforward approach to prevent this issue is to do the manufacturer’s recommended fluid flush. However, if this is the reason your car won’t shift, you’ll need our qualified staff to handle this for you. Always consult us when performing a transmission fluid cleanse, especially on vehicles older than five years.

Key Takeaways

Owners of cars, trucks, and SUVs frequently experience extreme anxiety due to issues. However, regular maintenance, such as changing or replacing your transmission fluid as advised by your manufacturer, is essential to keep them in good working order. Checking the transmission fluid level once a month can occasionally save you from needing to make significant repairs.

If you hear grinding noises, experience difficulty changing gears, or notice any slipping, it’s important to take swift action. Reaching out to a qualified mobile mechanic, like Ralph Transmission, as soon as possible is the best course of action. Waiting can only exacerbate the issue and lead to costly repairs. At Ralph Transmission, we have the expertise and experience to diagnose and fix issues quickly and efficiently. We aim to get you back on the road as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late; contact Ralph Transmission today for expert transmission service.