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6 Reasons The Transmission In Your Vehicle Might Not Shift Into Gear


Pretty much everybody knows how important the engine is in making vehicles move, but the transmission is just as vital. So, a transmission that won’t shift into gear is a real problem. This can happen on vehicles with automatic transmissions as well as those with manual transmissions. We’ve gathered six potential reasons that your transmission may not shift into gear. For most of these, it’s best to have your VW inspected immediately.

Automatic shifter in Drive
Cross-section of a torque converter

6. Human Error

Before you start worrying, make sure to check for common mistakes first. If you drive a car with automatic transmission, make sure that the vehicle is turned on and that your foot is on the brake when you try to shift out of “Park.” If your car is equipped with a manual transmission, be sure that you’re depressing the clutch pedal all the way as you attempt to shift.

5. The Shift Lock Solenoid Is Damaged

We mentioned earlier that drivers with automatic transmissions should make sure that the brake pedal is depressed when shifting out of “Park.” A component called the shift lock solenoid is what makes this necessary. Essentially, it makes it tougher to accidentally bump the shifter into “Drive” or “Reverse.” However, a shift lock solenoid that has failed or been damaged may not respond when you press the brake pedal. Fortunately, this is typically a quick and affordable to repair

4. The Torque Converter Has Gone Bad

The torque converter in an automatic transmission serves the same purpose as the clutch in a manual transmission. The torque converter is an intricate part with components that include a pump, a turbine, a stator, and a transmission field. If any of these parts fail, the torque converter may make automatic shifting difficult. Even if you manage to get into gear, the transmission may slip in and out of gear.

Manual transmission shifter stick

3. The Clutch Master Cylinder Isn’t Working

In vehicles that have manual transmission, the clutch is responsible for connecting and disconnecting the engine from the transmission so that the engine isn’t applying pressure to the gears. That’s what allows you to shift gears, and most modern manual transmissions are operated with a hydraulic clutch. The clutch master cylinder is the part that’s responsible for engaging the clutch, and it uses hydraulic fluid. If there’s a leak or other issue with this system, shifting will most likely be far more difficult, or even impossible.

2. The Shift Linkage Is Damaged

“Shift linkage” is the term for the physical components that connect the transmission to the shifter. If the linkage has been damaged or has otherwise failed, the shifter won’t be able to tell the transmission that it needs to shift. However, we are seeing electronically controlled transmissions become more common, so there’s a chance that your newer vehicle doesn’t even have the traditional shift linkage.

1. The Transmission Fluid Is Low or Degraded

Whether you drive an automatic or manual vehicle, it contains transmission fluid that lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. If this fluid is low or leaking, shifting may become difficult, or you may not be able to shift at all. If you notice a puddle of slick red or brownish fluid under your car, it may be the transmission fluid. You should have this looked at

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