What to Do When Your Car Won’t Go in Gear

Car Won't Go In Gear

Trying to get out of first gear to no avail? Any other day, your car shifts from gear to gear with ease. But suddenly, the shifter is stuck in place, and you’re stranded. Several things could be wrong, from low fluid to a failed transmission. Only a mechanic can determine the exact cause, but there are things you can do in the meantime:

Try these tips if your car won’t go into gear.

Take a Look at the Transmission Fluid

The first thing you should do if your gear shifter gets stuck is check your fluid levels. Transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts so that your car can shift seamlessly. If the levels are low, you may notice:

  • A burning smell
  • Strange sounds
  • Illuminated warning light
  • Difficulty switching gears
  • Transmission slipping
  • Leaking fluid

A mechanic can top off transmission fluid if you discover it’s low. Drivers should also flush the transmission fluid based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Push the Clutch Harder

Sticking gears could indicate a clutch problem if you have a manual transmission. Pressing the pedal down disengages the clutch system, which is necessary to switch gears. Releasing the clutch pedal reengages the pressure plate and flywheel to get you moving again. If any of these components fail, you’ll get stuck in place.

Pressing the clutch all the to the floor may help disengage the system so that you can switch gears. Even if pushing down harder works, you’ll still want a mechanic to inspect the clutch system to ensure things are in working order.

Press Down the Brake

Automatic transmissions have a safety feature in place to prevent unexpected movement. Without it, you could mistakenly change gears too soon and cause an accident. Before shifting into a different gear while parked, you must press down on the brake to release this mechanism. The next time you notice your shifter won’t budge, make sure your foot is on the brake pedal.

Shift into a Different Gear

When all else fails, try shifting your vehicle into a different gear. This simple test will help determine if you should replace a single gear or need to rebuild the entire transmission. For example, a stretched gear cable could prevent your car from changing gears correctly. If you can shift into reverse but not move forward, a worn-out solenoid, clutch, or gear could be to blame.

Still Stuck? Tow Your Car to a Trusted Mechanic

If you still can’t get your vehicle into gear after trying these tips, it’s time to have it towed to a reputable auto shop. At Guardian Transmission Repair, we will run diagnostics to pinpoint the actual problem. Our mechanics work on all types of transmission, including manual, automatic, and CVT. With us on your side, it won’t be long before your car shifts smoothly again.

Struggling to shift out of park? Get in touch with mechanics at Guardian Transmission Repair to learn what to do when your car won’t go in gear.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott is a well recognized and highly skilled transmission and drive line expert in the Transmission Industry. To keep up with today’s ever changing transmission repair industry he has attended over 120 transmission and driveline seminars over a 35 year career. Jason has also taught many classes in transmission repair, diagnostics, and more. Jason has also been a key speaker at his own transmission technical seminar in the metro Atlanta area. Jason has been featured in “Gears Magazine” ( Tools of the Trade ) where he was recognized for his excellence in transmission service.

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