What to Do When Your Car Won't Shift Gears

Posted on: 25 September 2023

Driving your car is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but there are several things that can make it much less so. One of the most frustrating is when your car refuses to shift gears. This problem can be caused by a variety of things, from a simple issue with your transmission fluid to a major mechanical problem. 

Check your transmission fluid:

The first thing you should do if you're having trouble shifting gears is to check your transmission fluid. The transmission fluid acts as both a lubricant and coolant for your transmission. Therefore, if the fluid level is low or contaminated, it can lead to issues with shifting. Ensure to refer to your owner's manual for guidance on inspecting the level of transmission fluid. If it's low, add more fluid and see if that fixes the problem.

Check your shift linkage:

If your transmission fluid levels are normal, the next thing to check is your shift linkage. This is the mechanism that connects your gear shifter to your transmission. If the linkage is loose or not properly adjusted, it can prevent your gears from shifting smoothly. Adjusting your shift linkage is a simple process, but if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you may want to have a professional take a look.

Look for mechanical problems:

If your transmission fluid levels are normal and your shift linkage is functioning properly, the problem may be a mechanical one. Issues with your clutch, flywheel, or even your transmission itself can cause the gears to refuse to shift. Unfortunately, diagnosing and fixing mechanical problems with your car can be expensive and time-consuming. If you suspect that the problem is mechanical, it's best to take your car to a professional mechanic.

Seek professional help:

Even if you're comfortable with doing basic repairs on your car, it's important to know when it's time to seek professional help. If you've checked your transmission fluid levels, adjusted your shift linkage, and still can't get your gears to shift, there may be a more serious problem with your car. A skilled mechanic has the ability to identify the issue and provide a resolution. Moreover, they can provide you with an estimate of the repair cost, enabling you to make an informed decision on the next steps to take.

Preventative maintenance:

The best way to avoid problems with your car's transmission is to perform regular preventative maintenance. This includes checking your transmission fluid levels, having your transmission fluid changed regularly, and having your shift linkage inspected by a professional mechanic on a regular basis. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your car's transmission stays in good working order for as long as possible, which will save you time and money in the long run. 

For more info about manual transmissions, contact a local company.