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Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, your vehicle may fail to go into gear at any point. When this happens, you have no choice but to be stranded until you can figure out the problem. While the most logical solution is to have your car towed to an automotive repair shop, there are a few things you can do to see if they resolve the problem. When your car won’t go into gear, try out these recommendations from Express Auto Repair.

Press the Clutch Pedal All the Way Down

If you have a manual transmission, try pressing the clutch pedal down to the floor before changing gears. If this does not work, it may be too far gone to continue working properly. It may also be a bad clutch release bearing, misaligned clutch housing, or low fluid level.

Press Down the Brake

With an automatic transmission, if you can’t move the shift lever out of park mode, try pressing the brake down firmly. Modern cars have a safety component that locks the shifter to prevent accidental shifting into gear while parked. To release this safety lock, the vehicle must be turned on while you press on the brake pedal and shift into reverse or drive.

Check Transmission Fluid Levels

If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, you can use the dipstick under the hood to check the fluid level. Always follow the procedures in your vehicle’s manual when completing this step. Along with verifying that your transmission fluid is at the right level, you should also make sure it’s still a vibrant red color and that it doesn’t have a burnt smell. If the fluid is thick and goopy, or black, your transmission may be damaged, causing the inability to shift.

If you have a manual transmission, then you may not have a dipstick to check the fluid levels. Instead, look or feel in the filler hole to check if there’s fluid inside. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure while doing this or have a trusted tech from Express Auto Repair perform this service. You’ll want to verify the color and viscosity of the fluid and, if it’s the wrong color or smells burnt, then the transmission needs to be flushed and refilled with new fluid.

Try a Different Gear

If you are still unable to get your vehicle into gear, try testing it by putting it into a different gear. For example, if you were trying to put it into reverse gear but it won’t go, then try second or overdrive instead. This will help determine if a specific gear is causing the problem or if it’s something else entirely.
Check the Linkage Going to the Shifter
When the shift linkage breaks or comes loose, moving the shifter doesn’t tell the transmission to shift gears. It will only stay in the same gear.
To check the shift linkage, you’ll need to remove the shift boot or the center console, depending on the design of your vehicle. It may even be necessary to get under the car or find the linkage running through the engine bay to see what is happening. Once you find it, you’ll need to follow the linkage from the shifter to the transmission and verify that all the components are properly connected and don’t have signs of wear or damage.

Tow Your Vehicle to the Shop

Should your car not go into gear, the first recommendation is to have your car towed to the auto shop for an expert to diagnose and repair it. Our experienced team at Express Auto Repair is here to inspect your vehicle when you need it, and we will ensure that your vehicle is performing at its best. If your car is having issues going into gear, call Express Auto Repair today!