Getting your stuck in gear can be frightening and frustrating. While it’s easy to panic, there are things you can do to solve the problem. We’re going to take you through what to do if your shifter moves freely but your car is stuck in gear.
Faulty Shift Lever Linkages or Broken Shifter
If your shifter moves freely, but your car is stuck in gear, the link between the gearbox and shift lever might be damaged. Even though the shifter moves freely, the linkage might not be moving to the required extent to shift gears.
You can gauge this by checking whether the shifter is the only thing that moves while everything else remains in place. If so, the problem could be the cables or a broken shifter. If the shifter isn’t broken, check both ends of the cable to determine if they’re properly attached.
Damaged Transmission Cable Connector Bush
It’s also possible that the shift linkage could have come off on the transmission side. This usually happens when the connector end bushing is damaged and fails to hold on to the shifter cable.
It is a fairly common problem for the plastic bushing that holds the transmission shifter cable to break and fall apart. You can either replace the bushing to fix the problem or have the entire cable replaced. Replacing the cables is easy and doesn’t cost more than $100. You will have to make a trip to the repair shop, though, to resolve the issue.
If the gearbox linkages are fine, then the fault lies within the gearbox. It could be a mechanical transmission issue and requires removal and repair. An early sign of gearbox trouble is delayed shifting. If your car pauses before shifting from the park gear to first gear, experiences jerky forward motion during gear shifting, and is slower in response to reverse gear shift, your gearbox needs a check.
Vehicle jumping during acceleration, transmission grinding, and slipping are some other indicators of a transmission fault.
Faulty Manual Stick Shift Gear Synchros
If you drive a manual stick shift, transmission components called synchros are responsible for synchronizing the spin speed of gears you’re shifting between. Synchros ensure smooth gear shifting by matching the spinning speed of the gear you’re shifting from with the spinning speed of the gear you’re shifting to. If these gear synchros are worn out, they can lead to problems in manual transmission resulting in total transmission failure eventually.
Worn Out Automatic Transmission Needle Roller Bearings
If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission system, you might want to look at the state of the needle roller bearings. These small and lightweight bearings prevent gears from grinding. Worn-out needle roller bearings lead to a slow working gear system. If your vehicle is making brushing or grinding noises., it’s a good indicator that the needle roller bearings need to be changed lest they damage the transmission gears due to inefficient movement.
If your car is stuck in gear, you can’t drive it, obviously. You’ll need to get the car towed to the nearest service center or call a trained professional to fix the issue on-site. There’s no question of driving this vehicle until the gears move with the shift.