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▷▷ 2021 ▷ Stuck gearshift: causes and treatment

3 julio, 2021

For Dan collins

Published March 22, 2019

There is nothing more frustrating than a stuck gear change when you have errands to run and places to be. This issue can be resolved on the spot if your parking brake is stuck or may require a mechanic visit in the event of a serious transmission-related issue. Each symptom has its own treatment, so read on to learn more about this problem and how you can fix it.


  • Damaged security mechanism

Every car has a safety mechanism that prevents it from pulling out of the parking lot until the driver steps on the brake pedal. This mechanism is called a shift interlock solenoid. Solenoids are metal coils that are shaped like cylinders and allow you to move the shift lever with ease. When the brake pedal is depressed, the solenoid receives a signal and this causes a mechanical lock to be released that allows the shift to move. A damaged shift lock solenoid will stop receiving the brake pedal signal and will not be able to exit the park. This safety mechanism was built to last, and once it starts causing problems like trapping the key in the ignition and interfering with gear shifting, the system needs to be diagnosed and replaced.

  • Brake light switch failure

If the brake lights stop working, this can directly affect the shift lock mechanism. These lights are activated by a switch, and if this switch breaks, the gear lever will get stuck. A brake light switch can be tested by simply pressing and releasing the brake pedal in the presence of a friend or family member who can stand behind the car and observe the brake lights during this test. If you press the pedal and nothing happens, then the culprit is a faulty switch that will require further testing by a mechanic.

Automatic gearshift handle

  • Transmission Parking Pawl Problems

The transmission park pawl is another safety mechanism that was designed to prevent the wheels from spinning when the gear lever is placed in park. A damaged ratchet will cause the car to roll forward or backward after you put the gear stick in park. If you rely solely on the ratchet and transmission park position to keep your car from moving, you risk damaging the ratchet and jamming your car as well. This situation can only be resolved by releasing the ratchet. Moving your car uphill will take the weight off the ratchet and release the gear stick. Just make sure to immediately activate the electronic brake before the car returns to its original position.

  • Defective shift cable

Cars with an automatic transmission are equipped with a cable that connects the transmission to the gear lever. Manual transmission cars are equipped with two cables instead of one. These cables can break or stretch depending on your riding style. Changing gears regularly and sudden changes can cause premature damage. A stretched cable can wreak havoc, and drivers will find it difficult to shift gears. Your car keys will eventually get stuck in the ignition and other problems will follow as well. For example, you will begin to notice that the indicator is pointing to reverse while your car is still parked.

  • Limp mode is on

Lameness mode occurs when your car’s computer cannot read the signals coming from the sensors. These sensors help your vehicle determine when to shift gears and receiving an inaccurate date will automatically activate emergency mode. This mode will lock the transmission in second or third gear and you cannot move it. This feature was designed to protect the transmission until the driver arrives at an auto repair shop where the problem is usually diagnosed.

Driving the car in limp mode is considered risky as drivers will not be able to accelerate down the road. Therefore, it is recommended to leave the car parked and call a towing service to pick it up just to be safe.

  • Weather-related problem

Sometimes the problem has to do with exterior elements that are beyond your control. Drivers who live in areas where the temperature drops below freezing may encounter transmission system problems. Cold weather can wreak havoc on the system, resulting in low line pressure and gear problems as well. A lock solenoid …

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