My Transmission Will Not Shift!

Automatic TransmissionThe transmission is as necessary in a vehicle as the engine itself.  Imagine leaving your car in first gear and trying to maintain speed on the highway, or start from a dead stop in fifth gear.  Engines that are put in vehicles today are designed to run safely in a very specific range or speeds, or RPMs.  If you’ve ever noticed an area where the numbers turn red on your cars tachometer, it’s an indication of the upper limits of your engines ability to safely spin.  Also, automobile engines are designed to run efficiently in an even narrower window.  Since we all want to be able to operate our vehicles comfortably whether we are going 5 miles per hour in a parking lot, or 70 on the highway, we need a transmission coupled to the engine to turn its relatively low range of operating speeds into the wide range of desired speeds for a car.

The automatic transmission in your car surprisingly shares a lot of similarities with the early transmissions in the Ford Model T.  The backbone of most modern day automatics is still the planetary gear system which was used in the Model T.  Similar to a manual transmission, the teeth of the gears in an automatic transmission are always meshing.  In a manual transmission, when you select a different gear, what you really are doing is coupling a different set of gears to the input and output shafts in the transmission.  The theory is similar for an automatic transmission, but the gears are arranged in a much different way.

transmission not shiftingThe planetary gear set in an automatic transmission is named such because there is one large gear in the middle with smaller gears around it, much like a large sun with planets orbiting it.  There is also a third gear around those called the ring gear.  Different gear ratios are obtained by coupling the sun, the planet, or the ring gears either to the input shaft or the output shaft.  The gears that aren’t coupled to the input or output shaft may be held still, or allowed to rotate freely.  For a more thorough explanation check out:

Most automatic transmissions have two sets of planetary gears in them to accomplish all of the gear ratios needed to be useful in your car.  The difficult part is figuring out how to allow any of the gears in the transmission to be coupled either to the input shaft or the output shaft, be held stationary and be able to spin in either direction.  This is usually accomplished through a series of bands, wet clutches and springs.  These bands and clutches are designed to operate in a wet environment, meaning some lubricant should be present to ensure proper operation.  Also, the control of these devices is usually accomplished by fluid pressure that is controlled by your vehicle’s computer.

Transmission wont shiftThe fluid which creates the pressure to operate the clutches and bands as well as lubricate them is automatic transmission fluid.  If your transmission is running low on transmission fluid, the first symptom is usually a hard shifting condition, meaning your car will jolt forward when it shifts.  With enough fluid loss, your transmission will eventually be stuck in one gear.

The best solution is to add the correct amount of the manufacturer’s recommended transmission fluid along with BlueDevil’s Transmission Sealer.  Rather than struggling through finding the leak and possible expensive repair bills, use BlueDevil Transmission Sealer.  It is guaranteed to revitalize the seals in your transmission to stop any leaks making sure your transmission fluid stays at the proper level and your transmission continues to function properly.

BlueDevil Transmission Sealer

You can pick up BlueDevil Transmission Sealer online here:

Or you can purchase BlueDevil Transmission Sealer from your local auto parts store like:

  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Car Quest Auto Parts
  • Autozone
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • Prime Automotive
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • NAPA

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26 responses to “My Transmission Will Not Shift!

    1. Thyvannia-

      The best place to start would be to change your transmission fluid and filter and then double check to make sure the fluid level is correct. If you are still experiencing difficulty shifting after changing the fluid and filter then you may want to have your vehicle diagnosed by a transmission specialist.



      1. Alex-

        You should never overfill the transmission. If it has already been overfilled you will want to drain or siphon enough transmission fluid out to bring it back to the proper fill range. We recommend doing so prior to driving the vehicle.

        Thank you!


    2. When car is in drive it does not advance into gear to let the car run smooth it just revvs I only changed the fluid in a saturn ion 3 – 2003

      1. Ronald,

        Thanks for your question about your Saturn Ion. If you’re experiencing this problem right after a fluid change then you most likely have an internal problem with your transmission. Problems after fluid changes usually indicate a clog, a failed internal seal or failed solenoids in your transmission. We would recommend starting by having your vehicle checked out by a Saturn dealership or transmission specialist.

        Thanks again for your question!
        -BD Auto Pro

  1. Clutch pedal works fine but the stick budge won’t move at all riding down the road 1 day went to 3 gear an then pedal want to flood then stick wood not move no more pedal works fine what you think could be problem before I change plate bearing clutch any ideas

    1. Nadina,

      Thanks for your question. It is possible that your transmission had a significant internal failure cause it to be stuck in gear, but since you mentioned your clutch malfunctioning, our best guess is that there still is a problem with your clutch. If your clutch is not disengaging, it would cause shifting to be difficult, if not impossible. Try checking your clutch slave cylinder for movement when you press the clutch pedal. If you do discover a larger problem like a bad throwout bearing, we would recommend replacing the clutch as well while you have the transmission out of your car.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto pro

  2. I have a 2002 Chrysler Concord and I just got a transmission put on my car and its not shifting a what else could it please lead me in a direction so I can get my car fixed.

    1. Chandra,

      Thanks for your question about your 2002 Chrysler Concord. Our first recommendation would be to take you car back to the mechanic that put the transmission in and have them check their work and see if they’ll repair things for free. Assuming the transmission you put in was good it could still be your torque converter or the computer control module for the transmission.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  3. I have a 2000 Chevy Silverado 4.8 liter and it shifts high out of first and second gear…but when it tries to shift out of second into third and 2000 rpm it high revs straight to 6000……do u have any suggestions on what could be my problem…..also there is no check engine light

    1. John,

      Thanks for your question about your Chevy Silverado. The problem you’re having could be due to a bad sensor that inputs into your transmission’s computer like the air flow sensor or the throttle position sensor. You may consider cleaning those sensors and the throttle body or checking them for proper operation. Since your problem only seems to be happening in one gear, it could also be that the band, clutch or shift solenoid for that gear is worn out. To find out if this is that case you would need to take your truck to a Chevy dealership and have the transmission and engine function analyzed in real time with a factory computer.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  4. I have a 2004 Buick Rainier and it will not shift from 2nd to 3rd the RPMs go super high and it sounds horrible. We have noticed that there is fluid now also. How bad is this?

    1. Amanda,

      Thanks for your question about your Buick Rainier. When it comes to an automatic transmission, unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do besides check the transmission fluid level and condition. If you’ve got a low fluid level or the fluid is dark or smells burnt you can try changing the transmission fluid to see if that gets things back to normal. If you check the fluid and don’t find any problems then you’re looking at a trip to the dealership or a transmission specialist. Based on your description your problem could be anything from an internal failure require a full rebuild to a bad shift solenoid, but it will take a specialist to diagnose the problem.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  5. I have a 2013 chevy 2500 will not move in drive, reverse or any other hear what could it be instead of the transmission. I’ve already checked the dise

    1. Terrell,

      Thanks for your question about your Chevy 2500. First, you might start with checking with your local chevy dealership to see if your truck might still have a powertrain warranty that would cover the cost of any repairs. You might also check your shift mechanism to make sure that when you’re moving your shifting it is actually moving the shift linkage or if it’s electronic actuated, make sure the sensors are registering the shift.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  6. Why All shifts is no response. I change the fluid(ATF) and its run and then suddenly its stop again and no other response in all shifts( DRIVE and REVERSE).

    1. Peping,

      Thanks for your question about your vehicle. Based on your description it sounds like things work properly for a little while after you added transmission fluid, but then suddenly stopped again. If that is the case, we would recommend checking for leaks as a low transmission fluid level could cause your transmission to malfunction in all gears. If you find a leak you can use BlueDevil Transmission Sealer (available here: to stop the leak and keep things working properly.

      If you don’t have a leak that is causing the problem then you may have some significant internal damage or failure and should consider taking your vehicle to a transmission specialist.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  7. my friend i have an isuzu trooper 1997 3.2 v6 petrol.. i was driving my car and suddenly he start losing power when i stop or reduce and want to accelerate again,or somotimes it fall down.. but the big problem is that the car just dont accept the D accept to reverse,even accept L gear 2 and 3… but when I put D if it dont fall down,and if I trie to run he will just lose power,like the car is being stucked by the brakes,and in the panel it says CHECK TRANSMISSION and ABS … I already put new transmission oil but nothing changed.
    so,as the other gears work well and with power,I hope that maybe I dont need to buy a new transmission..
    because when I turn on the car and I put D he can run 5 meters well till the painel lights turn on one saying CHECK TRANSMISSION and one saying ABS.. since it shows the lights the car start losing power..

    1. Yanud,

      Thanks for your question about your 1997 Isuzu Trooper. If your vehicle is displaying the “check transmission” code then there will be a fault code stored in your vehicle’s computer to help you determine what the problem is. You should be able to get the codes read by a local auto parts store or Isuzu dealership. That code will help you know what components to replace to get your transmission working properly again. Based on your description, and considering the transmission works manually in other gears our guess would be you have a bad speed sensor somewhere in your transmission that causes problems in “Drive”.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  8. I own an 87 chevy 20 van 2wd with a 700r4 transmission on a 350 motor. My problem is it wont shift out of first in drive, overdrive, or manually shifting from first to second. However it will shift into park, reverse, neutral and first without a problem. The fluid isnt low so im wondering what else could be causing this malfunction. Any information would be much appreciated!

    1. Phillip-

      The best place to start would be to change your transmission fluid and filter and then double check to make sure the fluid level is correct. Having dirty/old transmission fluid or the fluid level too high or too low can cause the transmission to act up and not work properly.

      If you are still experiencing the same shifting issues after changing the fluid and filter and topping it off to the proper level then you may want to have your vehicle looked at by a transmission specialist.

      Thank you!


  9. I have a 2004 chevrolet monte carlo….the problem is if i disconnect the battery and reconnect the car shifts into drive and then after about a 1minute of so it looses power and will not move it does that in reverse too. So I have to disconnect and reconnect for the car to move…or if the car has been sitting it will go into gear but after a minute the engine idles will not shift

    1. Gordon,

      Thanks for your question about your 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo. Since things work for a few seconds after you reconnect your battery, it seems likely that there is some fault code your transmission is throwing your computer causing things not to work. After you disconnect the battery, the computer resets and things work for a little while. Also, since you mentioned things work if they’ve been sitting it also seems likely that you’ve got some significant internal wear in your transmission so you may be in for a rebuild.

      A good next step would be to take your car to a transmission specialist or a Chevy dealership. They will be able to scan the transmission’s computer for codes and tell you if you’ve got a bad solenoid or something else that could be causing the problem you’re having besides wear. That code will help you know what to replace to see if you can get your transmission working again.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  10. I just replaced the engine in my truck and as far as I can tell everything is lined up but it won’t go into gear and it’s not circulating the fluid or even bogging down the engine please help I need the truck to move

    1. Thomas,

      Thanks for your question about your truck. It sounds like the problem is in your transmission rather than the new engine. The problem could be with the torque converter or even your shift linkage. Make sure your transmission fluid is clean and full and the shift linkage is properly adjusted to see if that can get things to go into gear. If everything is installed correctly from the outside, you may need to check your installation of the torque converter.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

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