If your car refuses to go into gear, Mr. Transmission has some tips to narrow down the cause of the problem and get your car running smoothly and back on the road.

The first automatic transmission vehicle used compressed air to change gears and was invented by a Canadian steam engineer, Alfred Horner Munro. General Motors developed a transmission that used hydraulic fluid, which took the new method for automatically shifting to the mainstream.

Data compiled by CarMax, a used car dealership, revealed that 97 percent of car buyers opt for a vehicle with an automatic transmission, while only 2.5 percent of shoppers choose a stick shift. Idaho, Oregon, and New Mexico have the highest number of drivers who choose a manual transmission ride, while drivers in Illinois, New Jersey, and Wisconsin all prefer to let their transmissions shift gears. Automatic transmission offers a comfortable ride, delivers good fuel economy and faster acceleration. Yet, many car aficionados prefer stick shifts because they are fun to drive, according to, an online resource for drivers.

While automatic transmissions streamlined the driving experience, they also need to be in tip-top shape to operate smoothly and efficiently. The transmission is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. Each time the car automatically shifts gears, several hydraulic and mechanical systems are required to work together for success. Mr. Transmission recommends getting your transmission inspected every 60,000 to 10,000 miles to keep it operating seamlessly. Staying on top of your maintenance visits will prevent future problems and help save you money in repairs.

If your car refuses to go into gear, here are a few things to try before heading to one of our local shops for repairs.

Check Your Automatic Transmission Fluid. Automatic transmission fluid helps lubricate the transmission and is necessary to allow your transmission to shift gears properly. Transmission fluid deteriorates over time and needs to be replaced regularly. Transmission flushes should be done every 50,000 miles to keep your car operating in top form. There is also a chance that your transmission is leaking fluid, which will need to be repaired. Leaks typically result from a crack in the pan gasket, a breached axle seal, or fluid seepage. Fixing the leak early will prevent further damage to your transmission.

Press the Shift Lock Release Button. Most new automatic transmission cars have a safety mechanism to prevent the car from shifting to Drive when the driver isn’t present. The Shift Lock or Shift Lock Release button may be stuck, or fail to release. Check your owner’s manual to find out the location of your button and stick your key in the lock to release it.

Failing Torque Converter. If your car shudders or rattles as it is shifting gears, or the car refuses to shift out of first gear, you may have a failing torque converter. The torque converter connects the transmission to the power source. Try moving the car’s gear from Park to Low several times to remove corrosion and offer a quick fix. A mechanic can quickly diagnose this problem and replace it.

Gears. If you hear a loud grinding noise when your car shifts gears, it’s time to visit a mechanic. Over time, gears can become worn and damaged. If your gears are misaligned, damaged, or stripped, your car will have difficulty shifting.

User Error. If you’ve ever struggled in the morning to get the coffee pot running, only to realize it wasn’t plugged in, or insisted your computer was irreparably damaged when it just needed to charge, you know what we’re talking about. Every once in a while, problems shifting gears may be due to the driver. If your car refuses to shift, make sure to check some obvious problems before bringing it in. Make sure your foot is on the brake when attempting to shift to Drive, double-check that the engine is running before taking the car out of Park, and make sure your car’s battery is charged. Cold temperatures can also put a damper on the efficiency of your vehicle and automatic transmission fluid may need to heat up before it runs properly. If temperatures outside are freezing, turn on your car and give it time to warm up before hitting the road.

If your car is having trouble shifting gears, take it in to your nearest Mr. Transmission location. Our experts will be able to fix your transmission problems and get your car running smoothly again.


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