Car Won’t Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission (Causes & Solutions)

Are you noticing that your car won’t move in any gear automatic transmission and want to find out why and how to fix it? Worry no more because we have the answers you need.

Car owners sometimes have issues that need to be solved when their cars refuse to move in automatic transmission gear.

There are many factors that ensure that a car runs normally without any issues. The automatic transmission system is one crucial part that conducts power to the wheels from the engine.

The focus of this article will be to address why your car Won’t Move in Any Gear if you have an automatic transmission and proffer solutions by providing simple steps to solve the issue and get the car moving.

Let’s get started!

This list of factors that cause the car not to move in any gear automatic transmission will now be explained in great detail:

1. Lack of Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is required for the gears to keep shifting and cause the vehicle to accelerate. Therefore, one of the main reasons the car is having transmission problems is that the level of transmission fluid in the vehicle is lower than required.

Another reason for this transmission problem could be that you have a transmission fluid leak when parked. Inspect the transmission fluid dipstick to determine the fluid level and bring it to the correct level if necessary.

In addition, to prevent permanent malfunctioning of the transmission, you should repair the leakage as soon as possible. One way or the other, this could be the cheapest and easiest means of solving issues with your car.

2. Clogged Transmission Filter

Car Won’t Move in Any Gear

The transmission filter is an essential component of the transmission that does an important job. It filters the transmission fluid, so the fluid flowing into the transmission system is free of dust and other hazardous contaminants.

There is, therefore, the need to change the filter while doing regular maintenance; if not, some of the debris can build up in the filter, making the transmission filter clogged.

When you hear some whining sounds, it is a sign the transmission filter is getting clogged; it may still be possible to drive the car while it is getting worse intermittently.

To change the filter, you should check the car’s manual to know the precise interval for the vehicle; generally, the standard waiting period is two years or 30000 miles, whichever happens first.

If you are facing transmission problems and have not changed the filter recently, try changing the filter. Also, the transmission fluid could be changed simultaneously; luckily, changing the fluids is relatively cheap. Doing this will help keep the transmission in an optimal condition.

3. Bad Shift Solenoid or Valve Body

Another reason your car won’t move is a defective transmission valve body. This valve body is a component made up of passageways that send transmission fluid as the shift solenoid is operating.

If the transmission fluid becomes dirty, the valve body passageway can be clogged, and the shift solenoid can worsen over time.

Once you detect vibrations when changing gears, you should know that the valve body has become faulty. The car will begin to stall, and once it gets worse, it will not accelerate.

Unfortunately, it is not very easy to replace the valve body or the shift solenoid as the transmission system’s pan needs to be dropped for the job to be successful. It would be best if you took enough time to prepare for this.

4. Failed Torque Converter

Poor maintenance of the transmission system is what often makes this torque converter to be faulty. The factors that can make you end up with a defective torque converter are using a low-quality transmission fluid, failure to do some changes, not removing the dirty filter, and neglecting the indications that it needs some attention.

Before the car finally stops driving, there are some signs one may notice when the converter starts to fail. One of the signs is that the vehicle may begin producing strange noises.

When the car is warm, this noise might stop. However, as the condition deteriorates, the vehicle will begin to stall.

The converter is an expensive component usually. Solving this problem might be another big task for a transmission system specialist, as it could take a long time to repair the torque converter as the transmission system needs to be removed.

5. Worn-Out Clutches

Just as with a manual transmission system, an automatic transmission system consists of clutches. The automated vehicle will stall when these clutches are worn-out.

The component in charge of linking the transmission system directly to the car’s engine is the clutch discs; therefore, many problems can occur if and when the components fail.

You may hear a grinding or blowing noise when shifting gears; these signs are noticeable before the car finally stops moving. Another sign is that the shifting of gears may get rougher.

When you want to change the worn-out clutch disc, the transmission system and other components must be removed just like it is done with many other automatic transmission system issues. It isn’t easy to fix this; hence it’s always advised to get help if you have no idea how to get the job done.

6. Bad Gear Position Sensor or Shifter

Problems could occur if the gear position sensor or switch transmits an incorrect signal to the transmission control unit. For example, your car will stall if the transmission gear is in the first gear or D, but the TCM thinks the gear stick is positioned in neutral.

However, to check if this is the case, one can view the car’s dashboard to know if the gear stick position correlates with the gearbox.

7. Defective Transmission Control Unit

Your car will not seem to switch gears if the transmission control unit is defective, even when the RPMs increase. It can also fail to make any move.

Sometimes, it is easy to identify a faulty transmission system’s control unit because it shows an incorrect gear position on the dashboard.

Apart from these, a weak battery may result in the system malfunctioning because of the lack of enough power.

The transmission system’s control unit may need to be replaced if you check the car’s battery and it is well charged. These components require professionals to fix and are hard to get.

You may need professional services if you have no idea how to get the job done. Ensure you have disengaged the parking brake; this could appear to be a stupid mistake but is very easy to commit.

Also Read: Electric Parking Brake Problem (Meaning, Causes & Solutions)

How To Fix Car Won’t Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission

How To Fix Car Wont Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission

After looking at the common reasons why your automatic transmission vehicle may not move in the ‘drive’ gear position, we will examine the solutions to these transmission system issues.

1. Transmission Fluid

Bad or low-quality transmission fluid may result in the tranny refusing to engage in any gear as it has lost its power of lubrication. In contrast, low-level transmission fluid will result in the tranny overheating and underperforming.

If this is the case, examining the fluid through the dipstick will decide the next step to check the transmission fluid level and top it up if need be, but if it appears dirty or burnt, it should be flushed out and refilled.

Also Read: Transmission Fluid Change Cost (Best Cost Estimate)

3. Fixing Worn Clutch Issues

The manual transmission system can be prevented from switching gears by a defective throwout bearing, pressure plate, or clutch disc. In addition, worn-out clutches mainly cause manual transmission system problems.

To solve this engagement problem, all that is needed is to replace the faulty component of the clutch.

4. Connecting or Replacing Broken or Dislodged Transmission Linkage

These transmission linkages, cables, or springs beneath the gear shifter console link the transmission unit with the gear lever. A mechanic could be called to diagnose and fix it if this seems to be the problem. To solve the issue and ensure the car is moving again, all that is required is to reconnect or replace the linkage.

5. Replacing Defective Torque Converter

This torque converter is responsible for causing the automatic transmission to engage and disengage; it is in the middle of the automated transmission system. Therefore, if it malfunctions, it will result in the car not moving in any gear.

The solution is to replace the defective torque converter, but this method is not a sure fix as it may fail.

6. Replacing Faulty TCM

The transmission system will malfunction if something is wrong beneath the car and the transmission system’s control module can’t compensate. Also, A bad TCM will spell trouble for your vehicle and your ability to drive it. A scanning tool would be required to diagnose the car if you suspect a problem lies with the transmission system’s control module.

How to Prevent Automatic Transmission Problems and Avoid Car Not Moving in Any Gear

It Could be a severe problem if the automatic transmission vehicle is not engaging in any gear position; this problem may cause the whole transmission system to be replaced. It’s better to prevent this by following some of these steps.

  1. It is recommended that you warm up the vehicle before taking off in winter. To warm up and perform at maximum capacity, it usually takes a while for the transmission system to get warm; hence, for the engine speed not to increase while waiting, it’s better to operate in the first gear.
  2. To allow oil to flow through all the hydraulic channels in the transmission system, you should switch the gear to all the modes and remain in each gear position for 5 to 10 seconds before moving the car.
  3. Regularly check the car’s quality and level of the transmission system’s fluid and act accordingly. You will need to top up the oil if it is low and replace the oil if you notice signs that the oil is degraded.
  4. Automatic transmission systems are manufactured to carry certain vehicle weights; hence towing other cars or trailers should be avoided except for a little distance in extreme cases.

An increase in the mass can occur when towing another large vehicle and result in the car not going into gear.

Check the car’s manual for the appropriate waiting period before an oil change and change the oil when due. However, in most cases, the transmission oil should be changed every 37,000 to 62,000 miles or 60 to 100 thousand kilometers.

How to Prevent Car Wont Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission

Frequently Asked Questions – Car Won’t Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission

What causes a transmission not to move in any gear?

A worn clutch disc can quickly result in an inability to change gears, especially with automatic transmission systems. In addition, enabling and disabling the power transmission in a car is done by the clutch disc; hence the power transmission will be affected when the clutch disc gets damaged due to wear and tear.

Why won’t my automatic car move when I put it in drive or reverse?

You should put the car in a lower gear if the transmission system refuses to engage in reverse or drive and the fluid level is at maximum. If the vehicle takes off low, this will signal that the transmission system has burned the clutches and requires overhauling.

What does it mean when your car is in ‘drive’ but won’t move?

It is known already that automatic transmission systems use hydraulic fluid to shift gears. So these most times indicate a damaged transmission control solenoid or low-level transmission oil.

What to do if the transmission will not engage in any gear?

Often, a worn-out clutch s a reason for manual transmission problems. A defective pressure plate, clutch disc, or throwout bearing can stop a car from shifting gears. The solution to this issue of changing gears is to replace the damaged part of the clutch coupling.

How do I know if my automatic transmission is going out?

The indications of mechanical transmission system issues are strange noises like humming, whining, or clunking. The car will make a machine-like sound that seems to pop out from nowhere if it is a manual transmission system. An indication of a transmission issue is a clunking sound when engaging gear.

Why is my car revving up but not moving?

The issue here will be that the clutches malfunction in the transmission system or the internal transmission system’s front pump is not pumping enough pressure. As a result, a total overhauling of the transmission may be required. Therefore, you are advised to seek a mechanic to check your car’s transmission system for pressure and solenoid issues; further repairs may be necessary.

When I press my gas pedal, it won’t accelerate?

The absence of airflow prevents the engine from speeding up as it should. Also, the engine may not be getting adequate fuel, which can lead to poor acceleration. A weak fuel pump is one common cause of these air and fuel delivery issues.

Conclusion – Car Won’t Move in Any Gear Automatic Transmission

Low or leaking transmission fluid is the most common reason your car won’t move in any gear with an automatic transmission system. Other factors that could cause this problem are a faulty valve body, clogged filter, defective shift solenoid, faulty transmission control unit, faulty clutches, or a damaged torque converter.

To solve the problem, inspect the transmission system’s fluid level and top it up if necessary.

If the two reasons explained are why the car won’t accelerate, it will be straightforward to solve the problem. However, the more complicated the causes are, the more it gets harder and more expensive to fix them.

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