Transmission Will Not Engage in Any Gear – Causes & How to Fix

In this post, we’ll be looking at the different reasons why your transmission will not engage in any gear.

1. Transmission Fluid

First, check the fluid level and look at the color of your transmission fluid. If the level is below the minimum, top off with a 50/50 mix of new oil and ATF (automatic transmission fluid). If your transmission fluid is dirty or low, it might be the reason why your transmission does not engage in any gear.

Next, check your automatic transmission fluid type to make sure it is appropriate for your vehicle. Some manufacturers recommend using synthetic or semi-synthetic fluids while others recommend conventional mineral oils. Your owner’s manual will tell you what type to use in order to protect your engine and maximize its lifespan.

Checking this information will help you determine whether or not you need more than just a simple bottle of fluid—you may also need a transmission flush kit for cleaning purposes before putting in new liquid.

2. Broken or Damaged Wiring

Check for broken or damaged wiring. Inspect the wiring harness and battery cables. Look for any damage to the wires, including chafed insulation or exposed metal. If you see any signs of damage, repair it before continuing with this test.

Check for loose or broken wires. Check that all battery cables are securely connected to their terminals and tighten the connections if needed.

Make sure that there is a clear connection between each terminal and its corresponding cable end by gently pulling on them; if they come apart easily, tighten them again until they do not budge when tugged on gently but firmly.

3. Bad Torque Converter Solenoid

The torque converter solenoid is responsible for controlling the fluid pressure in your transmission, and it can be damaged if you shift into gear too quickly or forcefully.

If it’s damaged, you may not be able to put the car into gear at all. It can also cause problems with shifting gears once you have shifted them; if this happens, you will probably notice that your car feels like it is slipping.

4. Internal Issues with The Transmission

If you don’t have any external transmission problems, it can be helpful to check for internal issues with your transmission. The fluid in your transmission is what lubricates and cools the gears inside of it. If that fluid gets contaminated by debris or moisture, then shifting may become difficult or even impossible.

5. Worn-out Clutch

If the clutch is worn out, you’ll have to replace it. The clutch disc and pressure plate are clutch component systems that can wear over time and require replacement.

If they wear out, this will cause the transmission to slip, lose power, and make it difficult to shift gears. Sometimes, a worn-out clutch could result in a situation where your car shakes in reverse.

We advise that you check your owner’s manual for recommended intervals at which to have your car serviced by a mechanic.

6. Shift Lock

Shift lock is a safety feature that prevents the transmission from moving into gear while the vehicle is in park mode. The shift lock can be disengaged by pressing the brake pedal, allowing you to move out of the park mode and engage drive or reverse. If your car’s transmission will not engage any gear and the shift lock is engaged, it may be due to one of two things:

Either the electric motor responsible for engaging/disengaging the shift lock has failed or something else that could prevent shifting into gear has been damaged.

7. Bad Transmission Control Unit

The Transmission Control Unit or TCM is the main computer that controls the transmission. If it has failed and needs to be replaced, your vehicle’s electronic control system may not work.

The TCM must be programmed to work with your vehicle and can be reprogrammed by a mechanic or you can do it yourself. These components are only found in automatic transmissions.

Read: Shifter Moves But Doesn’t Change Gears


There are only a few reasons why your car’s transmission is not engaging any gear; bad transmission control, worn-out clutch, unit, shift lock, internal issues with your transmission, bad torque converter solenoid, broken or damaged wiring, or transmission fluid.

If you have the proper tools and knowledge about your car, then you’ll be able to fix transmission-engaging problems with ease. The key is doing your research before starting any work on your vehicle.

If you do not know what each part does, then do some research first so that when it comes time for replacement or repair; everything goes smoothly.