Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. 5 Signs Your Car Isn't Shifting Correctly

5 Signs Your Car Isn't Shifting Correctly

Shifting Top 5

If your car is not shifting properly, you could end up with very expensive transmission repairs. So, how do you know if your car isn’t shifting the way it should? Watch for these signs to avoid serious transmission trouble.

  1. Warning light comes on: A warning light alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a shifting problem, but if you notice it along with any of the symptoms that follow, you should get it checked out.

  2. Car is shifting hard: The car feels as if it’s reluctant to shift gears the way it usually does, or isn’t shifting smoothly. You might notice a clunking or thudding sound when the car shifts gears, or has difficulty reaching the proper speed.

  3. Gear changes for no reason: If you’re driving a manual transmission in a certain gear, and the car suddenly changes gear with no action on your part, or if it suddenly slides into neutral in an automatic, you have a shifting problem. You might notice a whining sound or a change in the usual sound from your engine when this happens.

  4. Fluid leak: If you’re having trouble shifting, it could be something as simple as a transmission fluid leak. Usually, transmission fluid shouldn’t leak, and if you see a puddle of fluid under your car, that can be a sign of a clogged filter or a loose plug. Transmission fluid is clear red, and has a slightly sweet smell.

  5. Delayed engagement: Your car waits for a bit before going into drive and moving forward. You’ve pushed the clutch pedal down, brought it up to the point where the gears should engage and move your car forward, but there’s a pause before the vehicle moves. Even if you rev the engine, there’s still a delay.

Any indication that your car is not shifting properly should be dealt with immediately. You might have a simple issue that can be repaired inexpensively, but if you wait too long you could end up with serious transmission trouble and have to pay to repair or even replace your transmission. Be sure to contact a mechanic to check your transmission fluid and other parts of the transmission system as soon as you experience any shifting problems.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: Transmission shifts only to first and second gear - 1994 Chevrolet C3500

It is possible you have a broken shift selector pin or shift fork (3rd/4thh gear). This needs a good look by a professional mechanic. A YourMechanic professional can help with this inability to shift issue.

Q: How Can I Tell If My Car Isn't Shifting Correctly?

The automatic transmission in most vehicles are designed to shift the gears for us rather than use a manual transmission and a clutch with a stick shift to change gears. If you have driven a manual transmission before then you...

Q: Put in gear but car won't move

Hi there. That's an interesting concern you've described. With no codes present, verify proper transmission fluid condition, level, and type. Once you have verified the fluid type, level, and condition inspect the shift cable connector; usually located toward the rear...