How Long Does a Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) Last?

When you put your transmission in drive, your car is able to move forward. When you shift to reverse, you can back up. However, you need to know what gear you’re moving your car’s transmission into in order to drive safely. This is where the shift indicator (automatic transmission) comes into play.

When you move your transmission into gear, the selector should show which gear you’ve chosen. The shift indicator is a cable that attaches to the shifter. It works in tandem with the shift cable, but is a separate system. Over time, the indicator cable can stretch or even break.

You use the shift indicator every time you move from one gear to the next. That’s a lot of use when factored over the life of a vehicle. Of course, there’s no set lifespan for the shift indicator. It should last the life of the vehicle, but sometimes they do fail prematurely.

If the shift indicator fails, you can still drive your car without a problem. The issue is that you won’t have a visual identifier telling you which gear you’ve selected. This can lead to issues like dropping lower than drive, and trying to move the car in a lower gear, which can cause damage if you’re not careful. There’s also the possibility that rather than putting the car in park, you’ll accidentally put it in reverse, which can cause injuries to anyone (or anything) behind the car.

While there’s no predetermined lifespan for your shift indicator on an automatic transmission, there are a few signs that you can watch for that tell you the indicator is about to fail (or has already failed). These include the following:

  • Gear selection readout is slow to change

  • Gear selection readout does not change when you move from one gear to another

  • Gear selection readout is incorrect (shows you’re in neutral when you’ve selected drive, for instance)

Having an operational shift indicator isn’t a requirement for driving, but it definitely helps improve your safety and that of those around you. If you suspect there’s a problem with your shift indicator, YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office, inspect your car and repair or replace the shift indicator if necessary.


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Recent Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

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Michael

21 years of experience
244 reviews
Michael
21 years of experience
Ford Ranger V6-3.0L - Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) - Mira Loma, California
Excellent and Great Job Done

Kurt

38 years of experience
33 reviews
Kurt
38 years of experience
Hyundai Entourage V6-3.8L - Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) - Boynton Beach, Florida
Kurt was professional, diagnosing the problem and advising me what to do to get the car fixed. He set it up so that I was able to drive the car while awaiting thevordered part. He was on time and I appreciated the call upon his arrival.

Chris

20 years of experience
448 reviews
Chris
20 years of experience
Chrysler Pacifica V6-3.8L - Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) - West Linn, Oregon
Chris has worked on my car twice now. The first time he was right on time. I needed a part for my car that required being ordered and an estimate on parts and labor. My gear shift wasn't working, but he rigged the car so I was able to drive if needed. The second time, when he came to complete the service, he texted me to see if he could start earlier, I was delighted. Chris is very courteous, explained what he had done, and didn't leave a mess in my car. I'm delighted to have found My Mechanic and will definitely use them again!

Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Jeep Patriot L4-2.4L - Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission) - Union, New Jersey
Professional and efficient.

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