How Long Does a Shift Selector Cable Last?

When you put your gear selector in drive, you expect to be able to move forward. When you shift to reverse, you expect the car to back up. When everything’s working right, that’s what happens. However, if there is a problem with the shift selector cable, you might encounter some problems.

All transmissions have at least one shift selector cable (automatic transmissions usually have one, while manual transmission have two to account for both the X and Y axis on which you can move the shifter). In both types of transmissions, the cable does the same thing. It tells the transmission what you want to do. Based on that input, the transmission shifts into the specified gear.

Your shift selector cable is used every time you move the gear shift, whether you’re parking the car, or putting it into second gear to handle a steep incline. That means it gets a lot of wear and tear. The most common problem is for the shift selector cable to begin stretching (before it breaks). Eventually, the wear will become enough that the cable might snap.

Another issue is presented by the shift selector linkage (what the cable connects to). Many cars use plastic connectors and linkage components. These can become brittle over time, and break. When that happens, the symptoms are identical to a broken shift selector cable.

With that being said, your shift selector cable doesn’t have a specified lifespan. It lasts as long as it lasts. In most cases, you should get at least five to eight years out of it, but premature failure isn’t uncommon. Knowing the signs and symptoms to watch for can help make the situation easier to bear (and have corrected). These include:

  • Moving the gear shift doesn’t shift the transmission

  • Transmission is slow to shift gears in comparison to shifter movement

  • The gear shift indicator on the shifter is inaccurate (shows drive when you’re in park for instance)

  • There is no feeling of resistance when you move the gear shift

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, YourMechanic can help get you back on the road safely. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office, inspect the system, and replace the shift selector cable if that’s the problem.


Next Step

Schedule Shift Selector Cable Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Shift Selector Cable Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Shift Selector Cable Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(212)

Rating Summary
201
8
0
0
3
201
8
0
0
3

Gustavo

17 years of experience
400 reviews
Gustavo
17 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Shift Selector Cable - Schertz, Texas
Gustavo explains everything that you want to know - ask him and he provides details of what may have caused failure / or repair itself. I have used / and requested Gustavo as it brings continuity on my car up keep. I will continue to use Gustavo - simply the best.
Lincoln Mark LT - Shift Selector Cable - San Antonio, Texas
Gustavo is a great mechanic! Now I know why he has 185 5-star reviews. I hope my truck will not need service again anytime soon, but if it does, I know who I'll be calling on. He was on time, and completed repair in an hour. No more repair shop drop-offs! No more waiting days to get your ride back. No more dealership or boutique shop billing surprises!!

Mazyar

8 years of experience
464 reviews
Mazyar
8 years of experience
Toyota 4Runner V6-4.0L - Shift Selector Cable - Lilburn, Georgia
Mazyar was pleasant and did a great job fixing my vehicle! Great attitude and great service! Thanks Mazyar!!!
Dodge Avenger - Shift Selector Cable - Tucker, Georgia
Very good! Mark was very efficient, knowledgeable, professional and patient. Also, he has excellent customer service skills and is very sincere, especially when he says “no problem , I’ll take care of it for you”! I highly recommend him and will request him when I schedule my next service. Sincerely, Shirley Hood

Jesus

12 years of experience
10 reviews
Jesus
12 years of experience
Lincoln Mark LT V8-5.4L - Shift Selector Cable - Columbia, South Carolina
Great Mechanic. Positive attitude about the job and committed to doing the job right. Thanks for all your help.

Chris

11 years of experience
65 reviews
Chris
11 years of experience
Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT L6-4.2L - Shift Selector Cable - Fishers, Indiana
Chris was a real pro and exceeded my expectations. He was very knowledgeable about repairing my car and conducted himself in a professional manner. This is the first time for me using a mobile mechanic service but I will definitely be a returning customer. Great experience and the price was much less than a traditional repair shop.

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

Related articles

How to Know When Your Transmission Is Not Working
Most vehicles use some sort of transmission to transfer the power generated from the engine, into usable power that can turn the wheels....
How to Replace a Transmission Oil Pressure Switch
A transmission oil pressure switch relays measurements from the pump. If the filter is clogged, this switch puts the transmission into limp mode.
How to Replace a Transmission Position Sensor (Switch)
Transmission position sensors (TPS) switch ensures a car is in Neutral or Park when started and shuts the car down if it's not in the right gear.

Related questions

Manual transmission won't go into gear
If the transmission will not go into gear and the clutch pedal is loose, it generally means a failure in either the clutch master or slave cylinder. The clutch hydraulic system will need to be checked. For your clutch, you...
Car starts, but won't go forward
The fluid would not be an issue unless the fluid has leaked out. The transmission fluid shouldn't need to be changed or flushed out in this case. The transmission front pump may have failed due to leaking internal seals. The...
Loud grinding and thumping
Hello. It is possible that your axle (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/axle-cv-shaft-assembly-replacement) is worn out, but it is unusual for an axle to grind. What is more likely is that the right front caliper (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/brake-caliper-replacement) is locking up, or that a wheel bearing (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/wheel-bearings-replacement)...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com