Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Shift Selector Cable Last?

shift selector cable

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.

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

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: Advice on fixing transmission on a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo

Yes it is. But, you'd want to make sure you are using somebody who knows what they are actually doing. So many people promise the Moon, and when you get it back and it doesn't shift right they say, "drive...

Q: Gear shift stuck in park

Typically when I have come across vehicles with problems similar to those of your Mercedes, it is usually due to a faulty brake switch. However, by adding water to the equation, this makes it a more serious concern. It is...

Q: Car starts shaky or won't turn over

Hello. If your vehicle's engine is behaving erratically, and making noise this could be a sign of many things, but notably, it could be a sign of serious engine damage. I would recommend you stop driving the vehicle, and have...