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.


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Recent Shift Selector Cable Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(189)

Rating Summary
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Mazyar

8 years of experience
336 reviews
Mazyar
8 years of experience
Toyota 4Runner - 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

David

10 years of experience
193 reviews
David
10 years of experience
GMC Envoy - Shift Selector Cable - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I need a new break linkage cable, David and I had to reschedule because or rain. He took care of the rescheduling, came the next day not just on time but early. He was very professional and worked very fast. I would recommend him to anyone.
Saturn Vue - Shift Selector Cable - Darby, Pennsylvania
Great mechanic! Came and did the job as scheduled and even was done early. Knowledgeable of parts and issues with my car so i would be looking to book him again in future.

Larry

8 years of experience
37 reviews
Larry
8 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Shift Selector Cable - San Antonio, Texas
He arrived early and he was done within less than an hour. He was fast. My car works perfectly fine now. He is a very experienced mechanic and I highly recommend him.
Buick Rainier - Shift Selector Cable - Cibolo, Texas
Larry was fast and was able to fix my car. He replaced the transmission selector cable. I am glad my car is working and I didn't have to tow it to a shop and wait for days to get it back.

Shawn

12 years of experience
152 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Classic - Shift Selector Cable - Orefield, Pennsylvania
Shawn has proven his experience and handled the complexity of the job since it required a bit of fabrication and concentration.

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