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P0733 OBD-II Trouble Code: Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio

check engine light

P0733 Code Definition

Gear 3 incorrect ratio is the technical definition of the P0733 trouble code

What the P0733 code means

The P0733 code means that the powertrain control module (PCM) has detected something unusual with the ratio of the third gear in the vehicle’s transmission. This will usually have to happen multiple times before a trouble code will be stored.

The powertrain control module uses the information it receives from multiple sensors that gather and calculate data, such as vehicle speed, throttle position, engine RPM, and other measures to determine which ratio a particular gear should have. If there is a difference between the desired gear ratio and the actual gear ratio (multiple times) a Check Engine Light will be illuminated.

What are the causes of the P0733 code?

Some of the potential causes of the P0733 code may include:

  • A faulty shift solenoid
  • A faulty powertrain control module
  • A faulty transmission module (if applicable)
  • Low transmission fluid
  • Skipping over transmission fluid maintenance
  • Debris inside transmission causing a restriction in the flow of transmission fluid
  • Internal transmission damage

What are the symptoms of the P0733 code?

Just about all possible negative symptoms a transmission can have are possible with this trouble code. Some of these symptoms you may see include:

  • Transmission slippage
  • Hard shifts
  • Transmission overheating
  • Transmission may not shift in or out of a particular gear

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0733 code?

The first thing a mechanic is likely to do when diagnosing a P0733 code would be to check the level and condition of the transmission fluid. If the transmission fluid is low or dirty, this could be the first sign of the problem, and the fluid should be replaced or topped off as necessary.

If the fluid level and condition are acceptable, the next thing the mechanic may do is perform a test drive to confirm the customer’s symptoms. The diagnosis of this code is likely to involve the complete teardown of the transmission, or at least the removal of the transmission pan. Some of the parts of the transmission that may need to be inspected or tested are not accessible without transmission disassembly.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0733 code

A mistake that could easily be made when diagnosing a P0733 code would be to have the transmission replaced assuming that internal damage has occurred. It is important to be certain that the transmission is faulty before replacing it. For whichever route gets taken, the labor will be expensive, so it is best to make sure the transmission actually needs to be replaced before adding even more money to the bill.

How serious is the P0733 code?

The P0733 code is very serious. This code can cause a number of drivability issues and is very likely to leave the driver stranded on the side of the road somewhere. It is best to have this code diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the vehicle and to prevent being stranded anywhere.

What repairs can fix the P0733 code?

Repairs that can fix a P0733 code would include:

Additional comments regarding the P0733 code

Complete transmission replacement is worst case scenario for a P0733 code. Be sure to rule out all other less expensive possibilities before replacing the transmission. This could save dividends in the long run.

Need help with a P0733 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

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

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