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P0801 is a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) for "Reverse Inhibit Control Circuit Malfunction". This can happen for multiple reasons and a mechanic needs to diagnose the specific cause for this code to be triggered in your situation. Our certified mobile mechanics can come to your home or office to perform the Check Engine Light diagnostic. Once we are able to diagnose the problem, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. All our repairs are backed by our 12-month / 12,000-mile warranty.
A P0801 trouble code is related to the safety system for manual transmission equipped vehicles to ensure the gear selector is not put into reverse when driving forward. This consists of wiring and a switch located on the shifter mechanism usually where the shifter meshes with the transmission. When turned on, the switch will extend and get in the way of the shifter moving into reverse gear.
P0801 is an OBD-II generic code for a voltage problem with the reverse inhibitor switch. If the switch is functioning correctly, it will send a voltage reading to the powertrain control module (PCM) that is within the manufacturer’s parameters. If not, a Check Engine Light will be illuminated.
Likely causes include:
With a P0801, drivers will either be unable to place their vehicles in reverse, or capable of doing so while driving forward. One driver of a SRT10 Viper discovered his super car required more effort to select reverse, but otherwise operated normally.
The reverse inhibitor switch is a basic on/off type switch, meaning most mechanics will first test to ensure it is not working. Either a professional OBD-II scanner or a power cable can apply voltage to the switch to test it. If it’s not working, your mechanic will replace the switch. If it is working, then faulty wiring will probably be to blame. Your mechanic will inspect all the wiring associated with the reverse inhibitor and repair as necessary.
While a bad switch is the most likely cause of a P0801, a damaged shifter can be a culprit as well. Replacing a switch on a damaged shifter is only asking for the problem to constantly return.
While you never want to shift into reverse while moving forward, a P0801 still won’t make it easy to do. What is more serious is if the code won’t allow the transmission to be shifted into reverse no matter what.
The most common repairs for a P0801 are as follows:
A P0801 is a fairly rare trouble code but if you do encounter one, you shouldn’t worry. You can continue to drive with the code, just be mindful of how you shift.
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