Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Shift Selector Cable

The shift selector cable puts the transmission into the proper gear, which is indicated by the shift selector that it has been moved by the driver. Automatic transmission vehicles normally have one cable that runs from the transmission to the shifter assembly, while manual transmission vehicles have two. They both have the same signs when they start to go bad. If you suspect yours is failing, watch for the following symptoms.

1. Indicator doesn't match the gear

If the shift selector cable is going bad, the indicator light or cable will not match the gear you are in. For example, when you move from park to drive, it may say you are in park. This means the cable has stretched to where it doesn’t move to the correct spot and the incorrect gear noted. The cable can stretch over time, so it does need to be replaced over the lifespan of your vehicle. When this happens, contact a professional mechanic to have your shift selector cable replaced.

2. Vehicle will not turn off

As the shift selector cable stretches, you may not be able to remove the key from the ignition or turn the vehicle off. This is due to the key not being able to be turned unless the car is in park on some vehicles. When this occurs it can be dangerous as you may not know what gear you are in as you are trying to turn off the vehicle. This can make your car unpredictable and become hazardous to yourself and those around you and should resolved as soon as possible.

3. Vehicle starts in another gear

If your vehicle starts in any other gear besides park or neutral, there is a problem. It could be with the shift interlock solenoid or with the shift selector cable. A mechanic needs to diagnose this problem to differentiate between the two as they can have similar symptoms. In addition, there could be an issue with both parts, so they need to be replaced before your vehicle can properly function again.

4. Vehicle will not go into gear

After you start the vehicle and try to shift it into gear, if the gear selector will not move then there is a problem with your shift selector cable. The cable could be broken or has stretched beyond repair. This prevents the transmission from having the leverage needed to change gears. The car will not be able to be used until this problem is solved.

As soon as you notice the indicator doesn’t match the gear, the vehicle will not turn off, it starts in another gear, or it will not go into gear at all, call a mechanic to have the problem further inspection. YourMechanic’s qualified technicians are also available for any questions that may arise. They make replacing your shift selector cable simple because their mobile mechanics come to your home or office and fix your car.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. 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 Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(4)

Rating Summary
4
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0

Dan

39 years of experience
932 reviews
Dan
39 years of experience
Saturn Vue L4-2.2L - 50 Point Inspection - Cumming, Georgia
Would highly recommend Dan for any job. Was very professional, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. Great experience.
Ford Edge - Oil Change - Braselton, Georgia
Arrived on time. Pleasant to work with and did a great efficient job. Everything was clean and neat when he finished. Would book again.

Richard

35 years of experience
67 reviews
Richard
35 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz CLS550 V8-5.5L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - New Port Richey, Florida
Came out on time took 40 min test drive found problem and ran scan to show the problem and I would recommend him highly knows his job well ! Thanks you Richard !

Kevin

24 years of experience
480 reviews
Kevin
24 years of experience
Honda CR-V L4-2.4L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Lilburn, Georgia
I'm glad we got the 50 point inspection because the actual issue was different than what I thought.

Darnell

19 years of experience
21 reviews
Darnell
19 years of experience
Pontiac Fiero V6-2.8L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Inglewood, California
VERY PLEASANT AND INFORMATIVE!

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

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Shift Indicator (Automatic Transmission)
Common signs include the Check Engine Light coming on, the wrong gear reading, and the shift indicator not moving.
Understanding Main Gears Vs. Planetary Gears
Aspiring Aspiring mechanics spend hours learning about how main gears and planetary gears work in a car transmission, so a full dissertation simply isn’t possible within this relatively brief article. If you’re curious about how they work, though, this brief...
What Is Direct Drive Gear?
Direct Direct drive is a type of transmission that allows for better gear shifting within a motor vehicle. Because fewer gears are connecting, the vehicle cruises better at a higher gear. That’s a fairly simple explanation, so let’s talk a...

Related questions

Transmission fluid filter change - 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria

Based on your model year, this vehicle may have lots of miles on it. (I am going to assume they changed the transmission filter as they should have. Call to verify.) Changing transmission fluid can often have a negative effect,...

Won't start turns over

Hello. For this issue with your 1997 Saab 900, I suggest checking the operation of the crank position sensor. If the current position sensor goes bad, it won't send the parameters to the engine for it to calculate how much...

Won't shift out of second gear - 2000 GMC Sierra 2500

Hello. This definitely sounds like an electronic transmission control issue. It could be something as simple as a transmission range selection switch or something as serious as a transmission valve body. You may want to consult with a transmission shop...

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