Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Transmission Position Sensor (Switch)

The transmission position sensor, also known as the transmission range sensor, is an electronic sensor that provides a position input to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) so that the transmission can be properly controlled by the PCM according to the position commanded by the sensor.

Over time, the transmission range sensor may begin to fail or wear out. If the transmission range sensor fails or suffers a malfunction, there are a number of symptoms that could appear.

1. Car does not start or cannot move

Without a proper Park/Neutral position input from the transmission range sensor, the PCM will not be able to crank the engine over for starting. This will leave your car in a situation where it cannot be started. In addition, if the transmission range sensor has completely failed, the PCM will not see any gear command input at all. This means that your vehicle will not be able to move at all.

2. Transmission goes into different gear than selected

There could potentially be a mismatch between the gear selector lever and the sensor input signal. This would cause the transmission to be in a different gear (controlled by the PCM) than the one selected by the driver using the shift lever. This could lead to unsafe operation of the vehicle and could likely become a traffic hazard.

3. Vehicle goes into limp mode

On some vehicles, if the transmission range sensor fails, the transmission can still be mechanically placed into gear, but the PCM will not know which gear that is. The transmission will be hydraulically and mechanically locked into one specific gear for safety, a situation known as limp mode. Depending on the manufacturer and the particular transmission, limp mode could be 3rd, 4th, or 5th gear, as well as Reverse.

Any of these symptoms necessitate a visit to the shop. However, instead of taking your vehicle to a mechanic, the technicians at YourMechanic come to you. They can diagnose whether your transmission range sensor is bad and replace it if necessary. If it turns out to be something else, they’ll let you know and diagnose the issue with your car so it can be repaired at your convenience.


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

(5)

Rating Summary
5
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
0

Augustine

12 years of experience
129 reviews
Augustine
12 years of experience
GMC Yukon V8-5.3L - Window Motor / Regulator Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Rear) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Augustine was first rate. He showed up on time. He knew what he was doing. He was pleasant and polite. He didn’t mind we watching. Thus was a first rate experience that was worth every penny.
Toyota 4Runner - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Belen, New Mexico
Augustine was able to diagnose the problem quickly and get it taken care of. Due to the age of the vehicle, there were some frozen bolts, but he was still able to fix the issue. Great communication and service overall. Would definitely use him again.

Kevin

6 years of experience
92 reviews
Kevin
6 years of experience
Subaru Forester H4-2.5L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Windermere, Florida
Quick and easy.

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!

Eliud

23 years of experience
200 reviews
Eliud
23 years of experience
Ram 1500 V6-3.6L - Vehicle Drivetrain - Snellville, Georgia
Eliud was punctual and knowledgeable about my vehicle. Solved the issue within the half hour

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

How Long Does a Fuel Pump Shut Off Switch Last?
Being Being involved in an accident can be quite scary and dangerous. There are a number of safety mechanisms that are built into a car that will help to reduce the danger that comes with being involved in an accident....
How to Know When Your Transmission Is Not Working
Most vehicles use some sort of transmission to transfer the power generated from the engine, into usable power that can turn the wheels....
How to Replace a Door Lock Switch
The door lock switch goes bad if pressing the button does not lock or unlock the door or the usual functionality fails to work.

Related questions

How Does the Hazard Switch Operate?
The hazard switch (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/4-essential-things-to-know-about-hazard-lights), (also known as the "emergency flashers",) is a vital part of your vehicle's safety system. The switch is typically located within easy access to the driver and has a red triangle located on the switch. The...
Car stuck in third gear
It does sound like a transmission problem. I would have to recommend taking your car to a European transmission specialist, such as one from YourMechanic. They may be able to clean out the valve body, replace the filter and fluid,...
The car does not move
This problem would need additional information to diagnose it for you. I would recommend getting the computer scanned for codes and then the codes pinpoint test done to see if it is a computer sensor failure or check fuel pressure...

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