Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Transmission Position Sensor (Switch)

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

transmission position sensor

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...


Related questions

Q: Code P0705 - 2008 Ford F-150

As with most diagnostic trouble codes, code P0705 does not necessarily identify failed parts. All you can assume with the code is that the PCM is not getting the signal it "expects" from the switch - no signal at all...

Q: Car shuts down when in reverse

It appears that you may be experiencing a few different issues with your Honda Accord. The stalling may be caused by such culprits as a dirty idle air control valve or perhaps it may be time to perform a valve...

Q: Key locked in ignition

Hi, over time the tumblers in the lock cylinder can wear out or get debris lodged preventing rotation. The notches on the key also wear out over time which doesn't fully unlock all of the tumblers preventing the key from...