Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Can only shift gears while car is off.

asked by on

I am unable to shift my car into gear while it is running. Only when I turn it off am I able to shift the gear. At first this only happened occasionally, but now this happens almost all of the time.

Being unable to shift your car while it is running can be a real problem if you need to get around! While there are several components involved with moving your shifter into gear, there is actually an easy and common way to diagnose your Acura yourself. Have a friend stand behind your vehicle with the key turned to the on position, you will then step on the brake. If you don’t see brake lights turn on, it is likely that the brake pedal switch on your RSX has failed on you. If the gear shifter is not being informed that your foot is on the brake, it will prevent you from shifting the vehicle. However if your brake lights do turn on, the problem may be coming from the gear shifter itself, or the PRNDL (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low) switch on the transmission. Now if you have a manual transmission, it is likely that you are experiencing a worn out clutch. As you can see, while there is one way to diagnose your vehicle with a test, there are still many other reasons why your shifter is not moving into gear. Be sure to enlist the help of a certified mechanic to inspect the cause of this shifting problem.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Can only shift gears while car is off.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Labor Only quote

Hi there. In order to provide you an accurate quote, we'll need to get more information from you. Please fill out this quote for spark plug wire replacement; and we'll be able to send you the quote for the labor....

Q: Engine cranks and dies out, has to be restarted to finally get running

Hello. If the engine is cranking slowly, then it is either a failing starter or there is an issue with the positive battery cable to the starter. The most common being the starter itself. I would start by doing a...

Q: Driving 10-20 mph, transmission fails

Hey there. The transmission is electronically controlled and this based on your description as an intermittent issue points more towards an electrical issue and not a mechanical one. Fault codes need to be read out of the transmission computer to...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...