Q: Car only drives in first and reverse

asked by on May 05, 2017

Hello My automatic transmission in my 2004 Ford Taurus will only drive in first gear and reverse. (D) Drive, or second gear does not work initially. Reverse works fine but (1) First barely engages where I have to CRAWL (slippage?) up to speed, about 20 mph until (2) Second gear will engage manually... Still no (D) Drive. Once I get the car a little faster up to speed, (D) Drive will engage manually and the car drives fine with automatic downshifts/upshifts until the trans reaches first gear again. Then the same issues occur from a slow speed or stopped. No slippage in higher gears while at varying cruising speeds. Please help

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What you are describing may be a result of a faulty speed sensor, potentially low transmission fluid or a even a faulty transmission control solenoid. As your vehicle travels down the road, the computer analyzes data being sent by vehicle speed sensors and engine speed sensors. Based on this information, the Engine Control Unit (ECU), or the Transmission Control Unit (TCM), executes the appropriate upshifts and downshifts by sending a signal to one of several shift solenoids. These transmission solenoids have spring-loaded plungers inside them, which are wrapped with wire. When this coil of wire receives an electrical charge from the TCM / ECU, it causes these plungers to open, allowing transmission fluid to flow into the valve body and pressurize the desired clutches and bands. When this happens, the transmission changes gears and you continue down the road. The computer controls the transmission solenoid in several ways. If the vehicle is equipped with a dedicated Transmission Control Unit, it can open or close the hydraulic circuit using a direct 12v signal. In some cases, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) can control the solenoid’s plunger by turning the ground circuit on and off. When this is not working properly, this can cause a jerking reaction, a delay in shifting or in some cases may cause the transmission to hesitate in shifting gears. I would recommend having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your transmission.

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