Q: Car wont shift into 5th gear

asked by on

I bought my 03' Jetta 1.8T from a private seller when it had 83K miles. The car was very impressively well maintained. He did say he put some work into the transmission but couldn't get it to engage 5th gear. When I took it to a mechanic to get it looked at he said the transmission looked in very good condition with lots of new parts in it. He suggested to drive the car around more and in a lot of cases it l"fixes itself". I've driven 3000 miles with only gears 1-4. Luckily I don't do much highway driving. I'm a 17 year old who's school is only 4 miles away so I usually stay around 45-55 mph. When I do get up to 65 mph my car revs at 3700 which lets me know that 5th gear is not engaging. The "check engine" light is on and has been on ever since I bought the vehicle. The car has no other problems whatsoever.

My car has 86000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, 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.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Car wont shift into 5th gear

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: I have a 2017 Volkswagen Passat dome lights

There is usually a spring loaded switch in the door pillar. The switch contacts may be stuck closed even after you shut the door. If that is not the issue, and you were to request that a mechanic identify the...

Q: not shifting into 2nd gear

Since you said your Check Engine Light is on, the first thing I would recommend doing would be to have a qualified professional use an OBD2 scanner to pull the trouble code that is produced when your Check Engine Light...

Q: Does my 2009 volkswagen jetta Wolfsburg edition 2.0t have a digital speedometer ?

The best way to determine if your vehicle has a digital speedometer is to check in the owner's manual. The owner's manual will tell you how to operate all functions of the vehicle as long as they are equipped with...

Related articles

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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
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...