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Q: Gears won't engage and car has had five battery replacements

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First, when I put my car into Reverse the lights on the gear shift come on and the Reverse gear will not engage. Then I put my car into Park and then go back to Reverse. A second incident: the engine would not start even when it was in Park. Thinking it was probably the battery, a neighbor helped me to jump-start it. Because of a short in the doors and the power lock relays, I have already gone through “five” new batteries!

Finally when I put the car into Neutral, it started. When it goes through this long process, then I am able to drive it. To explain a third incident: I had parked the car and while my child was getting out, the car started rolling forward. My child could have been hurt! I’m so thankful there were no injuries! After that happened, I headed to my mechanic’s shop and they reported to me that the cause was the cable. I started researching online and found that there were thousands that were recalled due to the cable defect, but GM said that my make/model was not within that recall. They told me to have a GM dealer diagnosis it to see if they would take care of the fee. Before I do that, could you please give me your professional advice on what is causing this?

A: Hi there, this sounds like a frustrating pr...

Hi there, this sounds like a frustrating problem. The linkage between the shifter handle and transmission assembly is a likely cause and is actually a very common problem on these Astras. The plastic bushing wears badly and can even break disconnecting the link. You may want to raise this issue higher with the manufacturer to see if this will get them to take action. Alternatively, if you would like to have this looked at by an independent source, a certified professional from YourMechanic can inspect the the shifting issue and battery problems in order to have this correctly diagnosed. From there, they can recommend and perform the right repairs to have this fixed.

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