Q: Transmission slow to engage into 1st from stop

asked by on November 01, 2016

My car hesitates to engage into first gear from a complete stop. This usually occurs when I am at a stop for an extended time. If im just stopping and going it will not happen. The previous owner had not serviced the fluid. I ran a drain and fill twice. Could the tranny be bad? What electrical components can I diagnose? TPS? PNP?

Thank you, Frank R.

My car has 124000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. This may be a sign of a faulty transmission control solenoid. Modern automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car’s computer activates a transmission solenoid, which directs transmission fluid into the valve body to engage the correct gear.

When this is faulty or not working properly, this can cause a delay in gear shifting or in some cases cause the car to not shift at all. This may also be related to a faulty transmission control module. The transmission control module (TCM) helps regulate fuel efficiency and power while storing information about the transmission system in its memory.

A faulty transmission control module may cause a delay in acceleration or erratic shifting of gears. The transmission control module has various sensors such as vehicle speed sensors, wheel speed sensors, throttle position sensors, turbine speed sensor, and transmission fluid temperature sensors that all direct information to it in order for it to perform it’s function. If you would like to have this scoped out by a professional, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the shifting problem.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

What others are asking

After shifting into 3rd gear, truck won't accelerate

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2006 GMC Sierra 1500HD. It sounds like the transmission is slipping. Replacing or rebuilding the transmission is likely the cure. To be certain, I suggest having a professional inspect your vehicle firsthand....

How can I tell what amp my alternator is?

Hey there. You should have a stamp on the alternator with a part number and amperage. The part number that starts with F3UZ is the 130 amp, and the F1TZ is the 95 amp. You can use either one. If...

Car will not shift, speedomete is erratic..

Hey there: It's possible that the speedometer sensor is the source of your shifting and speedometer issues. The speedometer sensor is designed to register the driveshaft’s rotational speed and relay this information through the speedometer cable and to the vehicle’s...

Car idling slowly and losing power

Hello. From what you describe it would appear that your vehicle may be experiencing some sort of serious transmission or engine performance issue. If the transmission fluid hasn't been changed in a long time it may be possible that the...

Car not moving in any gear

Hello, and thank you for writing in. Unfortunately this is a classic sign that the transmission has failed. They fail for various reasons including mechanical failures, pressure issues, or leaks. The transmission oil needs to be drained, and meanwhile you...

Stalling and overheating - 1995 Honda Accord

When you say you had to keep giving it gas to keep from stalling, I'm thinking the idle air control valve there. You can clean the throttle body, the valve, and adjust the linkage, but the idle air control valve...

No reverse and will not down shift.

This may be a sign of low transmission fluid or a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car's computer activates a transmission...

Knocking sound coming from front of car.

Knocking in the front end of your vehicle could be coming from a faulty suspension component. There are many moving parts that can wear over time. It would be best to enlist the help of a trusted mechanic to check...

Car struggles to go into the reverse gear and makes a clunking noise

Other consumers report the type of issue you have with various years and models of BMW but the reports are model specific. If you do a Google search ("difficulty getting reverse BMW "model, year") for your car, you can try...

Related articles

What Is Direct Drive Gear?
Direct Direct drive is a type of transmission that allows for better gear shifting within a motor vehicle. Because fewer gears are connecting, the vehicle cruises better at a higher gear. That’s a fairly simple explanation, so let’s talk a...
How Long Does a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Solenoid Last?
One One of the biggest concerns that most people have about their car is how it runs and idles. Most car owners fail to realize just how many different components have to work together in order for this type of...
How an Automatic Transmission Works
An An automatic transmission allows a vehicle engine to operate within a narrow speed range, just like a manual transmission does. As the engine achieves higher degrees of torque (torque is the rotational power of the engine), the gears in...