Car Won’t Come Out Of Gear? 6 Reasons (Solved)

If your transmission no longer works well, it may get stuck in one gear. Or make it impossible for you to come out of gear.

Does your car have this problem?

Don’t fret. There are a few reasons your car won’t come out of gear. In this article, we explore some of them. 

Let’s dive in.

We’ve also looked at reasons a car can be stuck in Park.

1. A Stuck Solenoid

One of the potential reasons your car won’t come out of gear could be a stuck solenoid. If you don’t know what a solenoid is, here is a simple definition:

A solenoid is a coil of wire that cars use to power a starter, a switch, and more. So, your car’s computer uses a solenoid to determine which gear you should use as you drive.

Usually, the computer will send electrical signals to your solenoids. From there, transmission fluid will flow through solenoids.

Still, there are instances when your car’s solenoids will get stuck and affect your gears.

For instance, when you switch from the first gear to the second gear, your car won’t come out of that gear.


Several things may cause a stuck solenoid.

But the most common cause is old transmission fluid. This problem usually happens when you leave old transmission fluid for far too long. If you do, the fluid will eventually get residues that will affect your gears, too.

Before you know it, you’ll have a stuck solenoid.


In most cases, you solve this problem by replacing a transmission.

This way, you’ll free up a shift solenoid that has become stuck.

Besides, you’ll save from paying higher repair costs. Alternatively, you can also consider replacing the transmission torque converter. But it will depend on what exact parts are still in good condition.

2. Malfunctioning Shift Lock Release

A malfunctioning shift could be another reason your car won’t come out of gear.

Almost all modern cars with automatic shifters come with a Shift Lock or Shift Lock Release. You will find them located near the shifter.

Sometimes they will be under a small trim that you can only remove with a screwdriver.


To avoid this problem, most modern automatic cars will allow you to lock the shift knob in the park gear until your driver.

If the shift lock doesn’t work, try once again. But make sure your ignition is on.

Then firmly press down the brake and locking mechanism at the same time.

If that doesn’t allow you to move the shift lever, consider contacting your mechanic immediately. We recommend you stop using your car once you notice it has gear problems.

3. Failed Clutch Master Cylinder

This problem is common in stick-shift cars. When there is something wrong with the master cylinder, it will affect your clutch.

And if your clutch doesn’t work correctly, your gears won’t work properly. It is as easy as that

The master cylinder should send the motion to the clutch pedal to allow you to change gears. If it can’t, you’ll have problems reversing your car.

A bad clutch master cylinder causes gear shifting problemsThis is because the cylinder won’t be able to produce adequate pressure to move the gears.

This problem causes a slipping clutch, and your car is not coming out of gear.


When your transmission fluid is not clean, it causes a lack of hydraulic power.

So when your vehicle has no hydraulic power, the gears won’t come out. Or sometimes, they may even slip.

This is because dirty transmission fluid can’t get enough pressure to stay in gear.

Common signs of a failing clutch master cylinder:

  • You notice low clutch hydraulic fluid;
  • Your clutch pedal feels spongy when you apply your foot;
  • Your clutch fluid has dropped to an abnormal lower level;
  • Your clutch fluid is leaking;
  • You hear strange noises when you try to change gears;
  • You notice dirty clutch fluid;
  • Your clutch feels hard;
  • You have problems shifting gears;
  • Your clutch pedal is stuck to the floor.


The master cylinder can’t work without hydraulic fluid.

Over time, the hydraulic fluid may need to be replaced. By replacing the fluid you can solve the failed clutch problem instantly.

If that doesn’t work, consider checking your master cylinder if it is not leaking.

A leaking master cylinder will spring fluid, therefore, fail your clutch eventually.

4. Bad Automatic Transmission Fluid

Another possible reason your car won’t come out of gear is the wrong automatic transmission fluid. How do you know your transmission fluid is terrible?

Your automatic transmission fluid is not doing it’s job when it is too thin or dirty.

Your car works on the principle of fluid dynamics. If the fluid no longer lubricates your vehicle as it should, it will have problems shifting gears.

So if you spot a bad automatic transmission fluid, replace it with a good one.

Signs that your automatic transmission fluid is bad:

  • You notice that the transmission fluid is more dirty than usual.
  • You hear a transmission whining noise.
  • Your gears begin to slip.
  • You struggle to go into reverse gear.
  • You notice that your gears start to slip out.
  • Your engine is running hot.
  • You hear a grinding noise.


You can solve this problem by replacing your automatic transmission fluid. But make sure you replace the automatic transmission fluid according to your owner’s manual.

5. Your transmission has a severed linkage wire.

A severed linkage wire on your transmission is one potential reason your gear won’t come out.

A linkage wire connects the gearshift or gear selector to the transmission.

So your shift knob will have trouble communicating with the transmission, which is usually underneath your vehicle.


Several things can sever your linkage wires. For instance, rodents can gnaw at your wires and pinch them.

Or a sharp object can also damage the cables.

If your linkage wire is severed, your car won’t get into gear, regardless of what kind of transmission fluid you use.


Fixing this problem is tricky. So you need to contact a trained technician to come over to replace your linkage cable.

Technicians use advanced tools that help them diagnose the problem faster.

6. The bad torque converter in automatic transmission vehicle

When your automatic transmission has a bad Torque Converter, it is likely to cause gears to slip. At times, your gears won’t come out.

Your car has a torque converter problem if it does the following:

  • Your vehicle shudders when you drive on the smooth surface.
  • You notice an increase in stall speed.
  • You hear unusual sounds from your torque converter.


The bad torque converter in automatic transmission vehicles is caused by the following:

  • Low transmission fluid;
  • Dirty transmission fluid;
  • A weak or broken spring cushions your clutch;
  • Your fluid contains debris, grime, or a black sludge;
  • Your converter seals may be broken;
  • You may have a damaged torque converter clutch solenoid;
  • Your torque converter clutch has become too old;
  • Your car has faulty needle bearings.


If you suspect that your car has a torque converter problem, don’t try to solve this problem yourself. We suggest that you call a qualified mechanic to fix it.

A mechanic will check your car and tell you which parts you need to buy.

And if your vehicle has other transmission problems. The mechanic will also take care of them.

Final Thoughts

Like any other car owner, you want to keep your car in good condition. But there are times when your vehicle will disappoint. For instance, when your car won’t come out of gear. This problem is common in automatic and manual cars.

Driving a car with a malfunctioning transmission or gearbox can be painful. While a transmission is a crucial part of your car, that doesn’t mean it won’t break down.

When the transmission is not working correctly, this will somehow automatically affect your engine.

In turn, your engine will affect your wheel as your wheel won’t be getting adequate power to move.

To ensure that your transmission works appropriately, take your car to experts. They will look at your transmission, and if parts need to be replaced, they will replace them for you. It doesn’t matter if your car is a manual or an automatic.

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