Updated at: 14-07-2022 - By: Lucas

Unfortunately, automatic-transmission vehicles are more prone to breakdowns than manual-transmission vehicles. In one of these instances, the car will not move, no matter what gear it is in at any given time.

A malfunctioning automatic transmission control unit, low transmission fluid level, bad torque converter, faulty clutches, difficulties with the valve body, and utilizing low quality transmission oil are all possible causes of an automatic transmission car not moving in any gear.

A scanner can be used to further check any issues you detect on your dashboard, which the transmission will often put into emergency mode. Repairing this problem is also difficult and would necessitate the services of a repair company with specific expertise, which will come at a cost.

Why does an automatic car won’t move in any gear?

Transmission Will Not Engage In Any Gear

1. Not enough transmission fluid

The most typical cause of a car that won’t move in any gear is this problem. To see if the problem is resolved, simply top off the reservoir with the appropriate transmission fluid.

2. A bad automatic transmission control unit

Another common reason why an automatic transmission vehicle won’t shift gears is because of this. Verify that this is true by running a diagnostic on the vehicle. It may not be necessary to dismantle the car’s transmission in some circumstances, as the transmission control unit can be easily accessed on some models.

The dashboard of your vehicle may display signs of a malfunctioning control unit. It will display the wrong gear based on the shifter’s position.

You should start by checking the battery voltage with a multimeter to make sure it isn’t below 12 volts, which could indicate a problem with the control unit. If the battery is functioning properly, you can continue with the repair.

Unless you have extensive experience working with automotive electronics and know exactly what you’re doing, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to repair the transmission control unit yourself. The cost of the labor is likewise high.

In addition, this repair does not guarantee that the transmission will function for a lengthy period of time. The issue can resurface at any time, even very early on.

In addition, a faulty transmission control unit might be blamed for:

3. Problems with the automatic transmission valve body

Transmission problems with the valve body may also be to blame for the car’s inability to shift into any gear. Contaminated transmission fluid, as well as normal wear and tear, can clog hydraulic channels.

A shaking car when shifting gears is another indicator of a defective valve body. Repairing the valve body necessitates removing the transmission from the vehicle due to the aforementioned reasons. This is the most difficult operation to fix.

4. A bad torque converter

A car that won’t drive forward in any of the automatic transmission ratios may have a faulty torque converter. Poor transmission maintenance is the primary cause of failure in this component.

The torque converter’s performance is adversely affected when the transmission fluid is of poor quality, is changed too late, has a dirty fluid filter, or is otherwise compromised in some other way.

Noises in the transmission as the car is starting are another bad torque converter indication. These noises will fade away over time.. The automobile will also stall when shifting from one gear to another.

In order to fix the torque converter, the transmission must be removed, which will increase the overall cost.

5. Worn clutches

Having faulty or worn out clutches can potentially cause an automatic car to fail to start.

The external pieces of the automatic transmission, which connect it to the engine, can fail as well. As soon as feasible, the clutch discs should be repaired because of the increased wear they cause on the rest of the clutch.

Other indications of damaged clutch discs include:

Even if only one of the clutches appears to be worn, you will need to remove the automatic transmission and replace the clutch discs with new ones to repair the problem.

How to avoid this car automatic transmission problem

Transmission Will Not Engage In Any Gear-2

Always warm up the automobile before starting it up in the cold. To avoid an increase in engine speed, drive in the first gear while the transmission is still cold.

All settings of the transmission shifter must be engaged for 5-10 seconds before the vehicle can be started. This will allow all of the hydraulic passages in the system to be filled with oil.

Take a look at the transmission oil level and quality. It is vital to add fluid if there is a deficiency. Because of the presence of metal shavings as deposits and wear products, you need to change your fluid.

Avoid towing other cars or trailers. A short-distance towing is permitted in the event of an emergency. Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, are designed to function with specific vehicle weights. As the mass of the unit rises, the structural elements will be put under more stress and eventually fail.

On slick or icy roads, especially in the winter, steer clear of drifting.

Ensure that the transmission fluid is changed on schedule. In the vehicle’s service manual, you’ll find the recommended oil change intervals. A car’s grease needs to be replaced every 60-100,000 kilometers (37,000 – 62,000 miles) if the manufacturer fills it in.


The car won’t shift into any gear for a variety of reasons. The first thing to check is the transmission fluid level, which may be fixed by raising it to the correct level. As a last resort, check to see if the battery in your car is working properly, as this could be a contributing factor to the transmission’s problematic behavior.

If the issue stems from either of those two simple reasons, you have a free pass. Repairing the more difficult and time-consuming problems, such as those I’ve outlined above, is prohibitively expensive.