Auto Loan Guide Vehicle Why Does My Car Go Into Gear but Not Move

Why Does My Car Go Into Gear but Not Move


Why Does My Car Go Into Gear but Not Move?

Having a car that goes into gear but refuses to move can be a frustrating experience. Whether it’s an automatic or manual transmission, this issue can leave you scratching your head as you try to figure out the cause. In this article, we will explore some common reasons why your car goes into gear but doesn’t move, and provide some insights on how to troubleshoot the problem.

Common Causes for a Car Going into Gear but Not Moving:

1. Clutch Issues: In manual transmission vehicles, a worn-out or faulty clutch can prevent the power from being transmitted to the wheels. If you notice that the engine revs up, but the car doesn’t move, it could indicate a slipping clutch. This could be due to a worn-out clutch plate, a damaged pressure plate, or a faulty release bearing. In such cases, a clutch replacement may be necessary.

2. Low Transmission Fluid: Automatic transmissions rely on hydraulic pressure to engage the gears and transfer power to the wheels. Insufficient transmission fluid can hinder this process, leading to a situation where your car goes into gear but doesn’t move. Check your transmission fluid level and top it up if necessary. However, keep in mind that low fluid levels may indicate a leak, which should be addressed promptly.

3. Transmission Failure: In some cases, the issue may stem from a more severe problem with the transmission itself. Issues like a broken gear, damaged synchronizers, or a faulty torque converter can all lead to a situation where your car doesn’t move despite being in gear. Diagnosing and repairing these problems typically requires the expertise of a professional technician.

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4. Axle or Driveshaft Damage: If your car has a broken axle or driveshaft, it won’t be able to transfer power to the wheels, resulting in the symptom of going into gear but not moving. This can happen due to accidents, excessive wear and tear, or even hitting a pothole or curb. A visual inspection of these components can help determine if any damage is present.

5. Differential Issues: The differential is responsible for distributing power between the wheels. If there is a problem with the differential, it can prevent the wheels from receiving power, even if the car is in gear. Issues like worn-out gears, bearings, or seals can cause this problem.


1. Can a faulty clutch cause a car to go into gear but not move?

Yes, a slipping or faulty clutch in a manual transmission vehicle can prevent power from being transmitted to the wheels, resulting in the car going into gear but not moving.

2. How can I check my transmission fluid level?

Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to locate the transmission fluid dipstick. With the engine warm and running, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it, and then pull it out again. Check the level indicated on the dipstick against the recommended level mentioned in the manual.

3. Should I attempt to fix the transmission issue myself?

While some minor issues like low transmission fluid can be addressed by the car owner, more complex problems should be left to professionals. Attempting to fix a transmission problem without adequate knowledge and experience can lead to further damage and expensive repairs.

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4. How much does it cost to repair a transmission?

Transmission repair costs can vary depending on the extent of the damage, the make and model of the vehicle, and the labor rates in your area. Minor repairs like replacing a solenoid or fixing a leak may cost a few hundred dollars, while a complete transmission replacement can range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more.

In conclusion, there are several potential reasons why your car goes into gear but doesn’t move. From clutch issues to transmission failures, axle damage, or differential problems, it’s important to diagnose the specific cause accurately. If you’re unsure or unable to troubleshoot the issue yourself, it’s best to consult with a qualified mechanic to ensure a proper and timely resolution.

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