[Fixed] Car Won’t Move in Drive

[Fixed] Car Won’t Move in Drive
Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

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Your car’s transmission system is one of the most crucial parts of your vehicle. It’s responsible for transferring your engine’s power to the driving wheels, thereby allowing you to drive your car at the desired speed. If you’re familiar with car transmissions, you may already know it’s available in two types – automatic and manual.

That being said, if your car isn’t moving in drive, there’s certainly something wrong with its transmission system – manual or automatic. Moreover, while such an issue can occur for several reasons, the most common causes are a lack of transmission fluid or a failing speed sensor. Here’s what you can do if your car won’t move in drive no matter what:


Why Your Car Won’t Move in Drive?

As stated above, there can be several reasons why your car isn’t moving when you put it in the drive. Since the issue can occur with both automatic and manual transmissions, we’ll look at the possible reasons for both respectively:

For Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmissions generally use hydraulic fluid to facilitate gear change. Whenever a gear change occurs, a transmission solenoid is activated, which transfers the transmission fluid to the valve body and engages the gear.

Therefore, if your car is low on transmission fluid or the transmission control solenoid is faulty, the hydraulic pressure drops and prevents the car from shifting. You can verify the issue by adding more fluid and seeing if your car moves.

Another reason that prevents the transmission from shifting is a failing speed sensor. A speed sensor is a magnetic component that transfers speed-related information from the input and output shafts to the system, thereby ensuring a smooth transition.

It identifies the number of revolutions in the transmission, then transmits it to the transmission control unit (TCU), which further determines the rotational speed. When this rotational speed increases, the TCU directs the gears to change.

For Manual Transmission

In the case of a manual transmission, the “won’t move” issue can originate from the clutch system, synchronizer ring, or even bad gears. Sometimes, weather conditions like rain or freeze can also likely cause this issue with your car.

A clutch system comprises six major components: the master cylinder, clutch disc, release cylinder, release fork, clutch cover, and release bearing. If you encounter any issues with either of these parts, your car won’t be able to move in drive.

Talking about the synchronizer ring, the component features minor teeth that allow the hub sleeve to engage the ring and move it into the gear. If this component gets damaged anyhow, your car will shift to drive but won’t move.

Lastly, bad gears may also prevent your car from moving in drive. In a manual transmission system, there’s a reverse gear, counter gear, and five (sometimes six) other gears, each featuring a big and small tooth.

The former engages the synchro ring and hub sleeve, which is why when these teeth are worn out, your car would be able to engage in drive but won’t move.


What Can You Do If Your Car Won’t Move in Drive

The first thing you should do if your car isn’t moving in drive is to seek a mechanic to help you identify the root cause of the problem and suggest a fix accordingly. Alternatively, you may also consider checking the transmission fluid yourself if you suspect the problem is due to transmission.

However, make sure that your car is parked on a flat surface and that the engine is idle before doing so. Moreover, ensure you don’t overfill while adding the transmission fluid and check for any potential signs of leakage.

The most prominent way to avoid transmission issues with your car is by checking the fluid regularly and changing it whenever required. You should also prevent riding your clutch and look for any strange sounds from your vehicle.


The Takeaway

There are several components that work in synergy and make your car operational. Your car may fail to move in drive if any of the components related to transmission, involving sensors, are malfunctioning. Regardless of the reason, it’s a safe bet to get your car diagnosed and fixed by a professional.


Read More

  1. What Does D3 Mean in a Honda Civic?
  2. What Are Gears 1 and 2 on an Automatic Transmission?
  3. [Solved] Manual Transmission Goes Into Gear but Won’t Move


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