Car not going into gear after starting

The car starts, but will not go into gear. I have to turn off the car and put it into first. When I start it this way, the car jumps.
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Is your car a manual transmission? From your description it sounds like part of the clutch system has failed in your vehicle. Your clutch itself may have failed or it may just be a problem with the hydraulic system that controls the clutch. If the hydraulic system fails you will not be able to disengage the clutch so when you start the car will try to move and it will not be possible to shift gears as well. I would have a professional mechanic come and diagnose why your clutch is not working.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The main reason the car won`t go into gear is that the level of transmission fluid in the vehicle is lower than required. If the level is low despite regular maintenance, there may be a leak. Transmission fluid, therefore, is important to ensure that the car`s moving parts are properly lubricated for functioning.
Your alternator is bad: If your car still won`t work, even after a jump, the alternator could be the culprit. The alternator is responsible for sending energy back to the battery, replacing what the battery loses from starting the car and performing other functions.
Gear Not Engaging

When the gear lever is not engaging any gear, it is a clear sign of a gearbox problem. The most common causes of this issue are a worn-out clutch or a damaged synchronised mesh. These problems can result in difficulty shifting gears or the gear lever popping out of gear unexpectedly.

A transmission may stay in first gear due to low transmission fluid, a faulty shift solenoid, a worn clutch (for manual transmissions), a malfunctioning transmission control module, or broken transmission bands. These issues can prevent proper gear shifting and result in the vehicle being stuck in first gear.
Bad Transmission Control Module Symptoms

Slow Acceleration: It takes longer than normal for your vehicle to pick up speed. Gear Slippage: Your transmission switches gears without warning or without you shifting. Inability to Shift: You can`t shift out of neutral.

If your car has sticky gears, it could be due to a clogged transmission filter. If you allow this to go on too long, then your pump could wear out. A clogged filter can also allow air to be incorporated into the fluid. This will cause problems with your hydraulic pressure in your system.
Now, just because your battery is dead doesn`t mean you can`t jump-start it back to life. What you need is another car with a fully functional battery and jumper cables. Here are the steps to follow to get your battery going again.
Turn off your vehicle`s ignition and wait patiently for 5 to 10 seconds. Start the engine and allow it to idle for several seconds. Switch off the ignition and wait patiently for another 30 to 40 seconds. Repeat these steps 2 to 3 times in order to reset your vehicle`s transmission control module.
But a blown fuse No. 38 becomes a likely candidate causing a loss of power to the transmission solenoids.
Worn Transmission Fluid (Automatic Transmission)

Over time, the transmission fluid gathers dirt and grime. This can cause the engine to run roughly, stall or fail to accelerate when you press down on the gas pedal. You may need to have a transmission fluid change before more damage is done.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it could mean that your clutch is going out: Squeaking or unusual grumbling noise when pressure is applied. Difficulty changing gears. The clutch pedal feels sticky, is vibrating or appearing to feel spongey or loose.
Popping out of gear is a common problem when it comes to manual transmissions. The most common reason a manual transmission would jump out of gear is due to low or contaminated fluid, worn synchronizers inside the transmission, or improperly adjusted shift linkage.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it could mean that your clutch is going out: Squeaking or unusual grumbling noise when pressure is applied. Difficulty changing gears. The clutch pedal feels sticky, is vibrating or appearing to feel spongey or loose.
If your car is not accelerating properly, check the air filter. The air filter traps dirt, debris and other impurities to keep them from entering the combustion chamber. A clogged air filter starves an engine of much-needed air, skewing the air/fuel mixture that affects acceleration.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

My manual car won’t go into gear, it turns on and the clutch goes down perfectly fine. It happened after my gears grinded, the car
ANSWER : If the clutch mechanism is releasing properly, and the shift linkage is not malfunctioning, your transmission will have to be removed from the vehicle and inspected. Once a transmission has been removed from a vehicle, if the problem is a broken or worn part or parts, and the transmission has 100,000 miles or more, the most cost effective approach is to just simply rebuild the whole transmission. There are transmission rebuild kits that are sold just for this purpose. Rebuilding a transmission is no big deal and is indeed easier in many respects than rebuilding an engine. You can rebuild your transmission right in your own garage. You can NOT rebuild an engine in your own garage due to the highly specialized, and extremely costly, machine shop equipment required. Occasionally, mobile mechanics will take on a transmission rebuild job especially as once the mechanic removes the transmission from the vehicle, it is just simply a modular unit that can be easily transported to a mechanic’s shop and rebuilt right there and then returned to your vehicle. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

My car will not start Intermittently. I purchased a new battery 2 weeks ago and yesterday the car wouldn’t start. Got a jump and
ANSWER : The issue you are having is probably due to an intermittent fault in the starter motor itself or a deficiency in the starter electrical circuit, for example a large voltage drop due to a poor ground or a high resistance connection. These issues can be readily diagnosed and resolved on a mobile basis if you request a hard starting diagnostic. If you request that diagnostic, the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you promptly. Based on Toyota’s Factory Service Manual, the battery should not be disconnected if the vehicle engine is running. The battery acts as a large resistive voltage sink and consequently taking the battery out of the circuit, while the alternator is still running, can create a voltage spike on the car’s electrical system which is not good for voltage sensitive components such as the engine computer. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Vehicle won’t go into gear when running, when turned off, vehicle will go into gear but won’t start. 1998 Ford Explorer
ANSWER : Hello – your clutch hydraulics are the problem here. Check the clutch hydraulics fluid level – and it may share the same reservoir as the brake master cylinder (both use brake fluid as the hydraulic medium). If fluid needs to be added, that means that probably the clutch slave cylinder is leaking – this might be visible as a clear, but bitter-smelling liquid on the ground under the engine. I recommend a clutch hydraulics inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

Map sensor car won’t start up good ?
ANSWER : Your MAP sensor is an important input for your computer. It helps determine the load on the engine to calculate the correct amount of fuel to inject. It sometimes takes a few seconds for the vehicle to realize that the sensor is not producing a good signal.

At that point, it will use other methods to determine the fuel rate, such as pre-programmed fuel maps, throttle position, etc. I would suggest replacing the MAP sensor and retesting. If you would like to have it checked first, a certified technician from YourMechanic will be able to scan your vehicle and test components to determine the root cause of your starting issue before making a repair.

When starting RPM of car starts going down and then engine stops.
ANSWER : It sounds like you may have a fuel supply problem in getting the proper amount of fuel to the fuel injectors which may be caused by a bad fuel pump or potentially faulty fuel injectors. This can happen when the pump itself is not working properly or when the fuel pressure regulator is not maintaining the proper fuel pressure in the fuel system causing the engine to starve for fuel. This can also happen when there is insufficient connectivity to the fuel injectors which can cause an intermittent fuel spray pattern into the intake system resulting in a lean fuel condition or the motor otherwise starving for fuel.

Car won’t move. I can start the car but when I put the shifter in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ect. The car will not move.
ANSWER : The transaxle is not engaging internally to the axle shafts inside the transaxle or you have one or both axle shafts disengaged from the transaxle. The fact that the speedometer moves when gear is engaged and clutch is released shows the speed sensor in the transaxle is getting turned.

You will need to have the vehicle raised and the axles inspected for broke or stripped shafts. If the axles do not have anything visually wrong with them then hold one wheel and try to turn the other wheel while transaxle is in gear, with engine off, to see if the wheels are locked together. When you spin one wheel the other wheel should turn in the opposite direction. If it does not then the problem is in the transaxle differential gears and the transaxle would need to be removed and disassembled to find the broken internal components.

If you need some assistance with this, consider YourMechanic, as one of our mobile technicians can come to your home or office to diagnose your acceleration issue and help make the necessary repairs to get you going again.

Suddenly cannot shift car into gear.
ANSWER : Hi there:

There could be multiple problems on your Saturn that are causing this problem you’re experiencing. If your clutch is worn it won’t allow you to put your car in gear. When you step on the clutch, the transmission disengages from the engine. This slows the insides of the transmission just enough to allow you to shift gears. When the clutch is worn, the slave cylinder doesn’t have enough travel to disengage the clutch from the engine, so it wont allow you to put it in gear. It’s also possible that you have broken a shift fork in the transmission. The shift forks are what actually move the slides inside the gear box to engage the gears when you move the shifter. The best way to determine exactly why you’re car won’t shift into gear is have a professional mobile mechanic complete a car is hard to shift inspection.

Battery and oil light come on when trying to start car, take keys out try again car starts no problem and lights go away
ANSWER : Of course, don’t switch gears without being fully stopped, unless your Owner’s Manual or the manufacturer has alternative advice. However, the gear shift issue has no relation to the no-start problem you are describing. Inasmuch as you only have 6,000 miles on the car, the "constant on and off" that you believe has occurred is meaningless in comparison to the expected total vehicle service life. That is, assume what you perceive as "constant on and off", during merely 6,000 miles, might be equivalent to using the car "normally" for three years. A new car should be trouble free for at least 5 years, unless there is a defect, so your "constant on and off" is not a causal factor for any fault on the vehicle. What you might have is a defect in the ignition switch, or perhaps the immobilizer system, but if the problem is not in the switch itself, clearly there is an electrical problem.

If your vehicle is under warranty, by law the dealer MUST repair the issue you are describing within a prescribed time frame and number of "attempts", otherwise the dealer will run afoul of Federal and state Lemon Laws that give you very specific rights, and recourse (contact an Attorney; we are Mechanics, NOT attorneys). Consequently, if the vehicle is still under warranty, to save yourself money do be sure to seek a resolution from the dealer. If the vehicle is not under warranty, obviously a certified Mechanic from YourMechanic could identify the electrical fault and resolve this for you. If you want to go that route, please simply request a no start diagnostic -electrical system and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.