shifter wont engage

I have an 96 olds cutlass ciera. I put into reverse and when I went to put into park the shifter was flopping around. I cant get out of reverse. I unplugged the battery so my back up lights wont drain the battery. help please.

pin was loose at base of shift lever. so I took out and put back in. no luck. same problem. cant seem to get shifter to engage and put back into park or drive or what have you.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
You may have to align the shift lever collar and lever correctly before you put the pin in. The shift color may have been broken. If you go under the dash by the brake pedal and look at the linkage to see if you can move it to park and then try putting lever back in. If you cannot fix it then have a mechanic come to inspect your shifting issue to see if the column is damaged or the shift lever can be reinstalled for you.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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

Just as you learned what happens with low transmission fluid, dirty fluid, or a clogged filter can cause similar transmission troubles and create a car that won`t back up in reverse. Improper lubrication from old fluid or debris in contaminated fluid will affect how the transmission shifts into reverse or other gear.
Transmission won`t engage or stay in gear

If when you put your vehicle into gear and it won`t move, this may be a problem with low transmission fluid due to a leak, the shifter, shifter cable, or it could even be a problem in the valve body of your automatic transmission.

Over time, dirt, debris and other tiny particles can accumulate in the transmission fluid, affecting its fluid properties. This can cause the vehicle to die when you shift into drive or reverse, allow a loss of power, transmission slip, rough shifts or even prevent the vehicle from shifting into gear at all.
It could be as simple as a shift cable adjustment, or it could be a problem with hard components inside the transmission that need to be replaced. There isn`t a single fix for reverse not working, unfortunately. It could be a small repair like topping up the transmission fluid, or you could need a complete rebuild.
But if the solenoid malfunctions mechanically, no reverse or delayed and slipping reverse may occur.
Press the Clutch Pedal Down More

If you have a manual transmission, try to press the clutch pedal all the way down to the floor before trying to change gears. As the friction disc down, you have to press the pedal further and further down to move it away from the flywheel.

The number one cause is the clutch components have worn out and no longer have enough friction material to overcome the weight of the vehicle. A second possibility is the transmission can be stuck in two gears at the same time and it won`t move. The shift mechanism can malfunction and keep you from selecting a gear.
Common signs include the indicator not matching the gear and the vehicle not turning off, starting in another gear, or not going into gear at all.
A failing transmission position sensor may no longer send the right signals to the Powertrain Control Module, or PCM. Without signals from the position sensor, the PCM will no longer know when to shift the transmission`s gears out of park into a moving gear. Transmission shifts into the wrong gear.
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.
Problems Reversing – One common problem that can happen with a clogged filter is difficulty moving in reverse. The lack of fluid flowing through the transmission can cause the reverse gear to lock. This may prevent the car from going in reverse altogether, or it may cause it to hesitate before launching into reverse.
However, a defective speed sensor is viable by an illuminated warning light on the dashboard, signalling that it`s time to repair or replace the speed sensor. These are the major causes that hamper the transmission system, due to which the car won`t go in reverse sometimes.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Car in park shifter will move through gears but wont shift through the gears its stuck in neutral have emergency brake on so it wont roll
ANSWER : From what you’ve described, it sounds like the shifter cable came off at the transmission or the shifter. I’d suggest checking the shift linkage on the transmission to see if the cable came off. This is due to the connector end bushing falling apart and not being able to hold the cable on any longer. Some cables have to be replaced as a whole and as with others the bushing can be replaced to fix the cable. I’d suggest contacting a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, who can come diagnose your shifting issue and make the necessary repairs to your vehicle. Good luck.

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Wheel locked, brake pedal wont go down, shift wont move and ignition wont turn?
ANSWER : Hello. You are likely experiencing an engine failure of some type. Do not let this scare you at first. All of these systems that are failing depend on the engine functioning correctly in order to do their job. Without vacuum you will have a hard brake pedal. Without pressure to the power steering system you will not have assisted steering and it may feel like the wheel is locked. The ignition will also depend on having an electrical connection for the sensors to work correctly. Did you notice this when you went to start the vehicle, or did this happen when you were driving? If you discovered this when you went to start the vehicle, check the battery and ground connection first. If this happened while driving then you will need to find the reason your vehicle stalled.

Read Full Q/A … : shifter wont engage

shifter wont engage
ANSWER : You may have to align the shift lever collar and lever correctly before you put the pin in. The shift color may have been broken. If you go under the dash by the brake pedal and look at the linkage to see if you can move it to park and then try putting lever back in. If you cannot fix it then have a mechanic come to inspect your shifting issue to see if the column is damaged or the shift lever can be reinstalled for you.

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07 charger v6 wont move, like its in limp mode, will shift solenoid fix this? wont move in reverse. thinking shift solenoid, help.
ANSWER : The check engine light could mean diagnostic codes related to the transmission failure are available. If you request a check engine light diagnostic a mechanic could see if relevant codes have set and narrow the diagnostic for you. Check to be sure that there is adequate fluid. Check to be sure that the manual lever (shift lever) on the transmission reaches the correct position when you select "D" or "R". If you can’t move in any gear, the problem is not likely to be the solenoids because failure of the solenoids will still allow operation in "some" gears, if the gear is manually selected. If the solenoids failed, such would also result in a code being output because the TCM performs continuous circuit integrity testing on the solenoids. You can test that part separately in any event. There is a 164 page repair manual, with all the diagnostics, that you can use to pinpoint and repair the issue. However, if you just want a diagnostic, you can request a transmission diagnostic – failure to shift and the responding certified mechanic will pinpoint the issue. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Need help finding the name of the plastic ring that holds the shifter in place
ANSWER : Hi there. The part that you are looking to replace is called a shifter seal and there is also a shifter spacer. The spacer is the plastic ring that hold the shifter in place. The metal shifter seal is the thin wavy seal that goes on the top of the shifter. If you need further assistance with your vehicle, then seek out a professional, such as one from YourMechanic, to help you with your shifter to have this addressed.

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Hello. I have a question about my 1999 Olds Bravada (AWD). I am having issues with my shifter. To start with, my shifter will n
ANSWER : This will have to be evaluated first hand by a trained professional especially as more than one issue could be occurring here. If you request a shift mechanism/manual lever/cable inspection, the responding certified mechanic will identify the underlying fault and let you know what has to be done to get this resolved once and for all. To address this briefly, though, if you are not able to start the car in park, that could be due to a faulty or poorly adjusted neutral start safety switch. If you can shift from park to any gear without putting your foot on the brake, then there is something wrong with the interlock mechanism. The failure in Park (vehicle moving) could be a problem with the manual lever (on transmission), the cable, or there could be a problem with the park rod mechanism within the transmission. The only way to get this resolved is to have it inspected and diagnosed by a professional and if you request the above inspection YourMechanic will get this fixed. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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transmission wont engage most of the time and when it does it wont shift past 2nd gear
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. Automatic transmissions can be very tricky and complex. A simple flush may not correct issues that have led to a leak. Being low on transmission fluid means there is a leak somewhere, and that would need to be addressed first. The lack of fluid is likely why you experienced issues in the first place, but other damage may have occurred after driving under those conditions. Other inspections and tests will need to be done in order to ensure the transmission is worth investing into at this point. They should include checking the fluid pan for metal shavings, and making sure the pump was not run dry. If there is no serious damage, locate and repair the leak. For more help with diagnostics and repairs, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

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I put new throttle position sensor on now the car wont start i connected everything back on correctly so why wont it crank now ?
ANSWER : Hey there. Replacement of the throttle position sensor on your vehicle is pretty straight forward. There is no adjustment to be made – just remove and replace the sensor and you should be done. If the vehicle isn’t starting, you left something disconnected or there is a separate issue all together. If all of the work has been double checked and you still can’t get to the bottom of it then it is likely another problem that is occurring that is causing it to fail. You’ll want to see if the computer is still indicating a bad sensor even with the new one on. There are other sensors that could be causing the car to go into limp mode, such as a problem with the fuel system or another sensor on the vehicle. I recommend having another expert diagnose the starting problem so that this can be addressed properly.

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