Why doesn’t my transmission shift into second gear?

When i set out earlier my truck only picked up to 20 mph and the rpm reved all the way up 4000 and it wouldnt shift into second like it only ran on first i dropped my shifter to low it still didnt do anything so i put on 2 and it still do anything i put back on drive and it just stayed at 20 mph no gear shifting and the rpm reving up to 4000 rpm

My car has 189000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. A car that will not shift from low to a higher gear is caused either by a damaged shift solenoid, low transmission fluid or internal damage inside the transmission. It would be best to have a professional mechanic come to your location and complete a not able to change gears inspection to correctly diagnose this problem and recommend the right repairs.

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This issue may be caused by a couple of different things. A gasket near the transmission filter where it mounts to the valve body could be leaking causing the hydraulics within the transmission not to engage second gear properly. On the other hand, a shift solenoid may also be at fault.
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.

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.
The most common cause of a stuck solenoid is the failure to replace your transmission fluid when you should. Over time, small bits of metal and other debris will get into the fluid (if you`ve ever seen black transmission fluid, this is what causes it). And this is what leads a solenoid to become blocked.
If your car has an automatic transmission, the shift solenoid will shift the gears for you. The transmission control unit will take the information from the engine and speed sensors along with other parts of your vehicle to then decide when to shift gears for power and fuel efficiency.
If your vehicle will not shift out of first gear, the problem is not the fuses. The problem could be a shift solenoid, but more than likely, you have an internal transmission issue that will require rebuilding or replacing the unit. The 1-2 shift valve may be the problem.
That could be a slipping clutch. If the engine just will not rev in 2nd gear, it could be many things, including bearings, vacuum advance issues, electrical / spark issues. The list goes on. Get the vehicle to a qualified mechanic and have the source of your problem identified.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Automatic transmission issues, high RPM at low speeds
ANSWER : Hello, thanks for writing in about your 2000 Chrysler Cirrus. The transmission control module would need to be scanned to see if the codes stored may indicate the shifting problem you are having. You may have an internal shift solenoid problem causing the shift problem. A speed sensor for the transmission may also cause the transmission not to go past second gear. I recommend having a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect your shifting issue and high RPM problem in person in order to have the correct repairs made.

The car doesn’t shift into first gear while it works fine in reverse
ANSWER : The problem could be that the internal transmission pump is weak, or the transmission clutch seals are leaking. It sounds like the transmission will need an overhaul.

I recommend having a transmission mechanic test the pressures and diagnose the problems to verify whether you need an overhaul with a new torque convertor.

My gear shift doesn’t shift to any other gear its stuck on neutral. I open the gear assembly and I can pull a lever which allows me to move it.
ANSWER : Hi there. The shifter interlock solenoid is not working and needs replaced. The shifter interlock solenoid makes the shifter lock in place so it does not move if you accidentally move it into another gear. If you need further assistance with your shifter not working, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

Especially when cold, I notice shifts in low gears on my transmission
ANSWER : Hello. If servicing the fluid and filter did not help, then it may be possible that the transmission is worn. If any of the clutch packs that the transmission uses to shift wear out, they may slip and cause harsher shifting than normal. If the problem only occurs when the transmission is cold, then it may be possible that the clutch discs are worn, but can properly grip when the transmission and fluid reach operating temperature. I would recommend double checking the fluid for any signs of damage or wear, any unusual smells or color. If the fluid checks out. If you need help having this looked at, I would then move on to having the shifting issue diagnosed to see if the transmission may be faulty.

Transmission intermittently won’t shift to next gear
ANSWER : It is very possible that the transmission may require a full rebuild or a replacement in order for it to perform properly. Although you are able to shift into other gears, if certain gears are not working correctly, transmission damage may be the cause.

If the transmission has already been diagnosed by the dealer that it needs replacement and the transmission is still not shifting properly, it is unlikely that the transmission will get any better without replacement.

It does not hurt to attempt any reset procedure that may be available, but it is also unlikely that a reset of any kind will resolve transmission issues. Small things to check before replacing the transmission if possible would be the fluid level and any trouble codes that may have been stored due to the issue your transmission is causing.

If any codes exist, this may lead you to other possible parts inside the transmission that may be able to be replaced and have your transmission working again as it should. You can get a second opinion from an local expert, such as one from YourMechanic, in order to diagnose your shifting problem and advise you on the next steps.

I got sound when I shift to 3rd gear and it’s get hard to put shift to second gear when car is in 3rd gear.
ANSWER : Hello. It sounds as though the synchronizers in the transmission, which are used to adjust transmission internal gear speed when upshifting or downshifting are possibly worn out or you are shifting a bit too fast. It is also possible that the clutch is not releasing fully when you press the clutch pedal. In some conditions, utilizing synthetic gear oil in the transmission can help the quality of gear shifting. If the clutch is not fully releasing an inspection of the clutch hydraulics is a good idea. I would recommend having an inspection of the hard shift completed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost for repairs.

Second gear misshifts when I drive, all other gears are fine.
ANSWER : Hello.

A transmission coming out of gear is most often caused by worn transmission components. It may be possible that the synchronizer rings, which are meant to smoothly mesh the gears inside of the transmission, have worn out and are no longer able to stay in gear.

It may also be possible that the gears themselves have worn out, and can no longer hold the torque of the engine. This is usually preceded or accompanied by a grinding noise when attempting to shift into that gear. If this is the case, it may be possible that the transmission may need to be rebuilt.

As transmission rebuilds can be expensive, I would recommend having the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician who specializes in transmission, to determine if a rebuild is required.

Transmission falling out of gear, hesitates to shift.
ANSWER : Hi. There is a definite problem with your transmission. Its sounds like the valve body or the shift solenoids are bad and the clutches of the transmission are worn out. The fuse for the dtc connector could be blown and thats why the scan tool will not read the codes in the computer. I suggest you have the fuses checked and your transmission diagnosis by a highly qualified technician. YourMechanic would be pleased to complete this repair for you.