5 Fixes for Transmission not Shifting Out of First Gear

We always want to get to the car, ignite it and shift the transition to different gears as we drive. The most disappointing part of this comes when we try to shift from one gear to the other, and it fails to shift.

An example of this would be if you want to shift from the Drive to reverse and it fails to shift.

This is disappointing, and might even ruin your day, especially if you were trying to make it early to work.

Transmission not Shifting Out of First Gear Solutions

Here are some fixes for failed shifting out of the first gear.

1. Change the gearbox oil

Old gearbox oil is a known cause of failure to shift transmission from the first gear or any other gear. Every vehicle has its designated time for operations without changing the gearbox oil.

Therefore, it is required that after this designated time, as per the manufacturer, that you change the oil to enhance the vehicle’s operation during transmissions.

Usually, old oil limits the effective transmission from one gear to the other, and this might lead to the failure to shift out of the first gear. New oil will improve the effectiveness of the transmission, and the problem of failure to shift from first gear can be solved using this.

Make sure you’re using quality gearbox oil like the Valvoline High Performance.

2. Topping up oil in the gearbox

The gearbox only holds a small amount of oil, and if there is a leak that goes unnoticed, then all the oil might drain out of the gearbox.

You have to check the oil in the gearbox or check the gearbox to ascertain if there is a leak. If the problem is leaking in the gearbox, then one can easily solve the problem by simply topping up oil into the gearbox.

3. Repair the gearbox if there is a leak

Since low volumes of oil in the gearbox can lead to transmission not shifting out of first gear, the problem can be solved by repairing the gearbox.

It is leakages from the gearbox that lead to low volumes of oil and the failure to shift the transmission out of gear one.

As such, repairing the gearbox by simply welding it or sealing the leakages will be enough to solve the problem. However, one has to combine this will topping up for it to work effectively.

4. Replacing the latch

The latch is responsible for sliding to a given gear. However, if it wears, then you will not be able to shift from one gear to the other.

This would cause problems such as the failure of transmission out of the first gear.

To solve the problem, you have to replace the latch that has worn out with a functioning one, one that allows for the change in gears.

5. Replacing the roller bearings and the gear

The roller bearing and the gears enhance the shifting of transmission from one gear to the other.

If pitting occurs to these two, then problems such as the transmission not shifting from the first gear will occur.

Parts on which pitting has occurred will cause shifting problems, and will need to be replaced.


This article presents some of the most effective means to fix failure in transmission shifting from the first gear. The fixes are based on the cause of the problem.

Some of these solutions can be done by an unskilled person, and others need a mechanic. Some of the solutions will also need to be combined with others for the effective working of the transmission.

If these fail, you might be dealing with more complex issues related to the ECM or the oil pressure sensor. You would need to get your car diagnosed by a transmission specialist.

Leave a Comment