Gear Shift Lever Shopping Checks and No-Nos
Years of driving eventually deteriorates the performance of your car's gear shift lever. This lever is your primary access to your entire transmission system; it is the component that you hold or control whenever you want to shift gears while driving. It is imperative that you replace this lever whenever hard shifting begins to occur. But, as with other car parts, there are some considerations when shopping, so read on to easily narrow down your search for the best replacement gear shift lever.
- Always look for the unit that will complement the design of your car's interior. Most gear shifters have the upper part covered in leather; make sure that your pick has the same leather color as your dashboard and seats.
- Always look for stainless steel gear shifters because these are highly durable. Your shifter will be subject to constant movement, so it has to be made from such strength-proven material. Aluminum is also a good alternative, not to mention its clean, polished look.
- Always prioritize quality over price. Branded units are good, but do not disregard the quality of original equipment replacement parts. These units are competitive in price as well, if not cheaper.
- Always take note of the make, model, and year of your vehicle when buying. Different makes have slight configurations in transmission design, so your pick must have specific dimensions in inches to ensure perfect operation and easy installation. In relation, opt for a direct-fit unit.
- Always ensure that the product package is complete. A typical unit includes the shifter handle, the knob, and the tilt steering lever. Check the unit for wires that connect to the transmission system's power source.
- Do not buy from sites with product reviews that are over the top. Too-good-to-be-true reviews are a sure sign of auto-turfing.
- Do not buy a unit if it is not backed by a warranty or quality guarantee. An unlimited-mileage warranty already sounds good.
- Do not buy refurbished units because these are probably taken from junkyards. Besides, you are never sure of their quality. Opt for OE parts instead.
A Breeze-Through Gear Shift Lever Replacement
Shifting gears is easy with a newly bought auto-transmission car, but if yours is already, say, a decade old, then you might already be feeling the difficulty in shifting. Sometimes, you do not actually feel the gear shift to first or second, or worse, you just feel the shift sliding from gear to gear and through all of them. A well-functioning gear shift lever is essential in both manual and automatic transmission vehicles. If you think that you are losing the feel for driving due to a loose shifter, then bring it back by replacing your deteriorated gear shift lever.
Difficulty level: Easy
Things you'll need:
- New gear shift lever (one specific for the transmission type of your car)
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wire cutters
- Lubrication fluid
Step 1: Set your ignition key to A/C mode by turning the key clockwise until you hear the click. Pull the emergency brake up to set the vehicle to a stationary position.
Step 2: Set the car to
drive so that you have access to the front side of the gear shift lever. Use the Phillips screwdriver to unfasten the single screw that holds the gear shift lever. Remove the screw and set it aside.
Step 3: Pull up the gear shift lever until it disengages from the shift rod. You may need to apply more effort to do this. Once the lever is free, cut the pair of wires that connects to the bottom of the gear shift lever.
Step 4: Connect the new gear shift lever by twisting its wires to the remaining wires of the old shifter. Place the new shifter securely over the shift rod, making sure that it fits into place. Push the shifter a few times to make sure that it does not disengage from the rod.
Step 5: Refasten the gear shift lever with the screw. Set the car to
park and turn the ignition off.
Step 6: Get under the car. You may need to prop the vehicle onto jack and jack stands for this. Otherwise, just slip underneath with the lubrication fluid. Apply a generous amount of the fluid to the joints of the gear shift lever. This ensures that there will be no shifting problems when you test-drive the car.