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Gear Shift Linkage Guides

Repair Your Gear Shift Linkage Today

While driving, have you ever experienced your gears slipping to another or randomly going into neutral? If both the fluid and the computer system are working fine, then this could be a case of a misaligned shift linkage. Aside from being frustrating, when the shift linkage is not working properly, it is a serious safety hazard and should be fixed immediately. You could take it to the mechanic but just in case you want to take it on by yourself, read on to find out the quick and easy steps to readjust a misaligned gear shift linkage.

Difficulty level: Moderate

What you'll need:

  • Small flat screwdriver
  • Small crescent wrench

Step 1: Engage the vehicle's parking brake to prevent it from rolling. You'll be tinkering around the transmission and the doing this step lessens the chances of any accidents from happening. Do not skip this step.

Step 2: For manual transmission, move the gear shift to reverse and to neutral if the car is automatic. Do not skip this step, as well, in order to avoid any accidents.

Step 3: If your car has a manual transmission, the shifter knob should be removed first. To do this, hold the gear shift's base in one hand and use your other hand to grab the knob. With an upward pull and firm pressure, remove the knob from the shaft.

Step 4: Gain better access to the inside of the center console. If your car has an automatic transmission, the shift indicator light should be removed from its housing on the shifter cover plate. Meanwhile, if you have a manual transmission car, start by removing the shifter boot. Using the screwdriver, carefully pry the shifter cover plate form the center console.

Step 5: Locate the shift linkage cable, (pro tip: it's the only cable attached to the actual shifter) and the cable's adjusting nut. This nut is the first one threaded onto the cable housing; however, it is not the bolt that is used to attach the cable to the shifter.

Step 6: Make sure that the gear shift linkage needs adjustment and not replacement. If the linkage is showing signs of wear, it won't be long until it completely breaks. It may be a good idea to replace it rather than adjusting it temporarily if that's the case.

Step 7: With the crescent wrench, turn the nut carefully, checking every now and then, until the shifter feels tight enough that it won't need another adjustment anytime soon.

Step 8: Lastly, reinstall the shifter cover plate, making sure it clicked in place in the center console. For manual transmission car, install the shifter boot and the shifter knob back.

And there you have it! A note of caution though, it may seem easy, but a prior DIY experience would be ideal before taking this project on. Unless you're mechanically inclined, having a transmission specialist would be best to ensure that the linkage is aligned properly. Make sure to read and follow all the steps carefully so that additional damages can be avoided.

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