Problems With Automatic Transmission Linkage

by Horacio Garcia
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The automatic transmission linkage in every automobile has the same function, whether the gears are shifted from the column or on the floor. Problems can occur in the automatic transmission linkage due to normal wear and tear during operation of the automobile. These problems vary, from linkage wear due to use to stretching of the linkage cable.

Broken Linkage

The automatic transmission linkage will break after it has worn to the point where it cannot change gears. This wear occurs because of internal transmission problems, such as the transmission bands coming loose or the transmission running hot and wearing the internal gears of the automatic transmission. When these internal problems occur, they place more stress on the automatic transmission linkage which slowly wears this mechanical component. The linkage is what turns the gears or shifts them into the desired position, such as park, neutral, drive, first, second, third and overdrive, depending on the model or manufacturer of the vehicle.

Gear Cable

Every automatic transmission linkage is connected to a gear cable that runs from the gear shift to the linkage. This cable can stretch over normal operation of the automobile. When this cable is stretched, the driver will have difficulty shifting the gears properly. If the cable is stretched too far, then the gear shift will move, but the automobile cannot shift into any gear. The driver will notice that the gear shift does not feel as stiff as it normally does when shifting gears or the gear shift does not align properly with the desired gear. The cable needs to be replaced when these symptoms occur.

Linkage Alignment

The automatic transmission linkage needs to be aligned properly with the transmission in order for the gear shift to properly change gears. When the gear shift cannot shift the gears into the correct position, the automatic transmission linkage must be adjusted in order to align properly to the corresponding gear. The linkage can become loose under normal operating conditions because of automobile vibration and gear shifting. The linkage needs to be re-adjusted when the gears become hard to shift. The automobile's owner must take the vehicle into a qualified transmission specialist to ensure the linkage is properly aligned.

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