How To Troubleshoot and Fix Loose Gear Shifter?


Shifting gears in an automobile should be a smooth experience, but occasionally one may notice that the gear shifter is loose.

When the shifter bushing wears out, the gear shifter feels loose. Driving a car with a damaged shifter cable is quite dangerous. An automobile with a damaged shifter cable won’t be able to switch gears efficiently in response to the driver moving the shifter.

In this article, we will talk about what causes a loose gear shifter, how to fix it as well as how to prevent a loose gear shifter.

What Causes A Loose Gear Shifter?

A damaged gear shifter bushing or an unsteady shifting lever are the most typical causes of a loose gear shifter. Another possibility could be that the connectors or nuts that keep your gear shifter in position are unsecured.

If your gear shifter seems loose, check the gear shifter bushing first. The gear shifter bushing is the component of the vehicle in which the gear shifting lever is housed. This shifter bushing could deteriorate with time, loosening the gear change lever. You can secure the shifter bushing manually if that’s the situation.

Read: Why Automatic Transmission Stuck in Gear?

Signs of a Loose Gear Shifter

A couple of warning symptoms suggest that your gear shifter is loosening up and requires maintenance. It’s time to make a move if you see any of the following:

  • The gear shifter becomes locked in one place and refuses to move.
  • Whenever you change gears, the gear shifter slides more than normal.

How To Fix A Loose Gear Shifter?

Materials You Need


Step 1: Locate the Source of the Trouble

The first thing to do is to pinpoint the cause of the issue. There are three possible causes for your gear shifter to get loose. The first one is the actual shifter lever. The shifting cable is the second element, and the shifting knob is the third.

Read: Automatic Transmission Have Grinding Noise When Put in Gear. How To Fix?

Step 2: Unscrew the Nuts and Bolts

The shifting assembly is visible now since the covering has been removed. On the outside of the shifting assembly, there are two bolts and two nuts. Using a wrench or screwdriver set, unscrew these bolts and nuts. Take caution not to misplace any of the components. After you’ve unscrewed them, take out the gear shifter assembly from in front of the automobile.

Step 3: Use a Thread Locker

One method for repairing a faulty gear shifter is to use a thread locker. This sort of paste or epoxy will prevent the screws and bolts from becoming loose with age. It’s available at many local hardware stores and is quite simple to use. Put a tiny quantity to the screws’ threading before reattaching them to the gear shifter.

This will help in maintaining the screws and bolts in position and preventing the gear shifter from getting loose a second time.

Read: How To Fix a Stuck Gear Shifter?

Step 4: Change the Direction of the Gear Shifting Knob

Toggle on your gear shifter from side to side to determine whether it is loose. If so, tighten it by rotating it clockwise. If it still doesn’t resolve the issue, the knob has to be replaced.

Step 5: Take out the Gear Shifter Retainer Ring

The gear shifter is held in place by the retainer ring. It is at the very bottom of the gear changer and must be detached in order to remove the gear shifter. There are actually two approaches to this.

The first method is to pull it off with a pair of pliers or another pointy tool. The second approach is to employ a shifting lever tool. Slide the tool into the bottommost hole of the gear shifter and crank it counterclockwise till the retainer ring comes off. Set it away once it has been turned off.

Step 6: Screw the Bolts Back

Now that you’ve properly adjusted the shifter, replace the screws. This is a simple procedure: align the holes and drive in the bolts. Just ensure that they’re snug, but not too tight, since this might damage the threads.

That’s all! Now you fully understand how to repair a faulty gear shifter. Take the above-mentioned steps the next time you encounter this issue, and you’ll do fine!

Read: Symptoms Of A Bad Crankshaft Pulley

How To Prevent A Gear Shifter From Getting Loose?

Be Mindful While Changing Gears

The most typical reason for a loose gear shifter is that it is moved too roughly. The gear shifter will gradually soften, becoming less stiff. Be mindful of how frequently you shift gears and carefully bring them to their previous position each time.

Keep the Bolts from Becoming Over Clogged

Clogging the bolts is among the hardest parts of repairing a loose gear shifter. This might cause the pieces to become trapped, making repair either challenging or impossible. If this happens, you might have to get your automobile serviced.

Use the suitable size Allen wrench to prevent over-clogging the rivets. If you’re unsure which size to use, see the owner’s handbook for your vehicle.

Stay on the Lookout for Uncommon Noises

A faulty gear shifter might be one of the numerous reasons why an automobile begins to make unusual noises. If that’s the case, a few solutions are available. One solution is to grease the gearshift with silicone or WD-40. This will keep everything going along smoothly.

If you hear a whirring sound when shifting gears, there are solutions you can use to repair that too. The very first step is to check and confirm that the fluid level inside the gearbox is sufficient. If the fluid level is low, you may have to add some more.

Stay on the Lookout for Uncommon Behaviour

One of the most typical gearbox behaviours associated with a loose gear shifter is the gear shifter slipping to neutral by itself. It can be triggered by a variety of factors, including insufficient fluid levels, a stuck valve, or even a faulty torque converter. 

If your gear shifter slips to neutral, you’ll have to take your automobile to a repair mechanic to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Read: How To Rev a Car Without It Moving?

People Also Ask

What is the cause of a loose gear shifter?

A shifter might become loose due to a variety of factors. A lack of lubrication is among the most usual reasons. Without lubrication, a gear shifter could become loose and slide about. Abrasive wear is yet another major reason for a loose gear shifter. The components of a shifter might become damaged and begin moving about more over time.

How much does it cost to fix a loose gear shift?

If the problem is a loose gear shifter connection, you may fix it yourself for free or have the service centre fix it for $50-80. If the problem is due to a broken gear shifter cable, a service centre would cost you $130-$260 to change it, otherwise, you may buy and fix it yourself for $30-$85.

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