Does Your Car Shuts Off When Put In Drive Or Reverse?

Have you ever been excited about something that you expect to happen? The level of surety about the event makes you feel confident but what if that thing does not happen? You feel disappointed and surprised. A driver experiences a similar feeling when the car shuts off when put in drive or reverse. Placing your car in gear is among the initial steps for your drive. Therefore, If your car shuts off when put in drive or reverse, it is a matter of concern.

A car can shut down due to many reasons. You might have a proper engine equipped in your vehicle but the car shuts down as soon as you put it in drive or reverse. This problem is not related to the fact that your car starts perfectly. Usually, such a situation is a result of a faulty transmission system.

Why Does Your Car Shuts Off When Put In Drive Or Reverse?

A car that shuts off when put in gear is probably equipped with a faulty transmission system. This problem is quite specific in nature and some particular components are responsible for it.

1. Leaking Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid functions to channel the energy from the engine to the wheels of your car. This fluid acts as and when you put your car in gear. A leak indicates that the car is low on fluid. There is a specific standard of fluid that is needed by your car. Anything lower than that causes this problem.

2. Damaged Torque Converter

A torque converter is a vital part of an automatic transmission. Basically, it is a replacement for the mechanical clutch. A torque converter functions to transfer energy from the engine to the wheels. A damaged converter is unable to perform this transfer of energy and consequently, the car shuts off when put in drive or reverse. A torque converter is prone to damage. The needle-like structures on the outside of the converter wear out with time.

3. Faulty Idle Air Control Valve

The idle air control valve functions to manage the amount of air running into the engine. This valve regulates the required amount of air for the engine. This amount of air is responsible to maintain the idling situation of your car. An imbalance in the amount of air makes it difficult to maintain an idle car and as a result, the car shuts down. If the valve gets faulty or is obstructed by any substance, it is unable to calculate and provide a proper amount of air.

4. Engine Vacuum Leak

Engine vacuum regulates the ratio in which the fuel and air run into the engine. An imbalance in this mixture causes inefficiency in the transfer. The power from the engine is responsible to initiate the transmission system of your vehicle. Therefore,  a vacuum leak from the engine hampers the transmission of your vehicle.

How To Fix A Car That Shuts Down When Placed In Drive Or Reverse?

This problem calls for a quick fix. A car that won’t move after a gear is positioned is just a huge box. There are various conventional ways to fix this problem. After diagnosing the fault, it becomes easy for you to get your vehicle fixed under professional guidance. The transmission system of your car is a complex structure hence, seeking reliable professional help is advised.

1. Refilling Transmission Fluid

In case of a leak, the car loses transmission fluid. Refilling the fluid ensures that the transfer of power from the engine to the wheels takes place efficiently. A low quantity of transmission often leads to a car shutdown when put in gear. Transmission fluid is easily replaceable and it increases the overall performance of your vehicle. You will observe that the gear shifts are more responsive after a fluid refill.


2. Replacing The Torque Converter

A torque converter is usually a component of an automatic transmission. The torque converter is a channel between the engine and the transmission for the exchange of power. A faulty torque converter indicates that your car isn’t receiving the required amount of power. Replacing a torque converter improves the transfer of energy.

3. Repairing The Idle Air Control Valve

The idle air control valve regulates the amount of air running into your car’s engine. The valve can act faulty with time. Repairing the idle air control valve is a potential solution if your car stalls when shifting into drive. A fully functional air control valve ensures that only the required amount of air enters your car’s engine. Therefore, Repairing the valve is advised if the problem persists after the fluid refill.


4. Fixing Engine Vacuum Leaks

A vacuum leak from your engine is easily observable. The car makes a hissing noise in case of a leak. A vacuum leak is a scenario where excess air is released towards the engine, consequently, this air enters the intake manifold without passing the throttle. Such malfunction causes your car to shut down when put in drive or reverse.

Expected Cost Of Repair

If your car turns off when changing gears, repairing is the only option to get it running. The transmission system of your car requires regular checks and maintenance in order to function properly. Refilling the transmission fluid is a simple solution to this complex problem. A fluid refill will cost you around $100 to $200. This cost includes the labor expenses.

A new torque converter ranges from $150 to $450. A mechanic will charge you around $600 to $1000 for the replacement process. The process is complex in nature and requires great skills as one works directly with the transmission mechanism.

The replacement cost for an idle air control valve is around $120 to $200. This cost is inclusive of the labor expenses.


Driving a vehicle should be an enjoyable experience rather than a frustrating one. If your car shuts off when put in drive or reverse, it is an embarrassing situation. The transmission mechanism of your car should not be overlooked in any situation. A car with a faulty gear system is prone to bigger problems in the future. A simple fix can help you avoid a disaster. A safe and comfortable driving experience is a basic need and one must seek professional help in a problem that involves the transmission system of the vehicle.

Drive Safe and comfortable

Thank you

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