2002 Chevy Cavalier - Shift Linkage Broken?

Asked by Jun 02, 2017 at 11:01 PM about the 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Coupe FWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi all,

My wife has a 2002 Chevy Cavalier which may be starting to show its age.
As she tried to leave her office today, the transmission started acting up.
The gear shift does lock into the selected gear,, and she can "cycle"
through the gears (P-R-N-D-2-1 and back up). The shifter holds in
whichever gear she's selected. But the transmission seemed too stay in
neutral - the car drifted with the slope of the parking lot she was in. She
was able to back out of the parking space as normal, but when she shifted
to Drive, it wouldn't take.

Somehow, it had no trans fluid. I put in a bottle of Transmission stop leak
(15 ounces), but no change to the functionality. The auto shop that was on
the way from home to her office (Pep Boys) had no regular trans fluid.
Even after starting the car and letting it run for a minute, no Trans Fluid
showed on the Trans fluid dipstick.

I did a little research (thanks to Google) - and found a few similar scenarios
on CarGurus that sound like the Shifter Linkage was the issue (which
sounds much better than a full Transmission) - Just curious if y'all, as more
experienced than her or I, would agree with that assessment, or if there is
a more major issue that could cause the problem. I want to be prepared for
when I go to the shop to make sure they don't take me for a proverbial
ride...

Thanks!

2 Answers

945

The transmission needs the proper amount of fluid to operate. It uses hydraulic pressure to engage the clutches to make it work. If it is low or out of fluid the car wont go. If the shifter seems to be working properly ie. you can put it in park and neutral. Then that's not going to be the problem. Top off the fluid and see if it works. More than likely however the damage has been done and it's time for a new trans

Capn_Steve - Thanks for the info - I did top it, but no luck... got the car towed to a local Triple A Car Care place. Now it is wait for them to get back to me, and make a decision from there.

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