CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2005 Mazda 3 Gear Selector Wont Fall into Position

The gear selector on my 2005 Mazda 3 with automatic transmission is difficult to move between P, R, N, and D positions. It does not “click” or fall into position like it used to. It has gradually gotten worse. When the car is in Park, it seems to not want to go all the way up into the Park slot. Even though the car actually parked, the P will not light up on the dashboard, which sometimes causes the car not to start when the key is turned. So sometimes I have to put it in Neutral to start.

Now the problem is that when it is in Drive, it will “fall out of gear”. I put that in quotes because it is still in drive, but it was shift up to a higher gear if i don’t physically pull the gear selector knob back. For example, if i’m driving and the car is in 4th gear going 60mph, and the shifter know slides up an eight of an inch, the D light will go off and the car will move into a higher gear (not sure which one, feels like 2nd or 3rd) and the engine will rev up. It doesn’t feel like neutral.

Is there anything I can do myself? I plan on trading in the car in the next couple months, but I’d prefer to not have to get it worked on until then.

Thanks for the help.

Have you inspected the mechanism between the shift lever and the transmission? If your tranny is directly below the lever, that might be difficult to do. But if this is a transverse mounted engine, front wheel drive vehicle, it’s probably possible to take a flashlight out there, peer inside the engine compartment. Maybe you’ll spot something obvious.

Other than that, better take it to a transmission shop. Continuing to drive with it like that could damage the transmission.

...the D light will go off and the car will move into a higher gear (not sure which one, feels like 2nd or 3rd)...

You mean into a lower gear.

Hi did you ever figure out what the issue was my car is doing the same thing

The person who started this thread 4 years ago planned on replacing the vehicle with in a couple of months of their post. So the thing is gone.

Please start your own thread by clicking on the New Topics button and give clear description of your vehicle and problem and receive better help that way.