Car can be placed into gear but will not drive

engines

#1

Hello there! I drive a 2007 Toyota Camry V6 LE. The other day when I tried to drive it, the car started, I was able to put it into drive, the engine will rev, but the car will not more forward. I tried putting it in reverse, the engine will rev, but again it will not move.

What kind of issue am I looking at?


#2

A transmission issue.
Check your transmission fluid level. My guess is that you’ve probably suffered a leak somewhere and the fluid is gone. Your engine is coupled to the transmission by a device called a “torque converter”. It’s kind of like a bagel cut in half and hollowed out with vanes inside. It’s filled with fluid, and as you start moving and the forward half of the device spins it drags the fluid along and the fluid drags the half that turns the transmission input shaft. My guess is that the fluid has drained out, and without the fluid inside the torque converter there’s no turbulence to pull the rear half of the drivetrain along.

I recommend having this towed rather than trying to drive it. You may be lucky and everything be in good shape once the fluid leak is fixed. The leak may be in one of the cooling lines or the tranny cooler rather than the tranny itself. You have a little radiator up front to dissipate tranny heat along with “lines” to move the tranny fluid between the tranny and the “radiator” (technically called a tranny cooler). If you fill it with fluid and try driving it, the fluid may drain as you drive and damage the tranny itself.


#3

Is your transmission fluid at the correct level? Is it red or pink without a burnt smell? Have you serviced the transmission properly all along?


#4

While I agree that the problem is most likely transmission-based, I want to give the OP another possibility, namely a parking brake/emergency brake that is not releasing.

Try shifting to neutral, and then seeing if you can get the car to move at all when you push it.
If it doesn’t budge at all, then your e-brake is frozen in the “on” position.
You would still need to get the car towed, but the fix would be much less expensive.

Please let us know what your mechanic finds when he checks the car.


#5

I will be an optimist. Your gear selector in the car moves a cable which changes the position of the transmission range switch (a.k.a. neutral safety switch / PRNDL switch), probably on the top of the transmission. If the cable or some of its linkage has come undone then your gear selector will move, but the transmission will remain in Park.

If the car is sitting on any kind of grade and didn’t move when you removed your foot from the brake then it’s probably still in park. (Depending on the e-brake possibility noted by VDCdriver above).

You could pop the hood and try to get a look. The switch is probably down underneath of a bunch of stuff. Some are easily visible, some not so much, but they generally look about like the pic. The rubber accordion looking thing is a protective boot over the cable


#6

Thank you everyone! This model doesn’t have the stick that lets you check the fluid levels but I’m getting it towed to my mechanic today and I’ll update you all with what he says.

Before I do so I’m going to try the test to see if it’s my e-brake.


#7
Is your transmission fluid at the correct level?

Sealed transmission - no way of checking fluid.

My wife has an 07 Lexus ES-350 (same engine and tranny as the Camry V6). There was a service bulletin early on with the 07 tranny pump. The first few thousand built were having significant problems. They recalled those vehicles and replaced the pump. Haven’t heard about a single problem with the tranny afterwords - and it’s the same tranny used today in the Camry, Avalon and ES-350.