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Car wont move when put in gear

I went to the store and i felt the van lurch forward then it would not go very fast, after i park and went in i came out got in my van put it in gear and it wouldnt move. A friend tried to push it while it was cranked and in reverse and neutral and it wouldnt move. The car also will go into gear if cranked without pressing the brake. The tranny fluid is fine not burnt or off color, i have tried putting a tranny solonoid pack in it and that didnt fix it. The mechanic that help me put the solonoid in says he is not sure whats going on with it. About 2 weeks before this happened the check engine light came on. Mine is the 3.3 liter engine with 140,000 miles on it. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

It might be as simple as a locked-up brake caliper. Perhaps locked up parking brakes if you use them.
It needs to get towed, and someone needs to get under it.

So…is it a brake problem or a transmission problem?? With the engine off and transmission in neutral, you should be able to move the car by pushing it…If it won’t move, one or more of the brakes is locked up…

Brakes were my guess too.

Perhaps the OP needs a new mechanic… ???


Ok you can push the car if the engine is off and it is in neutral, you cant push it if you crank the car and put it in neutral or drive or reverse , it wont move when it is cranked and put in gear. Also i noticed that now when i crank the car i dont have to press the brake to get it to go in gear. The mechanic put a transmission solenoid pack in because we thought maybe it wasnt getting pressure another thing someone said it might be a transmission pressure switch . If its the transmission the fluid looks good on the dip stick and it dosnt smell burnt.

I hate to say it, but if you refuse to consider our suggestions and continue down the road you’re going with this you’re probably going to get nowhere.

Try another shop.

Actually i wasnt trying to disregard what you have suggested but the question was ask if its a transmission problem or a brake problem, so i was simply giving a little more info so it would be easier to establish if it was a brake problem or a transmission problem. I thought if it was shifting gears without having to press the brake would be important info. I am going to have the brakes looked at but in the meantime if you can think of anything else that would be helpful i would appreciate it.

I may be shooting completely off the mark here, but if you can push the van when the engine is off, but not when the engine is running- perhaps this is a brake booster issue? I’ve never seen a brake booster stick the brakes on, but that kind of sounds like what is going on here- from your description.

Engine off = no vacuum to the brake booster. Engine running = vacuum to the brake booster, van doesn’t move.

The lack of needing to press the brake pedal to shift gears makes me think that perhaps the shifter is broke? or the brake pedal is stuck down? Do the brake lights work when you push the brake pedal? If not, i’d look hard at the pedal.

I’m not sure the tow issues are connected- but perhaps?

I think something in the transmission came apart and two gears are being applied at once, that will keep the vehicle from moving.

Lift the vehicle and try to spin the wheels by hand with the engine running, that will indicate if this is a brake problem.


I think eddo is onto something. It seems as if the brake pedal is down - that’s why you can shift gears without pressing it - it’s already down, so its electrical interlock is allowing you to shift. And with the engine running, the brake booster adds plenty of braking power and keeps you from being able to push the vehicle.

One place I have found lots of help for my Chry Co minivans is at It is a big website about all things Chrysler. They have a discussion board to devoted to these minivans.

Best of luck and please let us know what you find.