Gear shifter does not engage properly

Our cars shifter does not engage properly to Drive position. It comes down to D but the car just revesup or does not pick speed when we hit gas. we have to adjust/move it up and down to engage it. other position seems to be working fine. what could be the problem and how much will it cost to fix it?

Between the gear selector and transmission is a mechanical linkage. The other end is basically a lever on the transmission itself. It just sounds to me like your linkage is loose. If you’re feeling up to it, just start looking.

If that’s all it is, it should be a minor repair.

Another much worse possibility is that you jiggling the shifter is really not doing anything at all. Rather the time you take while jiggling the shifter is actually allowing enough pressure to build up in the the transmission to actually move the car. This is worse b/c it probably means that its time for the transmission to come apart. Have you checked the transmission fluid? (Level, color, odor).

Thanks for quick reply. I will try to check for the linkage.
I hope it is not the second problem. By the way if the vehicle does not move or is not gaining speed after putting it to drive on first attempt we have to stop and make sure the shifter is engaged properly, only then the vehicle gains speed or travels, so i think it may be the mechanical linkage. Just this morning my wife called saying the car is not moving fast enough but the rpm is going up. She had to stop and shift the gear properly and start again.
We generally give our car to local firestone for repairs and oil changes. Wanted to checkout if comes up with big work as I always feel he has tendancy of taking advantage.
Thanks again and any other suggestions welcome.

Someone needs to check the fluid level in the transmission ASAP. That’s always the first step.

I, too, tend to think it’s a linkage problem. Cross your fingers and hope that’s the case. If it is, a mechanic should be able to readjust the linkage so the shifter works correctly.

“my wife called saying the car is not moving fast enough but the rpm is going up.”

That’s not a good sign. In your first description it basically sounded like you put the shifter in D but the transmission would remain in Neutral until you jiggled it. But if it goes at all - but just “not fast enough” - this suggests that it is in gear and slipping. If you want any hope of keeping the problems to a minimum, no one should ever rev up the car if it feels like all the power isn’t making it to the wheels. This is what turns a potentially repairable problem into a burned up transmission.

“We generally give our car to local firestone for repairs and oil changes”

This is also not a good sign. Locations will obviously vary, but generally corporate chain auto “care” places are not the best choice. In this case you have a transmission question - under no circumstances should you take it to a Firestone - nor to any other type of national chain shop. Ask around for the best locally owned, independent transmission specialty shop. That’s no guarantee of the best outcome - but the alternatives are close to a guarantee of a less than optimal outcome (if not disaster).

I know couple of locally owned shops but they are closed on weekends, and on weekdays its not possible. This one is close by and we can drop, walk back home and pick up later and hence end up reparing there! For this one I will try to check with others.
I will also check the level of oil. Thanks,

I believe what you will find is two torx bolts loose at the bottom of the column. Very common.