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Help: No movement in drive or reverse

Help! A couple of days ago I started my car, shifted into drive (D) and then did an immediate U-turn upon which pressing the accelerator I got no motion, i was dead in the water, luckily still on own small side street. Same with reverse gear (F). I waited a minute, I think i shifted into park § then into D and could move forward. Now this morning I started to use D and R to get out of my parking spot in front of my house and again just the engine would rev and I had zero movement until I put it into park a few seconds then into D or R. I fear the worst. I just spent $1000 a week ago for new tires and a new radiator (old one had a hole in it with leakage). Car only has a blue book value of maybe $2000 given several dings in the body. I was hoping not to have to buy a new $15-20k car, sigh, baby this car along another year or two or three. But I can’t see writing checks for a new transmission on this 8 year old car. Am I screwed? Should I start shopping for a new car? Very disconcerting to think I could be out and about somewhere and be unable to move forward or in reverse, have to tow my car to a mechanic. 2004 Dodge Neon, 50,000 miles, basic model (not automatic windows or stuff like that), automatic transmission.

My car has a remote car starter that I started using the past week, any chance a remote starter could mess with the car and cause something like this? I can try NOT using the remote start for a few days and see what happens. Both times this issue has happened the past few days have been right in the morning, cold (freezing, snow, here in northern MN), then I drive ten miles to a coffee shop and do not have the issue when I leave the coffee shop to come home (I do not use the remote starter at the coffee shop).

Check the transmission fluid level. There is some fluid lost when replacing a radiator and your shop may not have refilled it.

The radiator on this car carries both engine coolant and transmission fluid. There is a good chance it is leaking. Check for antifreeze on your transmission dipstick, and hope you don’t see any. You might just be low on transmission fluid.

I hate to admit this , but I failed to do a drain and new fluid on my wifes old Corsica. I thought that the tranny was a goner too. You’d put it in gear and it would just do some clicking…like a gear was stripped. My son bugged me that I should drain and replace the tranny fluid. I did that just to make him get off my back, and lo and behold it runs fine now. I figure that the fluid must have been pretty bad and I know you only drain less than 50% when you do drain it, the rest is trapped inside the tranny. So before winter hits hard I plan to replace the filter again and add new fluid…to dilute the old stuff even more.

So when was the last time you drained the tranny and replaced the filter???


Not to be a wet blanket by whenever I’ve got a slipping transmission, I pretty much drive right to the tranny shop to avoid a tow charge. You should check the fluid first but then get it evaluated and maybe make it to the dealer. Slipping transmissions don’t last long.