Kia Sorento stuck in 2nd gear & reverse lights not working

2008 Kia Sorento with 40K miles. Auto Transmission. I started it today and it was stuck in 2nd gear and also the backup lights would not come on when I put it into reverse. I parked, turned off the engine, checked the trans fluid, which was fine. Started it again and suddenly it drives perfect and the reverse lights come on as well.

What would cause the transmission to get stuck in 2nd gear and the reverse lights not to work, then be fine the next time I start the car?

Any help will be much appreciated,


Looks like shifter/transmission disagrees are common on that generation Sorento. There doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what’s causing it, but it looks like when it does happen it’s usually fixed by turning the car off and back on.

The problem is most likely with the transmission range sensor/park-neutral safety switch.

This device informs the computer what gear is selected, and the computer then operates solenoids within the transmission for that gear.

This device also turns on the back-up lights when reverse is selected.



I really appreciate the replies. This gives me a LOT more information to go on than when I started. I’m hoping that just maybe it was a one-time fluke, like an electronic glitch, and maybe won’t happen again. I probably won’t be that lucky, so now I have something to go on.

Thanks again,


By the way, check your owners manual, almost all cars transmissions have to be checked with the engine running. At least the ones that still have transmission dipsticks.

I am confused regarding the Transmission Range Sensor vs Neutral Safety Switch. I understand that a vehicle has one or the other, but not both.

My Hanes manual for my 2008 Sorento lists a TR Sensor & how to replace it, but no Neutral Safety Switch. But all of the parts houses, NAPA, Autozone, etc, list a Neutral Safety Switch, but no TR Sensor. And looking at pictures of them on the Web, the Safety Switch looks very different from the TR Sensor in the Hanes manual. Is the manual in error?

Unfortunately, the Switch costs $338.00 before tax!,2008,sorento,3.3l+v6,1442120,electrical-switch+&+relay,neutral+safety+switch+/+range+sensor,4584