Linkage vs transmission

My car made a horrible noise yesterday and stopped moving. It sounded like what I thought would be the transmission. However, the tow truck driver said that since it won’t move out of park and it seems like the gear column is loose now. I can wiggle the entire column. The reason I ask is that as a single mom I don’t have money to spare and am even wondering if it is worth fixing. Its a Subaru Legacy wagon 1997 AT. Thanks

It is difficult to see it from here, but my vote is with the tow truck driver. That searing wheel column is not suppose to be loose. If you want those kids to be safe, you will not try and drive a car with that condition. I can’t say the two are connected however.

Sorry, but if the car made a horrible noise and stopped moving, it’s not likely to be the linkage. You’re going to need a diagnosis from a good transmission shop.

BTW, Joseph, this car has a floor shifter. The steering column isn’t in the equation here.

I agree with NYBo, but part of this being a confusing situation to analyze is the terminology, “gear column”. Did the OP mean steering column, as Joseph interpreted it, or did she mean gear shift lever–which is indeed on the floor? If she did mean to say “steering column”, that would have nothing to do with the shift linkage on this car.

Anyway, I concur that this sounds like a transmission problem, rather than a linkage problem, but from this distance it is very difficult to know for sure. One thing for sure is that the OP should NOT take her car to Aamco, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other transmission chain for diagnosis and repair. The car should be flat-bedded (as a result of the AWD system) to a well-reputed independent transmission shop that has been in business for at least three years. The chain shops invariably charge more money, perform unnecessary repairs, and frequently perform those repairs poorly.