My Car is not shifting gears at all

My car is an automatic 1997 pontiac sunfire SE. 2.4L. I drove into a parking space and the car would not shift out of drive into park, or any other gear. I called a tow truck and the guy said that the “link” had popped out of place and it needed to slip back in. He also said the high heat (it was 109 today) can warp the plastic to where it will not stay in. He showed me this link and popped it into place. I was able to get the car to shift from low to park and then to neutral but it popped out again. So I know it’s not the transmission. My question is what is this “link” called so I can get a replacement for it. Sorry if this is a little vague.

There’s a saftey device which prevents shifting unless the brake pedal is pressed. I think that may be what is causing the problem. I don’t have one on any of my own cars, so I’m just reporting what I’ve heard here. But those failing are a common complaint here. Usually they are located down under the brake pedal. There’s also some gadget which over-rides the interlock which prevents the turning of the steering wheel too unless the key is in the ignition. That may affect shifting also. So it may be that is the problem. In any event, I expect any good inde shop can fix this without much expense. If you want to try to fix it yourself, I’ll bet if you took the car to a retail auto parts store, they could get you the part you needed. They could go out and take a look. This is a common problem and they see it all the time. Best of luck.

Its not that, because when this link was put into place the car would not shift without the brake pedal pressed in. Thanks for your input though

There’s a square shaped plastic clip the locks that end of the shift cable to the shifter bracket. If this clip becomes disattached from the shifter bracket, it allows the entire shift cable assembly to move instead of just the cable within the cable jacket. This then doesn’t allow the shifter to move the transmission into any gear. You can see the square plastic clip here. It’s on the left behind where the shift cable attaches to the shifter.

I would think that someone with a little imagination and a couple of wire ties could rig something up to where the clip doesn’t pop out. Otherwise, the shift cable assembly will require replacement,


Thanks very much, my mechanic said to just zip tie it together. So that’s probably what ill do.

+1 for non mechanical electronic push button shifters.

I wonder how many failure modes there are with automatic transmissions? It seems like there are new ones posted here daily.