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My future mother-in-law has a 2004 Chevy Cavalier. Last night night when she tried to put it in gear, the car would not go in reverse or drive. She recently had a tune-up on her car a month ago and everything seemed to be working fine. I think the transmission is dead. Does that sound right?

Yes, it does sound like a transmission problem.

The first step it to check the transmission fluid, via its dipstick.
Please do this, and then report back to us (in this same thread) regarding the level, color, and odor of the fluid.

Maybe. I also seem to replace shift cables (the part that connects the shifter inside the car to the transmission) on these cars more than others. Check–carefully–to make sure the shifter is actually shifting the transmission.

If it’s not a fluid issue, then it’s best to go to a good local transmission shop (or the dealer, but probably at a much higher price). Avoid any chain transmission places.

Is this an entry in the vaguest post contest?

I’m with oldtimer 11 on the vagueness.

Are you saying that the gear shifter won’t move? Or are you saying that you shift the car into D and the car won’t move? Those are two completely different things.

Since we frequently have to “pull teeth” in order to get clarity from so many people, perhaps we can have a new icon. How about something like “apprentice dentist” for reaching the goal of teasing additional details out of 25 people who were exceptionally vague in the way that they posed their question?



Could you tell us if it is a manual or automatic transmission?

Ah, just the beginning of married life and the fun of in-laws.