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Why don't the gears shift in my 1996 Nissan Pulsar?

Asked by Buddhika

My 1996 Nissan Pulsar's gears (automatic) are not shifting. It won’t accelerate properly either. What could be the issue?

Answered by CarsGuide

15 Aug 2020 David Morley

If the gearbox won’t shift gears, then the vehicle won’t be able to accelerate any further once the engine has reached its maximum speed in the gear in which it’s stuck. That’s probably (I’m guessing) why the car feels like it won’t go any faster.

There are any number of reasons for an automatic gearbox to remain in one gear and refuse to shift. They start with low transmission fluid and go all the way up to a major internal failure or even a computer-related problem. There’s no real way to diagnose these possibilities remotely, so you really need to get the vehicle to somebody who specialises in automatic transmissions and get them to take a close look and diagnose the problem.

If it’s a major problem with the gearbox, your decision then becomes one of whether the vehicle itself is in good enough condition to warrant spending the money. A major job such as a new transmission and the labour to fit it could easily wind up costing more than the car is worth. Sometimes you’re better off scrapping the vehicle, cutting your losses and moving on to something newer and safer.

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