Top 5 Reasons Your Car Runs But Don’t Move

Man Checking Car Engine

Top 5 Reasons Your Car Runs But Don’t Move

What good is a car that does not move?

Having a car that does not move is about as useless as a house that can not be lived in.

A vehicle that cannot move can be insanely frustrating and have you at your wits end. Sometimes there can be some practical reasons why this is and also some simple fixes that can have your car moving again.

Here are some prime examples that can help get your car back on the road.

The Top 5 Reasons Your Car Runs But Does Not Move.

1. Transmission Problem.

Before going into the possibility of a broken transmission you should first check the transmission fluid to be sure it’s not just low on fluid. We have inspected many vehicles that have been brought in by owners as non driving automobiles that were simply low on transmission fluid.

Simply locate the trans fluid dipstick, pull out the rod, wipe the dipstick clean, re insert and check the fluid level on the indicated at the bottom of the dipstick. If it looks dry or even empty try adding enough fluid to the point that the indicator now shows enough fluid to be sufficient.

The more common problem would be a blown transmission.

The transmission is what helps put the vehicle in gear and switches gears as the vehicle accelerates. If you felt your cars transmission slipping in the past or not get out of a certain gear at all then you may have pushed your transmission to the limit and it just completely gave out.

This is again is the most common of situations but also the worst case scenario, as transmissions are expensive and require hours of labor to install, if not under warranty.

You can detect a transmission problem by:

1. Locating your transmission dip stick.

2. Pulling out the dipstick and smelling the fluid (yes, I said smell the fluid)

A blown/failing transmission will make the transmission fluid have a burnt smell. If you are not sure if it smells burnt or not you can try smelling the fluid from a good running automobile and comparing the two.

I know this may seem weird but it’s a nice trick to identify a failing trans without the need of paying a mechanic or at least confirming what he tells you.

A seal may be broken on the transmission itself causing it to leak fluid everywhere.

If you’re noticing what seems to be trans fluid on the ground this may in fact be the case.

2. Locked Brakes.

If your car has been sitting a while your brakes could have seized up on you, This is especially true with vehicles that have been sitting for some years. Usually by placing the vehicle in drive giving some gas then switching to reverse and giving some gas, will free up the brakes at least to the point that it can move again.

Many mechanics will take off the wheels and tires and bang away at the brakes to free them, this also does work but if your a novice do it yourself mechanic I wouldn’t recommend placing the vehicle on a jack

and slamming away,

this could cause injury to yourself or damage your vehicle.

3.  Computer/Sensor Issue.

All vehicles built in the modern age rely on some type of computer or sensor that works along side the transmission to detect if the gears are working together, properly.

Although it’s not really possible for a computer issue to shut down a car completely from moving, you can experience:

1. Hard Shifts.

2. Improper Shifts.

3. Vehicle being engaged in a gear that it should not be engaged in based on the speed traveling.

4. Vehicle going in a “Limp Mode.”

5.  Vehicle engaging in the neutral position on its own.

It’s safe to say if your car is starting but not moving I do not believe a transmission sensor is the culprit.

If you are experiencing these symptoms check to see if your check engine light has lit up. You can then ask a mechanic to scan the code to see if a speed sensor,  output sensor, input sensor or any other similar code is sending off the check engine light.

4.  CV Axle and/or Drive Shaft.

The axles are a very important but often times looked over component for vehicles that are having trouble moving properly or even moving at all.

If you have checked the other above solutions and are confident it’s not any of these you may have a CV Axle issue.

This usually happens when there is  a lingering clicking noise when turning the wheel that progressively gets louder over time.

In most cases you will hear the final “thump” when they finally go.

A broken drive shaft is connected to the transmission and can be detected  by a simple visual inspection under the car.

5. Linkage Problem.

A shift linkage is what moves the vehicle from the park position to any other gear.

It’s easy to detect, when the shifting feels too loose or too hard to engage or if the indicator is telling you the car is neutral but actually in reverse or drive or the other way around.

If you are shifting into one gear to operate another you probably have a linkage issue.

This can definitely cause a vehicle to not move at all.

Of course they’re many other reasons a car may start but not move but here are the top 5 reasons a car will run but not move that we come across in our company.

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