What is a shift selector cable replacement? 

A shift selector cable is the link between a car’s gear shifter and transmission. It ensures that your car is in the correct gear according to adjustments either you or your vehicle make. For manual transmissions, two selector cables respond to shifts from the driver. In automatic vehicles, it’s a little different, as only one cable is necessary. 
A shift selector replacement can either involve the total repair of a cable, or a minor tweak. Over time, the cable can become stretched, especially if the car is put under a lot of stress. This often results in some wear and tear to the wiring — meaning a replacement might be necessary.

When do I need to get a shift selector cable replacement?

Shift selector cables are a vital part of your car’s functionality and movement. You should see a mechanic as soon as you experience any difficulties changing gear, as the consequences of not having a responsive car can be deadly. In most cases, shift selector cables tend to work for five to eight years before they need fixing or replacing altogether.
There are a few telltale signs that your shift selector cable needs looking at: 
  • Your gear shift movement doesn’t yield a response. That likely means there’s an issue connecting your gearbox to the transmission. More simply put, the shift selector cable isn’t doing its job properly. 
  • Your shift indicator doesn’t match the gear. This is usually an issue for manual transmission. But if your stick is in position for fourth gear, and your dashboard says you’re in fifth, there’s likely more than just a wiring problem. Typically, the cable is selecting the wrong gear. 
  • You’re unable to remove the key from the ignition. Most vehicles won’t allow you to remove the key without putting your car in park first. But if you’ve already put your car into park and the key won’t come out, there might be a bigger problem. It could be an issue with the fob itself, but there’s also a chance that your car isn’t entering park mode properly. 

How important is a shift selector cable replacement?

A shift selector cable is a crucial part of your car’s ability to move. Without it, you can’t shift gear. If there’s even a slight fault, speeding up or slowing down can be delayed or prevented outright—which could put your life at risk on busy roads. 
The good news is that it’s fairly rare for a shift selector cable to break outright. Usually, it’ll be slightly worn down, or become stretched. Thus, you’re more likely to experience delays in shifting rather than total loss of transmission change.

Tips for maintaining your shift selector cable 

There are a few things you can do to protect your shift selector cable. 
  • Treat your car with care. Don’t shift too aggressively, or drive too fast. Extra stress on the throttle or brake can overwork the wiring. 
  • You should also be sure to have your car inspected regularly. 
With a good mechanic, everything under the hood should stay healthy and in shape for as long as the car can run. 

Finding affordable car insurance 

It’s also important to ensure you have the right car insurance should something go awry. Unfortunately, a shift selector cable breaking could lead to some problems while you’re on the road. And more problems with your vehicle means more dangerous situations such as collisions or accidents. That’s where your car insurance is vital.  
For the best rate on your policy, try using the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry. A licensed broker, Jerry will monitor quotes from over 50 top companies in less than a minute. That’s right—in 45 seconds you’ll be seeing offers from State Farm, Progressive, GEICO, and more! 
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