Chrysler Voyager Not Changing Gear – What Could Be Wrong?

After making its debut in 2021, the Voyager is now the face of the Chrysler minivan. However, there have been some questions about the transmission not shifting into gear. What could cause this issue? Below we have listed out the possible culprits.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Low fluid in the transmission
  • Low fluid in the master cylinder
  • Failed brake light switch
  • Bad sequencers
  • Failing transmission
  • Running out of battery
  • Bad shift solenoid

These issues might seem intimidating as you try to understand how to diagnose them yourself. That's why in this article, we will discuss each of these culprits and how to troubleshoot them. In addition, we will take a deeper dive into these transmission issues and how to solve them.

A Chrysler Voyager photographed on the parking lot, Chrysler Voyager Not Changing Gear - What Could Be Wrong?

Chrysler Voyager Not Changing Gear - What Could Be Wrong?

The Chrysler Voyager is a rebranded version of the Dodge Grand Caravan that was discontinued in 2020. Chrysler reintroduced the minivan in 2021 after a six-year hiatus, touting it as "The Ultimate Cargo Van." The Chrysler Voyager was available for purchase at all Chrysler dealerships. However, minivans are only as good as they drive, so read on as we discuss possible reasons why your Voyager isn't shifting gears properly.

Low Fluid In The Transmission

When your car is not shifting gears properly, this could be due to low fluid level in the transmission. To determine whether or not you have low transmission fluid, check the dipstick. If it is below the minimum line, then this could be your issue. To fix this problem, you should top up the fluid to the required level. Check with your owner's manual for the recommended transmission fluid for your Voyager.

It is also important to use the best transmission fluid you can to help increase your vehicle's transmission life. Again, check your owner's manual for the recommended transmission fluid, or contact your local dealer for more information.

Low Fluid In The Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is responsible for shifting gears by transferring hydraulic force from the brake pedal to all other components in your Chrysler Voyager. To diagnose this issue, you will have to inspect the fluid level in your master cylinder while checking for any leaks in the brake lines attached to it. If the fluid is low or there are leaks, then this could be why your gearbox isn't shifting gears. Therefore, you should top off your fluid and replace the brake lines if necessary.

Failed Brake Light Switch

It may seem weird that a brake light switch would cause your Voyager not to be able to switch gears, but it could actually be the issue!

The brake light switch is responsible for changing gears. The brake light switch sends off the signal to shift when the brakes are engaged. If this signal fails, then your car will never shift into gear.

You should inspect this part by disconnecting it from the wire harness and using a multimeter to see any power on the 12V DC mode. If no voltage is present, then you should replace this part with a new one.

Bad Sequencers

For your car to switch gears, the gearbox requires information from the ECU or Engine Control Unit. This information includes vehicle speed and engine RPM, both of which have to be communicated for the gearbox to know how fast the vehicle is accelerating and what gears should be engaged.

If this connection is broken, then the Voyager will never shift into gear. Therefore, you need to check your wire harness for any loose connections or damaged wiring. In addition, you should inspect all solder joints on the ECU and Engine Control Unit connectors and check if the ECU and Engine Control Unit connector pins are corroded.

Failing Transmission

Hopefully, this isn't the reason, but a failing transmission is another reason your Voyager isn't shifting gears. If the gears aren't engaging properly it could be due to a faulty transmission.

To diagnose this issue, you should check for any leaks in the vehicle, noises that don't sound right, and excessive heat from the transmission. If you spot any of these issues, then it might be that your Chrysler Voyager needs a new transmission, and you should replace it with a refurbished one.

In addition to this, you should get a mechanic to inspect your transmission fluid, and test drive the car. A good mechanic will be able to tell if your Voyager needs a new transmission or not.

Running Out of Battery

Batteries provide power to the gearbox, so if your Voyager is not shifting gears, it could be due to a faulty battery. If the voltage is lower than 12V, this can cause problems with the gearbox, and you should replace your battery with a new one. You will have to disconnect and reconnect all terminals on the battery after you have replaced it with a new one.

In addition, you should check that all connections are tight and secure. You can do this by disconnecting and reconnecting them in the correct order, which will ensure that each wire is connected correctly.

Bad Shift Solenoid

If all of the above checks out, your Voyager might have a failing shift solenoid or solenoids. The shift solenoid controls the flow of transmission fluid, which allows gear changes to occur. If this component has failed, you should replace it with a new one, which should solve any issues about not shifting gears!

What are the signs of a bad shift solenoid?

The shift solenoid is responsible for the gear selection in your car. When it malfunctions, you will not be able to shift into gears properly, and you need to replace this part if you have any of these issues with your Voyager:

  • Erratic behavior when shifting gears.
  • Loud noises while changing gears.
  • The transmission fluid leaking (you will feel this while checking the fluid level in your master cylinder).
  • The gearbox overheating.

If you have any of these issues with your Voyager, you should replace your shift solenoid with a new one. You can get it replaced by a mechanic or directly buy the part yourself and fit it into your car.

Where is the shift solenoid located?

The shift solenoid is located on the left side of the gearbox. You will find it near the middle part of your transmission. It is quite big and is wrapped around with a layer of heat insulation. It would be best if you took out some bolts to access it and disconnect all wire connectors attached to it before removing them.

How do you reset your transmission?

To reset an automatic transmission, you will need a transmission scan tool. You can purchase these online or go to a local mechanic.

If this does not solve your problem with shifting gears, then you should take your car to the local Chrysler dealer, and a technician will inspect it in more detail and determine what is causing the issue so that they can fix it for you!

Will disconnecting the battery reset the transmission?

No, disconnecting the battery will not reset your transmission. You may have a faulty transmission or issues with one of the solenoids. You can follow the checklist about not shifting gears, which should help determine what is going on with your car.

Why is my reverse gear not working?

Without enough transmission fluid, the gears of your reverse gear might become overheated and malfunction. If this happens to you while driving forward, it would be difficult for you to move in a backward direction.

The car may not shift into reverse gear because there is a problem with the transmission position sensor. It is responsible for telling the car's computer where it is positioned, and if it malfunctions, you may not be able to select the reverse gear.

The worn-out valve body is also another common reason why the reverse gear is not working. Again, you can check this by inspecting the valve body and looking for any leaks inside or underneath the car.

A faulty shifter mechanism might also be the reason why your reverse gear is not working. 

A fluid leak might also be the reason why your reverse gear is not working, so check all of your hoses for signs of leakage. A worn-out cable can also prevent you from shifting into reverse gear.

As you can see, there are many reasons why your reverse gear may not be working properly, and if it feels like it is over your head, then contact your local dealer to avoid causing further damage.

In Closing

The Chrysler Voyager is a reliable and versatile vehicle that can get you where you need to go. If you are having trouble with the gear shifter, though, we recommend checking for leaks or noise before anything else. If your car still isn't shifting gears properly after trying all of these checks, then it may be due to one of the issues mentioned above, and this is something that your local mechanic can help with!

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