The Risks of a Faulty Transmission Range Switch

If you hear a clicking sound instead of the familiar roar of your engine when turning the ignition key, your car’s transmission range switch or sensor may have failed

Have you ever tried to start your car while it’s running or is in gear?

It may make a terrible sound, but it’s impossible to do thanks to a safeguard built into your vehicle called a transmission range switch or transmission range sensor (TRS).

Sometimes called a neutral safety switch, the TRS is an electrical switch that tells your vehicle’s powertrain control module what gear your transmission is in when you turn the ignition key to the “on” position. Its function is to prevent you from attempting to start your engine while it’s running unless the transmission is in the ‘neutral’ or ‘park’ position, or if your car has a manual transmission if you depress the clutch pedal.

Like any mechanical component, the TRS can become faulty through wear and tear over time, and that can lead to significant problems with your transmission.

Testing the TRS is an oft-overlooked troubleshooting step that many mechanics neglect when attempting to diagnose transmission problems. If your TRS is failing or has failed, when you turn the ignition key, you’ll likely hear a clicking sound instead of the familiar roar of your engine as it turns over.

Faulty Transmission Range Switch Warning Signs
If your car’s TRS is on the fritz, either you won’t be able to start your car or the “service engine soon” light on your dashboard will remain lit. Other warning signs of a faulty transmission range switch include your car starting in the wrong gear, the transmission struggling to change gears or gears slippage.

If you can start your engine, drive it to a Mister Transmission location near you and have it inspected by one of our experienced technicians, otherwise you run the risk of not being able to restart your vehicle later and may have to call a tow truck.

Do you have questions about your car’s transmission range switch? Talk to an expert Mister Transmission technician. Find your nearest location.

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