Why Does Your Jeep Wrangler Won’t Move in Gear? [Full Diagnosis]

The easy and smooth gear shifting privileges has been one of the most prominent features of the Jeep Wrangler. However, the owners have also faced trouble with it when they shifted the gears but the jeep won’t move a bit. This problem is very time-consuming and difficult to fix.

The Jeep Wrangler does not move in gear because of linkage problems in the transfer case, shifting delay, or gear engagement failure. There can be major clutch system issues because of damaged components. Moreover, the lack of transmission fluid is also the main reason for this phenomenon. 

We will now delve into a deeper explanation about why the Jeep wrangler won’t move even when you put it on a gear. We have also added the fixes and solutions to each of these causes for your convenience. 

Reasons Why The Jeep Wrangler Won’t Move In Gear?

The jeep wrangler operates in both automatic and manual transmissions. There can be a myriad of reasons for which both types of these transmissions are incomplete. We have gathered here some of the most probable reasons that lead the Jeep wrangler to not move while being in gear. 

Linkage Problem

If the transmission case of the Jeep wrangler features a faulty linkage, it won’t send the necessary signals anymore. The linkage between the transmission case becomes loose. 

It lacks the proper response and signals from the transmission to the linkage. As a result, the functions of the gear become very ineffective.

In order to fix the loose linkage junction, you will need to get a simple tool. Purchase a linkage adjuster from any repair shop. It will cost you about $1-$3. 

Delay Of Shifting

In case of 42RE and 42RE four-speed transmissions, this shifting delay can be a huge reason for the jeep wrangler not moving. While shifting from first to third gear, the transmission is pretty slow between the two gears. 

The signal gets lost in the transmission and does not work to move the Jeep wrangler. The same thing happens when you try to shift from third gear to fourth gear.

Overdrive solenoids are the primary cause of this issue. A stuck or worn solenoid and wiring issues can be behind the shifting delay. 

So, mechanically fix these components to solve this issue. You might need to replace the solenoid with a new, well functioning one.

Lack Of Transmission Fluid

For any automatic transmission gear, lack of the transmission fluid results in your gear shifting but the jeep wrangler does not move. 

If there is a crack inside the pipes, the transmission fluid leaks and the level drops low. Otherwise, the fluid might have run out without you noticing which causes this lack of transmission fluid.

In order to fix this problem, drain the rest of the fluid out from the inside first. Fill the inside with new transmission fluid to the end. The transmission fluid has to be compatible with the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Gear Engagement Failure

At times, the gears of the Jeep wrangler fails to engage properly. While driving or reversing the jeep wrangler, this gear engagement failure happens. 

The main reason behind this is too cold weather or atmosphere. Additionally, if you put in the wrong transmission fluid in your vehicle, keep it in a cold place for long, this failure will occur.

To get rid of this problem, always place the jeep wrangler in a warm place. Use a heater in the garage when it is too cold outside. Make sure to choose the right transmission fluid for your Jeep wrangler according to the manufacturer’s guide.

Master Cylinder Leak

A vital leak in the master cylinder can be one of the main reasons for which the jeep wrangler does not move despite turning the gear. The leak in this cylinder drains the fluid which creates a drop in the fluid pressure. 

Decreased fluid pressure fails to produce the necessary flow of energy. Hence, the Jeep wrangler doesn’t move, only engages the gear.

Usually, getting and installing a new master cylinder will solve your issue. A new master cylinder itself will cost around $180. The labor cost for replacement can vary anywhere between $70-$170 depending on your location. 

Clutch System Problems

The clutch system of a Jeep wrangler consists of six different components that function together by helping one another. If any of the six components amongst these gets damaged or faulty, the clutch system will fail miserably. 

Apart from damaged components, the hydraulic clutch system can also get jammed. As a result, the clutch does not engage while turning the gear and the Jeep wrangler does not move. 


In this section, We will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the gear of Jeep wranglers. You will figure out more about the reasons for which the Jeep wrangler does not move in any gear.

Why won’t my Jeep Wrangler shift into any gear?

There might be a few possible reasons for which your Jeep wrangler does not shift into any gear. For instance, transmission problems, dirty transmission fluid, sensor failure, master cylinder leak- these are the reasons for the gear not shifting.

How Do I Know If My Clutch Is Damaged On My Jeep Wrangler?

The clutch system might be damaged on your jeep wrangler and you can test to know if it did easily. Put the jeep wrangler into a gear and then let out the clutch. If the jeep wrangler does not move or reacts at all, then you will know that the clutch is bad.

How do I know if My transmission went out?

When your transmission goes out, the gears will grind loudly indicating the problem to you. Jerking or shaking of the vehicle is also another sign that the transmission is not working. There will be loud and evident breaks and hesitations during the gear shifting. 

What Are The Costs Of Fixing A Gear Shift Failure In Jeep Wrangler?

The cost of fixing a gear shift failure in a Jeep wrangler depends on the specific component you need to replace. The transfer case will cost $2200 more or less. A new solenoid will cost you around $500-$700. A master cylinder will need about $180. The labor cost can be anywhere between $200-$600.


Shifting your gears but not getting the Jeep wrangler to move can be pretty frustrating, especially when you are out on a long drive. Gear issues are more noticeable on the vehicle as it completely shuts down the entire car. 

We have discussed all the reasons for this entire issue along with their easiest fixes.  Follow through this detailed guide to pinpoint the exact cause of the issue. 

For the more difficult fixes, we advise getting in touch with a professional or repair shop. For instance, the replacement of clutch system components, cylinders, and solenoids should be done by a professional in the proper way.

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