4L60E Transmission Won't Move in Any Gear

4L60E transmissions are transmissions with four gears that can support vehicles weighing about 6000 lb. This kind of transmission is quite common in Chevrolet car models and rear-wheel vehicles because of their sizes.

It is nothing strange when the 4L60E doesn’t move in any gear and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. A number of things could be the cause, take a deep breath and check your pump, check the transmission fluid level and it could also be from the torque converter.

If the problem is any of these, then you will have to change the pump, refill or reduce fluid in the transmission, and in the event, that the problem is from the torque converter not being sealed correctly, remove and reseal it.

Causes of 4L60E Transmission Not Moving in Gear

The reasons why your 4L60E transmission won’t move in any gear are:

1. The Transmission Fluid is Dried Out

The transmission needs lubricant(fluid) to function at full capacity and when there’s no fluid it won’t work. The lack of fluid in the transmission could be due to a leakage, if the leakage isn’t noticed in time, the fluid eventually dries out

The leakage can be from within the transmission itself, in which case the source of the leak should be addressed before refilling.

It could also be caused by a worn-out head gasket, the gasket holds the engine head and cylinder head together thereby keeping the fluid in and flowing. If the problem is from the gasket then it should be changed.

The Solution to Dried Transmission Fluid

To be able to fix this, you have to first verify if the transmission is leaking. You can check under where your car is parked for any trace of leakage. If indeed the transmission is leaking, you need to fix it before refilling or changing the transmission fluid again.

2. Excess Fluid in the Transmission

The fluid in the transmission should always be somewhere in the middle, it shouldn’t be low or too much in it. When any of this happens there will be difficulty in moving gears.

When it has been established that the cause of the problem is excess fluid, the fluid should be reduced to a quantity that is just enough for transmission.

The solution to Excess Fluid in the Transmission

Very simple to fix. Just open up the transmission and manually remove the required amount that should be removed to get your transmission back to normal again.

3. Faulty Shift Linkage

Check the shift linkage to ensure it’s properly connected and functioning. If it’s damaged or misadjusted, it can prevent the transmission from engaging the correct gear.

Solution to Faulty Shift Linkage

If you notice that the issue with your 4L60E transmission not moving in any gear is due to faulty shift linkage, you can have it fixed or replaced.

4. Incorrect Seating of Torque Converter

Having a torque converter that is not seated the right way it’s supposed to can be the reason why your 4l60e transmission won’t move in any gear.

If this is the case, then you have nothing to worry about. The cause of the problem could be the person who installed it in the first place.

However, if your car was purchased brand new and the torque converter is not seated corrected, it could be a factory issue or it slipped over time while you were using the car.

The Solution to Incorrect Seating of Torque Converter

To correct a torque converter that is not seated correctly, ensure to pull the torque converter forward until the firewall is seated correctly, or better still take it to an experienced technician to fix it for you.

5. Problem with the Solenoids

The 4L60E transmission uses solenoids to control various functions. If a solenoid is malfunctioning, it can affect the transmission’s ability to engage gears. The best way to know if your problem is a solenoid issue is to have the car’s computer scanned with an OBS-II scanner.

I once had a transmission leakage in my Lexus IS350. It happened that a tiny circular seal outside the transmission had broken probably because of old age.

When I went to have it fixed, they had to bring down the transmission to be able to access the seal. After the replacement, my transmission started to delay before entering gear when in the park.

We scanned the car and it made mention of the solenoid. My technician had it replaced and the problem stopped.

The Solution to Selenoid Issues

If you suspect that solenoid issues are causing your 4L60E transmission not to move in any gear, you should be aware that the 4L60E transmission uses multiple solenoids to control various functions, including gear engagement and shifting. Scan the computer to see which selenoid is causing the problem. Have it replaced and the problem solved.

6. Internal Transmission Problems

If you have other internal transmission problems, it can prevent your 4L60E transmission from moving in any gear. The damages can go to the extent of damaging transmission if care is not taken.

If this is the problem, you need to have a qualified transmission specialist to look into it and have it fixed. If any part replacement is needed, make the replacement.

7. Bad Pump

A bad pump could also be the reason why the 4L60E transmission won’t move in any gear. When a pump is bad it hinders the free flow of fluid from the transmission and could cause the fluid to burn. If this is the problem, the pump has to be replaced.

The Solution to Bad Pump

The best way to check if your transmission pump is still OK or not is by checking the level of your transmission when the car is off and checking it again when the car is on and the engine is running.

The level at which it is when the car is off should not be the same as when the engine is on. If both levels are the same, it’s a clear indication that your transmission pump is bad and you should have it replaced as soon as possible.

One thing I’ve learned over the years I’ve used a car is that once a car develops a fault, especially transmission problems or any kind of problems, it is better to have it fixed immediately or as soon as possible to avoid damaging more stuff in the car.

What to Do if 4L60E Transmission Won’t Move in any Gear?

A transmission that won’t change gear can be frustrating because it could happen at any time and in the least of places. When this happens do not freak, it could be nothing too serious.

Since we are talking about the 4L60E which is an automatic transmission, the first thing you should consider doing is pressing the down on the brake, as it could be that the safety lock is in place on the shift lever. Pressing down on the brake helps to release the safety lock.

You should also check your transmission fluid to be sure it’s not too low or dried out. While checking the fluid be sure to note the color of the fluid, a color different from the original(red) color could cause the transmission not to change gear.

The problem could be the particular gear you are trying to change to, so try putting it in other gears to ascertain if the problem is with a particular gear or all.

After you have tried all you can to troubleshoot the problem, your last option may be to call in the expert or have it towed there.

How to Fix 4L60E Transmission Not Moving in any Gear

To fix the 4L60E transmission not moving in any gear, you can follow the procedure below:

  • Scan for Trouble Codes: The first step in fixing a 4L60E transmission not moving in any gear is to use a diagnostic scan tool to retrieve trouble codes from the car’s computer. These codes can provide clues about the specific issues in the transmission system. With the information, you can proceed with the fix.
  • Check Transmission Fluid Level: Start by checking the transmission fluid level and condition. Low or contaminated fluid can lead to transmission problems. If the fluid level is low, top it up with the correct type of transmission fluid, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Inspect for Leaks: Look for signs of transmission fluid leaks underneath the vehicle. Leaks can lead to low fluid levels and should be repaired.
  • Check the Shift Linkage: Inspect the shift linkage to ensure it’s not damaged or misaligned. Verify that the shifter inside the vehicle is correctly connected to the transmission. If there are any issues with the linkage, address them as needed.
  • Test the Torque Converter: If you suspect issues with the torque converter, have it tested by a professional mechanic. Problems with the torque converter can prevent power from being transmitted from the engine to the transmission.
  • Inspect Solenoids: Examine the transmission solenoids and their wiring for damage or connectivity issues. Check for solenoid-related trouble codes. Test the solenoids for proper function and replace any faulty ones.

Knowing how to fix a transmission not moving in any gear will depend on the problem, different fixes for different problems could be something minor or major.

Fixing a 4L60E Transmission can be from changing a bad pump in the case where the pump is the problem, reducing transmission fluid when it’s too much, and topping up the fluid when low or dried out.

Some more serious fixing could mean changing the entire transmission when replacing parts isn’t yielding any result or the damage to the transmission is beyond control.

How Do I Know If My 4L60E Pump Is Bad?

One of the ways to know if your 4L60E pump is bad is when you have difficulty changing gears. A bad pump will make it hard for the transmission gear to get enough lubricant. It can also result in inconsistent or rough shifts, where the transmission shifts too forcefully or at the wrong time.

You can also detect when you start perceiving a burning odor. The system overheats when the pump is bad, which in turn burns the fluid in the transmission. A burnt fluid gives a bad odor and also changes color.

Noise from the gear. Fluid is needed to change gears but the transmission gear won’t get enough fluid when the pump is bad which results in a noisy transmission.

Note that all pump-related problems should be addressed in time, as they can lead to more problems in the transmission system.

How Do You Test a Shift Solenoid on a 4L60E?

A shift solenoid helps to control the flow of fluid into the transmission and should be tested when your vehicle is having problems shifting or reversing.

The Shift Solenoid can be tested on a 4L60E by using a pair of test leads and a 9v battery. This is done by connecting the test leads to the electrical prongs on the solenoid and then connecting them to the battery.  A clicking sound will be heard if the solenoid works.

You can also test the solenoid by using a multimeter. The multimeter helps to check the ohms of resistance.

What are Common Problems with 4L60E Transmission?

There are certain problems that can be related to 4L60E transmission. Some of these problems are;

  • Bad Pump
  • Leaking Fluid
  • No Reverse
  • No Shift
  • Low transmission fluids
  • Slipping Transmission
  • Worn out gear
  • Weak gasket
  • The transmission doesn’t work automatically but manually


When having a transmission problem or problem changing gears, it is best not to reach any conclusion in haste, and start troubleshooting from the most likely problem. If you can’t fix any of the problems then you have to contact a car or transmission expert.

A transmission can last for a long period and some of its problems are prevented with proper maintenance. Part of proper maintenance should be changing the transmission fluid as often as possible while changing it to ensure that only the recommended fluid is used in the transmission.