Chevy Silverado Transmission Not Shifting: Causes & Fixes

It is no secret that the Chevy Silverado is almost always linked to transmission issues. Why it is more baffling is that even the latest models of the vehicle have transmission issues. So if you own a Chevy Silverado and are worried about your transmission not shifting, take things easy.

In this post, we will explain the most common reasons why your car’s transmission is not shifting. We will also proffer solutions to the problem. Without further ado, let’s get started.

chevy silverado transmission not shifting

Chevy Silverado Transmission Not Shifting: Possible Causes and How to Fix

Before we get started with the causes, here’s a little background on the transmission of your car. Why do we even call it transmission? It is because it helps your engine to transmit power to the wheels of the car. It doesn’t matter if you have an automatic or manual transmission, if it doesn’t shift, you cannot move. This means that you need immediate help once your Chevy Silverado develops transmission issues.

Here are some of the common reasons why the transmission of your car is not shifting:

Faulty Shift Interlock System (For automatic transmission)

The Shift Interlock System is designed for cars with automatic transmission. This system ensures that your gear does not shift when you are driving. For example, if you are in drive, this system ensures that it doesn’t move to any other gear regardless of the pressure.

There is only one way to move the gear stick to another position. That is if the car engine is on and you have your foot on the brake. You know that you have a problem when you have met these conditions yet the gear stick does not shift.

A good way to begin solving the problem is to work the shift lock release. To find this, check your car owner’s manual. In most cases, it is a little slot so you can easily slide your car key into it. When you do this, it should reset the shift interlock system and allow the gear stick to shift. If this doesn’t work, then you should consider any of the other solutions in this post.

Failing electronics (also for automatic transmission)

If you have checked the shift interlock system and the transmission is still not shifting, your problem is not mechanical. It just means that you might be having an electrical issue. Remember that this is mostly for Chevy Silverados that have automatic transmission.

The automatic transmission is made up of certain electric components. These components are referred to as solenoids. They react to the signals produced by the transmission control module. With this, they direct the fluid pressure of the automatic transmission by closing and opening the associated valves.

The process described above is what makes the automatic transmission shift gears. Sometimes, any of these solenoids may fail or get damaged. If this is the problem, you only need to replace the damaged solenoid. We don’t suggest that you check this by yourself. Seek the help of a professional mechanic for this.

Another electronic component of the automatic transmission is the transmission control module. If this component malfunctions then the transmission can display any of these problems:

  • The gear may not shift at all.
  • The gear shifts but does so roughly.

Whatever the case is, we suggest that you speak to your mechanic or dealer for professional help.

Clutch Master Cylinder Leaks (Manual Transmission)

Some Chevy Silverados still feature a manual transmission and many drivers still prefer to use such cars. It is not just automatic transmissions that have issues with shifting. Sometimes, manual transmissions also get stuck and won’t move no matter what you try.

One of the most common reasons for this in a manual transmission Silverado is a leaking clutch master cylinder. When the clutch master cylinder is leaking, it allows the clutch fluid to leak. This prevents the system from having the right amount of pressure for the gear stick to shift.

You can easily notice this because it is evident in the way the clutch behaves. Most times, the clutch pedal sinks completely to the car floor or becomes very soft. If the clutch is in this condition, then the transmission wouldn’t shift. The only way to solve this problem is to locate the location of the leak and plug it. After doing this, you can add some more clutch oil. In some cases, you need to change the cylinder altogether.

Worn Clutch (Manual Transmission)

This is another very common reason why your Chevy Silverado manual transmission won’t shift. In cars, with a manual transmission, you need to step on the clutch before the gear can shift. If the clutch is worn, then the gear stick won’t shift or you would have very rough shifts.

Even when you can get the car into gear, the transmission can slip. When this happens, then the car gear will remain in neutral regardless of the gear you choose. How does a worn clutch affect the transmission shift in your car?

A worn clutch means very little or no friction. In this case, the engine is not capable of transmitting power to the wheels of your car. As such, the car cannot move and you get stranded. The easiest way to solve the problem is to replace the clutch. Your best bet is to visit a Chevy service center or reach out to your mechanic.

Dirty or low transmission fluid (automatic or manual transmission)

One thing that is common to both types of transmission is that they make use of transmission fluid. Without this fluid, the transmission can’t shift. The transmission fluid smoothens the meshing gears as well as linkages in a manual transmission. It also transfers the engine power to the wheels in an automatic transmission.

Sometimes, the fluid gets dirty. In this case, it loses viscosity making the transmission malfunction. This is why you have to replace the transmission fluid occasionally. If you notice that the fluid is low, make sure that you replace it.


We have shown you why your Chevy Silverado transmission is not shifting. You might want to consult an auto expert if the problem is beyond what you can fix on your own.

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