??? why my stratus won't shift out of 1st gear

Asked by Jul 26, 2007 at 03:59 PM about the 1999 Dodge Stratus 4 Dr STD Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

24 Answers


Are you getting any Check Engine codes? The transmission control module could be defective, or storing codes that would help diagnose this. You may also have a transmission solenoid problem, a low fluid condition, or a bad transmission. Take this vehicle to a dealer and have them diagnose it.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

I had a similar issue with my 99. Wouldn't shift out of first, speedometer wouldn't work, etc. Turned out to be the interface module between the engine and tranny.

20 of 20 people found this helpful.

We have had this happen to two Stratuses (both maroon oddly enough). In both cases, it turned out to the output sensor on the trsansmission. The first time it cost me $125 to find that out and have it changed at Kennedy Transmission. The second time, I did it myself. The part costs $18 at NAPA and it is super easy to access and change. Just jack up the driver's side and look up at the tranny. The sensor is straight up on the side.

18 of 18 people found this helpful.

The tranny could be shot or something wrong with the electronics in it.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Try replacing your shift solenoid first. You can buy the part online for anywhere from $130.00-$179.00. If that doesn't do it it may be either you tranny control unit or either of the sensors. If your tachometer is working it wont be your sensors. If solenoid doesn't fix it then the next step then try the TCM (transmission control unit). That I would recommend you take to a dealer to do because after installing it, it will have to be programmed by the dealer anyway. Will cost you less than $500 for that.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

SOLUTION SOLUTION! READ READ READ! I had this problem with my 2001 Stratus 2.4 v4 SE 4dr TWICE. The second time I forgot how I fixed it the first time. ITS THE 10A IGNITION FUSE UNDER THE HOOD IN THE FUSE BOX. Dont ask how or why but yes the fuse had blown and replacing it fixed ALL the problems with the gauges not working and not shifting out of first gear. PLEASE spread this around. It is NOT the trans input/output sensors NOT the TCM NOT any solenoids. You will waste money! Its a damn $2 fuse!

38 of 38 people found this helpful.

I had the same problem. The speedometer did not work, The shifter did not register and the car would not get out of first or second gear. I had a spare stratus. I replaced the two sensors. This did not work. I then changed the TCM (transmission control unit). This made the speedometer work and the car would shift but the check engine light was still on. The code was P1698. This states the sensors are not communicating. I then replaced the small bit of wiring harness that connects the two sensors, Now the car works fine. So what you could do is go to a junk yard and find the TCU and the small bit if harness and replace those.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

I am having this issue now actually. I have NOT found the solution yet, however in response to the above reply about it being a fuse, the book says it is fuse #8 which is in fact a 10 amp fuse which is linked to the speedometer. Again i have yet to find a solution or talk to a mechanic, but i DID have an oil leak this week near the rear master seal which was leaking on the flywheel. It is very possible i may have knocked the sensor on the side of the tranny loose while searching for that leak. This will be my 1st route to explore after crawling my lawnmoweresque sounding beast to the nearest auto zone to have my check engine codes read.


i got a problem with my stratus sxt automatic tranny will not shift out of lower gear 1-2 and when i shift the car from park to drive it feels like someone hit me in the rear of the car.sometimes while driving it just loses gear and when u get it back into a gear its stuck no shifting of higher gears What can i do to fix this problem????

58 of 58 people found this helpful.

You have to love when people call themselves mechanics because nothing on cars is mechanical and most people when they see the name Dodge or Chrysler shudder because they think the transmissions will just go bad, but nobody can explain why because they are actually built quite well, the only way to kill a Chrysler trans is neutral drive drops, running it out of fluid from the lines that develop leaks, and adding the wrong fluid to the trans when it is low, most fools buy the cheapest regular ATF you need ATF+4 it actually says +4 after the ATF on the bottle if it does not you put in the wrong stuff and screwed up bigtime, the +4 costs a minimum of 4.27 a bottle for generic brand at walmart and the +4 is for the extra additives and friction modifiers that are put in the fluid to make the Chrysler transmission engage and shift without slipping and chattering which can and will burn the clutches in the transmission if let go for long, when a Chrysler trans wont shift out of first it is a faulty speed sensor, I recomend replacing them both they are inexpensive and since they are magnetic they actract the metal shavings in the trans to it causing it to not read, metal shavings are normal with age as long as they are not huge shards, when you get the huge bump and the limp in mode as they call it where it revs high going to 40MPH it may well be a solenoid pack still not an expensive fix, make sure you get the gasket aligned right or leaks will occur, some have it above the filter in the trans not so easy to get to, also Chrysler trannys are not made for trans pan gaskets thats why they have black silicone on them, so when changing the filter throw away the gasket in the kit and use black atf clean the pan real good and use a pick the get the old silicone from the bolt holes silicone does not compress and will keep you from tightening the bolts for the trans pan all the way and cause leaks so it is important to take your time and do it right, also the best way to determine if a Chrysler automatic is bad is the have the CVIs better known as Clutch Volume Indexes checked the higher they are the more fluid it is using to engage the clutches meaning the clutches are worn Chrysler uses solenoids to control the amount of fluid and pressure needed to engage the clutches instead of bands and clutches on older Chevys and Fords so this system Chrysler uses is much better because bands need adjustment with age and wear and some bands are non adjustable and can slip you will never deal with this with a Chrysler also you can change the fluid no matter the mileage with no worry of the trans slipping or failing that has sometimes been seen with older style band and clutch type transmissions. You may find yourself adding more than 5 qts of tranny fluid after changing the fluid and filter so buy 7 at least just in case and remember check when it is at normal operating temp and while running.

25 of 25 people found this helpful.

on my 1999 dodge avenger it had relay for trans. to shift it stayed in low gear whole time. when I bought $10 relay on firewall on passenger side it shifted fine. I wonder if all dodges have relay to protect TCU or speed sensors.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

I'm in the middle of this stratus crisis and am running out now to switch some relays around. 240 k and still hopeful. Wish me help from the universal deity who holds my shit together.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I bought a 1999 dodge status that I found out would not get out of 1st gear. I drove it home at 35 mph. Luckly I had a crashed one at home. I replaced the two speed sensors on the transmission and I switched the computer for the transmission. I think the main thing was the two sensors on the transmission. It has worked fine for the last couple of years. Good luck

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

mine starts out fine, but at about 10 miles an hour it jumps to 3rd gear like I was hit from behind and stays there until I shut the car off and then it does it all over. The neutral light blinks the whole time after it jumps into 3rd. I just bought this and there is 7 check engine lights but the scanner only lets me see one, I've use this scanner for years and works well on other vehicles so I don't think its the scanner. Also the weirdest thing, It was missing a lot of fuses, like headlights, break lights, 2 fan big fuses and the fan relay (which the relay I can't find yet autozone gave the wrong one, it needs one shaped like a christian cross) anyways I can't find anything on the web yet about whats wrong with the vehicle. if u know please say. I'll keep this blog posted with results for future references

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

My check engine light came on and my 2003 stratus won't shift out of low gear. All of the Gage's work. Took it to a transmission shop and they looked at the fuse and messed with the wires to the transmission and the check engine light went out and it ran fine for 2 months and now I have the same problem. Any ideas?

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

I have an 06 dodge stratus and I was driving out of town when my cars transmission jumped all the way down to 1st gear traveling at 60mph needless to say this scared the crap out of my wife and myself. I actually drove it home 15miles in 1st gear. Just like you I'm surprised my granny didnt give out. So I immediately assumed it was my transmission so I started looking online for possible issues and found this awsum site. I checked all my fuses they checked out fine, next I decided next cheapest thing I could do is change out the transmission speed sensors, i found a you tube video that shows you a step by step process to the T, I spent only $40 swapping out the input and output sensors, topped off the trans fluid and cars running like a champ again. So just wanted to thank every one here for sharing and saving me hundreds of dollars of possibly getting ripped off at a transmission shop. If someone like myself can do this anyone can do this changing sensors only took me 10 min. Thanks again

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

So I was driving my 3.0 v6 couple and when I stopped at a red light I tryed to go and it started jerking back and forth not wanting to drive it reves up in nuteral and park fine but bearly anything in revers a little more in drive tho


My sisters 04 stratus has been not wanting to go into reverse or first gear very easily for about the last week or so, and she said when it did finally go into gear it jerks really bad like described in other comments above. Her husband changed the transmission fluid in it today and now the car won't do anything. It will show that it's in reverse or drive and the engine sounds like it wants to go into gear...but then she said it does nothing. I was just trying to see if we could come up with any kind of solution for the problem.So if anyone has had this happen or know anything about it..please give me some pointers here! Thanks!

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

I have a quick question ? I have I 2006. Dodge stratus when I bought the act the man that I bought it form told me that the car din't shift when it was soppuse to and now the car turns and but it turn off as soon as I turn it on can somebody plz tell me what you'll think it is

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I have a 05 Stratus with the V6 2.7 motor. Check engine light came on and would not shift out of low gear. Read all these articles and replaced the out put sensor on transmission but still no change. Brought it to my mechanic and he had to trouble shot the wiring, fuses and relays. The car check engine codes was bad TCM (transmission control module). TCM checked out to be fine. While car was running in his shop he noticed car was getting warm and cooling fan was not coming on. Come to find out after $400 worth of labor only problem was a .50 cent bad ground clip. A little irritated that is was such a simple fix but also thankful hearing how some replace all sorts of things and still have issues. The relay was not getting a good ground there for could not close the circuit to allow the control modual to shift there for the car was saying bad TCM.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Thats what my car is doing now had it d code po888 same thing so what u think i should do replace all the fuses first then go from they it said it was tcm power realy..plez help dont no what to do

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

First check the fuse I mentioned earlier in the thread

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

My 02 stratus is not shifting out of first gear this my only car and I have to have it I will be chancing transmission filter then fusess I pray this works I'm so happy I found this sight be happier if something works


My transmission wouldn't shift good anymore into drive or reverse. I replaced both sensors and the solenoid, NO CHANGE. I've deleted my previous post because the fuse did not solve the problem. Some of these answers could be right, NOT FOR ME. I finally took my 2004 dodge grand caravan to a mechanic I know well and trust. He told me when the transmission doesnt not shift put of park a d into gears good anymore its The Clutch burning out and the transmission us dying. I found a Grade A transmission in my local auto wrecking yard for $300 with 100,000 miles on it and paid $500 in labor to install it overnight. I used car-part.com to find my unit. I expect that transmission to run my van for about 2-3 years while i look for a new vehicle in the meantime. Throwing parts at your car sometimes works, other's like now it did not. Im returning my solenoid for my $100 back and the sensors also. So not a bad price for a good used transmission.

Your Answer


Looking for a Used Stratus in your area?

CarGurus has 710 nationwide Stratus listings starting at $2,995.


Dodge Stratus Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
  • #2
    Chris Daigle
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Dodge Avenger
147 Great Deals out of 4,477 listings starting at $1,500
Used Chrysler Sebring
32 Great Deals out of 2,693 listings starting at $1,000
Used Chevrolet Impala
516 Great Deals out of 33,770 listings starting at $950
Used Honda Accord
1,098 Great Deals out of 61,486 listings starting at $999
Used Ford Mustang
712 Great Deals out of 38,301 listings starting at $895
Used Dodge Intrepid
260 listings starting at $1,950
Used Ford Taurus
259 Great Deals out of 16,473 listings starting at $1,850
Used Dodge Neon
608 listings starting at $2,995
Used Hyundai Sonata
719 Great Deals out of 49,892 listings starting at $790
Used Ford Focus
731 Great Deals out of 52,815 listings starting at $999

Used Cars For Sale

2005 Dodge Stratus For Sale
139 listings starting at $2,995

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.