While the transmission is on the outside of the car, as the driver, you have control over some of its functions with the gear shifter inside of the vehicle. The gear shifter allows you to shift your automatic transmission into varying gears manually but also allows you to put the transmission in park and reverse as needed. When this shifter gets stuck, it can really put you in a bind. If you have tried to put your car in reverse, park, or neutral and it simply will not budge from its current position, there are a few likely causes of the problem at hand.
The gear shift's shifter cable has broken.
The gear shift inside of your vehicle is usually connected to the transmission by a shifter cable. The shifter cable stretches and moves to allow the different gears to be accessed with the shifter, so when you move the shifter, the cable moves and triggers a change of gears. If your shifter suddenly stops functioning and is stuck, there is a possibility that this cable is broken or damaged. Because this cable is directly connected to the car's transmission, this is not usually a DIY auto repair job even if you have a little mechanical experience.
The transmission is locked up because it is low in transmission fluid.
Transmission fluid is a vital ingredient in the overall functionality of the transmission. This fluid keeps the internal operating components moving smoothly and also keeps them cool. Therefore, if the transmission fluid levels get too low, it can cause the transmission to lock up because the gears cannot turn. This can sometimes result in a shifter that will not budge inside of your vehicle. Unfortunately, if your transmission is too low on fluid, it can mean there has been costly damage to the transmission.
The shifter release button is dysfunctional.
Most automatic transmission vehicles have a shifter that is outfitted with a button along the side that you have to hold or press to get the shifter to move. This is a safety feature so the car's transmission does not accidentally get knocked out of gear when it shouldn't be, so this release button is valuable. However, the release button on the shifter can also fail, which means pressing it will yield no release and you will be stuck in a certain gear. Thankfully, replacing the shifter release button is not a major fix and usually only involves disassembly of the shifter and a replacement button.
Contact an auto shop, like Hillis 66 Service, for more help.