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Fixing Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems

If you use a Jeep Wrangler, then you might get into trouble with the automatic transmission shifting. Although Jeep Wranglers are made to move smoothly, even on rough roads, these problems can occur. If you have faced these situations, then you already know the hassle. 

Moreover, if you haven’t experienced it yet, then it’s important to know their solutions to overcome the hassles. Delay shifting, torque converter, failed gear engagement, leaking seals, unusual loud noise and shaking, etc., are common wrangler automatic transmission shifting problems.

However, your automatic transmission problem will be easy to handle if you know the problems and solutions. Let’s dive into the Jeep Wrangler automatic transmission shifting problem details, causes, and solutions.

What Are The Common Problems With Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Shifting? 

Jeep Wranglers can have several issues related to automatic transmission shifting. Some are difficult to resolve, and some are easier. Whether it is a major or a minor issue, identifying the problem is very important to resolve the problem. A few of the problems are as follows. 

  1. Delay Shifting problem
  2. Torque Converter Problem
  3. Failed Gear Engagement Problem
  4. Leaking Seals Problem

4 Solutions For Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems:

The causes of different Jeep Wrangler transmission shifting problems are different. Hence, their solution, symptoms, and cost of solution are different. 

In this section, we are going to discuss these points. So it becomes easier for you to identify and resolve the issues.

1. Delayed Shifting Problem: Reconnect wire, fill up fluids, clean filter, repair or replace solenoid 

Suppose you are driving and trying to change the gear from one to three or three to four. But, your gears are not changing spontaneously. Then you have a delayed shifting issue with your automatic transmission. This problem often happens in 42RE and 42RE 4 transmissions.

The probable causes of this problem are low transmission lubricant, dusty transmission filter, sensor failure, and disconnected wiring. 

In addition, a stuck solenoid can also obstruct the transmission of lubricant and cause this problem by decreasing the lubricant pressure.

If the wires get disconnected, then you need to connect them. If the transmission lubricant is low, then fill it with lubricants.Suppose the transmission filter is dirty, then clean it with proper fluid. 

However, if the filter cannot be cleaned, then change it. If there is a stuck solenoid, then clean it or change it. 

The cost of wire fixing and lubricant fill-up will vary based on the material you are using and by whom you are fixing it. 

However, the cost of a transmission filter is $1399. This filter is compatible with Wrangler TJ YJ and Cherokee XJ 32RH Transmission. Furthermore, the cost of the solenoid is between $186 – $207

2. Torque Converter Problems: Change sensor

This problem occurs mostly in 42RE and 42RE 4 transmissions of 2000 and later Wrangler models. If you see the “Check Engine” lights on, you have a torque or overdrive problem.

The reason for this problem is a faulty sensor. When the sensor doesn’t work, the torque converter clutch does not get attached correctly.The solution to this problem is to change the faulty sensor.

The transmission speed sensor cost varies between $16-$64.

3. Failed Gear Engagement Problem: Appropriate Fluid, change Filter

If you place the gear to “Drive” or “Reverse,” and it doesn’t get engaged, there is a failed gear engagement problem. This problem mostly occurs in 545RFE 5-speed transmission.

Failed Gear Engagement Problem can happen due to dusty, low, or wrong transmission fluid. In addition, if the outside temperature is cold, even then, this problem can occur. Furthermore, this problem can also happen due to the transmission cooler filter failure. 

You have to provide the correct fluid in the proper quantity. If the outside is cold, then after starting, wait for a while to make the engine hot. Furthermore, if the cooler filter is damaged, change the filter.

The cost of a cooler filter varies between $80- $160.

4. Leaking Seals Problem: Fixing Seals, Transmission pan repair or replace, Torque Connector repair or replace 

There is a leaking seal problem if you see leaking lubricants from your Jeep Wrangler. In addition, if your Jeep has lethargic gear shifting or inappropriate engine transmission light, there might be the same issue with your Wrangler. 

One of the common causes of transmission fluid leaking is cracking of the transmission pan. It remains at the bottom of the engine. So when you drive on sharp roads, it might dent the pan, and fluids may leak.  

Furthermore, leakage can also happen for faulty torque connectors. The connectors might get damaged, cracked, or corroded, leading to fluid leaks.

However, the transmission seal may fail to protect the transmission liquid. Due to pressure and continuous friction with corrosive materials, this may happen.

The solution to leaking seals is very common. You have to fix the seals. If it can be repaired, then repair it. If not possible, then replace it with a new one. 

If the transmission pan is damaged, then repair it. If it is not possible to repair, then replace it. If the torque connector is damaged, then repair it or replace it.

The cost of the transmission seal is $132 – $158. Jeep Wrangler transmission pan costs between $73-$100. The Jeep Wrangler torque connector costs $1200-$1400.

How To Test Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Shifting? 

After you have faced any problem, you will automatically know about the issue, but you can take some measures to check the real condition beforehand. You can call it a testing phase before starting your trip. 

However, even if you check, it doesn’t guarantee that problem will not occur. But you know, prevention is always better than cure!

  1. Check the lubricant level beforehand.
  2. Check if there is any transmission leakage or not.
  3. Look into the “Check Engine” lights. Whether it is on or off.
  4. Check the engine heat indicator. If it is above the mid-level, stop the engine and wait until it cools down. 
  5. Check whether there is any unusual engine noise or not. 
  6. Check if any burning smell is coming out or not. It indicates old and used transmission fluid.
  7. Check the gear shifting speed. 


Although major problems and solutions related to automatic transmission shifting are discussed above, a few more questions related to this are frequently asked by users. However, a few of such questions are answered below in short. 

How do I reset my Jeep Wrangler transmission?

Firstly, keep the gas pedal pressed until the ignition is on without starting the engine. Keep the pedal pressed for 30 seconds keeping the ignition on. Then turn the ignition off. Then release the gas pedal.

What causes erratic shifting automatic transmission?

A damaged, faulty sensor or solenoid can cause erratic shifting problems.

How do I know if my transmission is going bad in my Jeep?

If you find fluid leakage, delayed gear shifting, rough gear shifting, and unusual noises, you can suspect transmission gear shifting. 

How do you fix an automatic transmission not shifting?

Fixing the leaking seals, providing the proper liquids with standard amounts, and changing the damaged parts like torque connectors, transmission pan, etc. can be some of the processes of fixing automatic transmission fluid. 


Jeep Wranglers are designed to move on any road. If you have one, then it’s amazing. However, your passion for using the Jeep Wrangler can become a nightmare if you face automatic transmission problems.

No matter the solution’s difficulty, don’t get nervous or tense about any problem. Most of the problem symptoms, causes, and solutions are described in this article. Moreover, if you face a different problem, go to a servicing expert and resolve the issue. 

Finally, remember that electromechanical things like the Jeep Wrangler can have issues and problems. Just resolve the issues with patience and start your journey.  

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