Mercedes Benz has a reputation as a quality, well-made luxury vehicle. Its sturdy build and dynamic handling make it a fun car to drive. However, years of rough handling or hard shifting can lead to transmission issues, often times showing up as problems with the gear selector.

The gear selector is the most visible component of your car’s transmission. It is the only way you, the driver, can move your car out of park into drive or reverse. Problems with the gear selector could make it impossible to even drive your vehicle, and since gear selector failure is one of the more highly reported issues for Mercedes Benz owners, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of this problem.

Transmission repairs in any vehicle are notoriously expensive. Gear selector issues can share some symptoms caused by other problems or failures in your vehicle. In this article we will discuss a few of the early tell-tale signs of gear selector failure and what action you can take to fix the issue before it becomes a major repair.


If you put your car into drive and it suddenly starts going in reverse, or you are struggling to even shift gears, it could signal problems with the transmission linkage or the part that turns the gears or shifts them into park, drive, neutral, etc. This part can experience wear and stretching due to steady exposure to high temperatures or transmission bands coming loose. This can lead to stretching and eventually breaking if not corrected early. You may also notice some odd sounds when you shift, such as grinding or clicking due to low transmission fluid. The following symptoms indicate a problem with your gear selector and require immediate attention:

  • Grinding noise when changing gears
  • Clicking noise
  • Difficulty changing gears
  • Mismatched gear selection
  • Trouble turning car off
  • Leaking transmission fluid


The majority of gear selector issues in Mercedes Benz are due to the following causes:


As mentioned above, components of the gear selector, especially the transmission leakage can wear and stretch making it difficult to shift or leading to the gear indicator to be slightly off. Hard shifting can also add to an increase in wear to the complex transmission system of your Mercedes Benz.


Exposure to heat, debris from the road and gaps in the transmission can all lead to transmission fluid leaking. Parts can be punctured, seals loosened or worn out or large gaps between parts that allow the bright red or green fluid to pool under your car. More transmission fluid can be easily added but the vehicle should be inspected promptly by a professional. Due to the large number of places that fluid can leak from, it’s important to have a full diagnostic check whenever you notice a transmission fluid leak. Failure to do so in a timely manner could mean complete transmission failure.


If the fluid pump is not working, no amount of fluid will help. This is the part that ensures hydraulic fluid is pumped into your transmission, so if you see that there is enough transmission fluid but you are still experiencing issues then the pump could be the problem.


Due to the myriad causes of gear selector issues in your Mercedes Benz, it’s wise to have a professional do a thorough diagnosis to ensure you find the root cause. The transmission system of a Mercedes Benz is complex. Fortunately, your vehicle is equipped with a computer that stores codes that pinpoint the exact location of the failure in the transmission system. An experienced professional has equipment to retrieve those codes from your vehicle in order to ensure the source of the problem is resolved before it escalates into a more costly repair.

The ASE and Bosch certified team at Autobahn Automotive, convenient to San Antonio and Longhorn, Texas, has the experience and expertise needed to properly diagnose your vehicle. In addition, they are familiar with your Mercedes’ maintenance needs and can work with you to create a maintenance schedule that could help avoid some of the issues that occur naturally over time. By maintaining or upgrading components of your transmission before they show signs of wear you will keep your Mercedes running smoothly and avoid costly unplanned repairs.

* Mercedes-Benz C-Class image credit goes to:teddyleung.

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