Shift To P Then Desired Gear: Cause & Fixes

The warning message “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” can be seen in Dodge cars. Once the error comes up, it could be associated with different issues. It is mainly associated with transmission issues. 

Once the warning message comes up in your vehicle, it could be due to various reasons. The message may signify that the door is opened and must be closed when changing the gear. This is a safety feature present in most Dodge vehicles.

Also, the warning message could signify an issue with the transmission system. It could pop up due to a damaged component of the system.

Here, we will examine what the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” means, its causes, and how to fix the problem.

What Shift To P Then Desired Gear?

The Shift To P, Then Desired Gear, is more of an instruction to move the gear back to the park and back to the needed gear. This normally happens when your vehicle’s doors are opened and you attempt to change the transmission. 

Sometimes, the warning message comes up due to other issues, such as issues with the transmission system or doors. 

Many vehicles have a safety system that ensures you cannot change gear as long as the door is opened. The reason for this is to ensure that the car does not roll away while the driver is not in the vehicle. 

A warning message comes up when the door is opened and you try to change gears. In Dodge cars, it is usually a “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” error. Once you see this message, close the door and try to shift the transmission again; it should work this time. 

However, if the gear does not shift after closing the doors, this means there is a much more serious problem. No need to panic; all you need to do is determine the cause of the problem and have it fixed. 

In cases like this, the shift issue could result from components of the transmission system. The transmission system comprises different parts, which could make it a bit difficult to determine the cause of the error message without the right tools.

Sections of the transmission system may include the following. 

  1. Clutch 
  2. Shifter 
  3. Valve body 
  4. Torque converter 
  5. Driveshaft 
  6. Rear axle
  7. Transmission Control Module (TCM) 
  8. Range switch 

Even the wheels and tires of the vehicle play an active role in the transmission system, although they are not considered a component. 

You must understand that not all of these parts can cause the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” warning message. However, sections like the shifter, TCM,  range switch, and wiring issues are active causes of the error. 

If the transmission system does not cause the warning message “Shift To P Then Desired Gear, ” it could be the door that issues. There are certain sensors in the door that, when damaged, will trigger the warning message and will hinder the gear shift. 

Causes of Shift To P Then Desired Gear

Various factors could cause the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” warning message. However, a major factor is issues with the transmission system. The transmission comprises different components, and problems with any components could cause an error message. 

The following could cause a “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” warning message. 

1. Damaged electric gear lever 

Once the electric gear lever is damaged, the driver cannot successfully shift the gear, triggering the warning message. 

The electric gear lets the driver select different transmission options by pressing buttons. Once the components are damaged, your vehicle will receive a warning telling you something is wrong with the shifter. Another warning is the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear.”

2. Issues with the transmission range switch

Once the range switch is damaged, there is no way the TCM will be notified of the gear position. In this case, the computer system will trigger the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” warning message and permanently place the gear in the Park. 

The transmission range switch tells the PCM when the position of the gear is changed or when it is being changed. It can do this by sending signals thanks to connected wires.  

3. Issues with the TCM 

Issues with the TCM will affect the general functioning of the transmission system. Every component will be affected, causing the gear to remain in one position, which in most cases is in “Park.” 

The TCM is what the transmission uses to select the ideal gear at a point in time while driving or about to drive. Problems with this part could be caused by electrical issues, accumulated dirt, damaged modules, etc. 

4. Wiring issues 

There will be a slowdown or complete disruption of electrical flow when there are issues with the transmission wires. Once this happens, the transmission will immediately stop functioning, leading to the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” error message. 

5. Damaged door sensors

The door sensors tell the engine computer system when the door is opened and locked. Once the sensor is damaged, the ECU will always think the door is opened, triggering the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” and hindering a gear shift. 

How to fix Shift To P Then Desired Gear

The first step to take when fixing a “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” error message is a proper diagnosis. This will help you get the cause of the error message and also give you an idea of how to fix the issue. 

Below are ways to fix a “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” warning message. 

1. Replace the damaged transmission switch 

The range switch can be found in the transmission box or valve body. Once it is damaged, you will need to have it replaced immediately. 

To replace, find the sensor and properly disconnect every cable. Once that is done, you can then take it out. Put in the new transmission switch and connect all wires. 

2. Fix issues with the TCM 

Different factors, such as software issues, accumulated dirt, and broken bodies, can affect the module. 

To fix software issues, you may need to reset the system. This will require a diagnostic tool for a proper reset. If you do not have one, disconnect the battery for about 10 minutes, the TCM will automatically reset. 

More complicated issues like damaged modules may need professional help to find the right module to install and program it. 

3. Fix wiring issues 

Use the vehicle’s owner’s manual to locate the cables used by the transmission system. Once found, examine for damages like corrosion, exposed connections, and more. Once damages are found, replace it. 

4. Replace damaged door sensors

Use the diagnostic tool to locate the exact door sensor that is the source of the problem. Once you can find it, have it replaced immediately

Final Thought 

The transmission system can be complicated to fix, so having an issue like the “Shift To P Then Desired Gear” error message fixed by a professional is not a bad idea. Doing this will ensure that a proper diagnosis is made on the vehicle and the right is administered. Attempting to repair a transmission issue without properly understanding the components could further damage the system.

  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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