Shift Cable Replacement Cost

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Contact us if you have any questions :)

Shift Cable Replacement Cost

If you’re always on the move, you deserve a daily drive that is hassle-free. Regular car maintenance is critical for this. Although, it can be challenging for the average person to keep up with exactly what their car needs. Different parts withstand wear and tear at varying rates and need to be replaced at different times.

We tallied shift cables average price for 3 common family cars and found the lowest cost is $160, up to $625 on the higher end (prices updated for 2023). This is quite the range, so you may want to get quotes from a couple different automotive repair shops to get the best deal.


What is the Car Shift Cable?

The shift cable is a stiff metal cord that connects the driver’s gear shift lever and the manual transmission (or automatic transmission) inside the car. When you shift your car into reverse, the shift selector cable tells the transmission shift lever at the other end the same thing. You can then safely back out of your parking spot and start the process again with another shift to drive. Essentially, the shift cable enables the driver to control the gear selection.  If your shift cable is broken, you will definitely know it!

The shifter cable usually has an outer shell that acts as protection from some of the outside elements and linkage bushing to help connect it to the transmission linkage. Other issues related to these parts may also arise or be related to the shifter cable breakdown.


Cost to Replace a Shift Cable for Specific Vehicles

Each make and model has a different price for this part, so keep that in mind when calculating the shift cable replacement cost. Depending on the age, make, model, and issue that the car presents, the fees may be lower or higher. Below we have included some popular vehicles to give you an idea of what your shift cable replacement costs may be.

Ford Fusion

ford fusion shift cable cost
Ford Fusion shift cable repair will run about $350 bucks

First up is the Ford Fusion. Replacing a shift selector cable in a Ford Fusion will run you between $280 to $350. This price is including labor costs, as well as the price for the cable itself. Price shopping manufacturer costs versus other sellers may lead to a better deal.

Toyota Camry

toyota camry shift cable cost

The Toyota Camry shift cable replacement costs are on the higher end of the scale. The average cost would be around $600 to $700. The shifter cable and labor for this specific vehicle are both slightly higher than average. This is an essential part of your vehicle, so that that pricing may be worth it.

Honda Accord

honda accord shift cable cost
Honda Accord shift cable repair cost $260-$400 including labor | Image Src

A Honda Accord shift cable replacement would fall more within the average among most cars. The shift cable itself would cost around $120 to $200, and labor, depending on location, could be between $140 to $176. Keep in mind that this will vary depending on your location and year of your vehicle.

You can view the prices to purchase a replacement shifter cable HERE, but we do not recommend installing this part as a DIY project.  This repair is better left to a certified mechanic.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Shift Cable?

The time it takes to replace a shift cable will vary across car make and model. On average, the shifter cable takes 1.5-2 hours to install.

If the whole cable does not need to be replaced, other repairs on the same part may take less time to complete.

Symptoms of a Bad Shift Cable

You may see symptoms of a bad shift cable in various ways while you’re driving. Take these as warning signs to get your shifter cable looked at as soon as possible.

Damaged Shifter Cable

First, if you turn your gear selector switch but your automatic transmission doesn’t respond, then there is a problem with the shift cable connection. This may be on either end of the cable or because of a broken cable. Since you won’t be able to shift gears to drive, this is an urgent issue to take care of.

Note: this could also be caused by a malfunctioning shift lock release

Stretched Cable Movement

Maybe the automatic transmission does have a response, but it is slow or inaccurate when indicating the gear shift. This may be due to stretching in the cable, which means it should be adjusted or replaced if on the verge of snapping. When this happens, your shift lever won’t be able to cycle between Forward and Reverse gear.

Other symptoms may come in the form of a buzzing noise or burning smell. While in a vehicle, this may mean many different things; either one could be a broken shifter cable. It may be so stretched or worn-out on the plastic outer shell, or the inner metal tube or bushing could sustain damage.

Low Fluid

While not directly caused by broken shifter cables, you might notice similar symptoms listed above if you’re low on automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Always check that your fluid levels are topped off.

Check Engine Light

If the CEL is lit up on your dashboard, consider hooking up an OBD2 scanner that reads transmission codes.

How Long Does a Shift Cable Last?

A gear shift selector cable’s lifespan is going to depend on many factors including:

  1. Type of car
  2. Driver’s experience
  3. Environmental conditions
  4. Automatic or Manual transmission

Depending on the driving style, amount of stress that the manual transmission takes, and mileage on the vehicle, a shifter cable can last 20+ years. Unless there is another event that causes a malfunction, you can expect yours to last at least within that range.

That’s right, this part is made to last!

Automatic transmission gear shift
Automatic transmission gear shifter

What Causes a Shift Cable to Go Bad?

The transmission shift cable is built to be protected. It has a layer around the metal cable to shield it from the elements and strengthen it. Over time this may become worn and cause the shifter cable to go bad. This prevents you from moving the shift lever to Drive or Reverse.

If you are doing lots of driving and shifting from gear to gear quickly, this will speed up your shift cable’s breakdown and reduce its efficiency. The overuse can also cause the cable to stretch out before breaking or snapping entirely.

The plastic connectors that link the shift selector may also take some wear and tear. Since they are often made of plastic, they may become brittle and break. This can weaken your cable or cause other issues that lead to a necessary shifter cable replacement.


Hopefully this helped you learn more about the gear shift cable replacement cost and look out for the key symptoms that show how weathered it may be.

Transmission issues, problems with shifting gears, unusual noises, and bad smells should make you stop and consider if your transmission shift cable may need to be replaced.

Avoiding stress on your gear shifter can help you prevent problems, though. With preventative practices in mind, you may be able to avoid the high shift cable replacement cost, at least for a while!


Featured Image from Summit – B&M Shift Cable

Hit a roadblock? Let us connect you with a pro.

If you’re having trouble with your car, it might be time to talk to an expert. Scanner Answers is proud to partner with RepairPal to help you find the best deals on car repair in your area. RepairPal mechanics specialize in offering high quality work at guaranteed fair prices. Find a Repair Shop or speak with an expert now Call (877) 314-1060