P073A Diagnostic Trouble Code: Stuck in Gear 5

Fault code P073A is called “Stuck in Gear 5” but in different programs it may be called differently. This fault designation applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II.

Technical description and explained code P073A

OBD-II trouble code P073A is defined as “stuck in 5th gear”. It is set when the automatic transmission cannot shift from gear #5.

P073A Diagnostic Trouble Code: Stuck in Gear 5

When we drive a car, numerous modules and computers control and regulate a huge number of components and systems. To make the vehicle run smoothly and efficiently. The automatic transmission is also among these components.

The automatic transmission has many moving parts that keep the transmission in the right gear according to the demands of the driver. Another important part of all this, is the transmission control module (TCM).

The main function of the TCM is to track, adjust and correlate the various values and effectively shift the gears in the vehicle.

The automatic transmission selects the optimum engine power and torque characteristics according to the driver’s desired rate of acceleration and speed. It automatically selects different gear ratios for the desired movement at a given time.

If the TCM detects that the automatic transmission is stuck in gear #5, code P073A will be set. In addition, the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) may illuminate.

Symptoms of vehicle malfunctions

The main signal that an error P073A has occurred is the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) is also known as the CheckEngine Light.

It can also be warning signs such as:

  1. The “Check engine” control lamp on the control panel will light up (the code will be written in the memory as a fault).
  2. The automatic transmission is stuck in 5th gear.
  3. The transmission may not shift properly.
  4. ATF fluid is leaking.
  5. Restricted vehicle speed.
  6. Extraneous engine noises.
  7. Reduced throttle response.
  8. Reduced engine power.

P073A automatic transmission related malfunction needs to be corrected immediately. The vehicle will be able to drive, but further damage may occur.

Factors that can cause this error code

The error code P073A can mean that one or more of the following problems have occurred:

  • Low ATF level.
  • Dirty or incorrect ATF fluid.
  • Clogged hydraulic transmission system.
  • Problem with shift solenoid.
  • Faulty wiring or connectors.
  • Sometimes TCM or PCM module is the cause.

How to fix or reset OBD-2 code P073A

Some suggested steps for troubleshooting and fix the error code P073A:

  1. Read all stored data and error codes with an OBD-II scan tool. To find out when and under what circumstances error P073A appeared.
  2. Clear the error codes from the computer memory and test-drive the vehicle to find out if the malfunction appears again.
  3. Check for contamination, level, and leakage of ATF fluid.
  4. Inspect the wiring and connectors for damage.
  5. Test the shift control solenoid.
  6. Check the continuity of the control module (PCM) power and ground using a multimeter.
  7. Evaluate the Control Module (PCM) operation following the vehicle manufacturer’s procedure.

Diagnose and repair of problems

To clear error P073A, connect the scan tool to the vehicle’s diagnostic port and retrieve all stored codes and data. Make a note of this information in case the code turns out to be intermittent.

Use the dipstick to check the ATF fluid level, making sure it is clean and free of debris. If you do not remember ever having serviced the transmission, check the records and have the appropriate service performed.

Check the ATF level on a level surface for an accurate reading. Be sure to use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer.

Check the transmission control module (TCM) for damage, inspect for signs of water ingress. Any signs of corrosion on the housing or connectors are also a sure sign of trouble. It is also worth inspecting and testing the electrical wiring.

In addition to basic P073A troubleshooting checks, there are in-depth ones, using a service scanner. The problem may also be mechanical, inside the box, but it is better to contact professionals to solve it.

On which vehicles does this problem occur most frequently

Fault code P073A can occur on different vehicles but there are statistics on which brands this occurs most often. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Audi
  • Ford (Focus)
  • Mazda
  • Nissan
  • Skoda
  • Volkswagen (Golf, Passat)

Fault code P073A can sometimes be found with other errors. The most common are the following: P072A, P072B, P072C, P072D, P072E, P072F, P073B, P073C.


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