Fault code P074D – unable to engage gear 5

Fault code P074D is called “Unable To Engage 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 P074D

OBD-II trouble code P074D is defined as “cannot engage 5th gear”. Set when the automatic transmission cannot engage gear #5.

Fault code P074D – unable to engage 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.

If the TCM detects that the automatic transmission cannot engage gear #5. Then code P074D will be stored and the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) may illuminate.

Chances are, if you are looking for this code, your car is not going fast (if it is going at all!). If you are stuck in gear or can’t get into gear, it is best not to get behind the wheel or attempt to do so until the malfunction is corrected.

Symptoms of vehicle malfunctions

The main signal that an error P074D 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 recorded in the memory as a fault).
  2. Automatic transmission does not shift into 5th gear.
  3. ATF fluid is leaking.
  4. Restricted vehicle speed.
  5. Abnormal engine noise.
  6. Reduced throttle response.

Fault P074D related to automatic transmission requires immediate elimination. The vehicle will be able to drive, but further damage may occur.

Factors that can cause this error code

The error code P074D 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 P074D

Some suggested steps for troubleshooting and fix the error code P074D:

  1. Read all stored data and error codes with an OBD-II scan tool. To find out when and under what circumstances error P074D appears.
  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 P074D, 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 P074D 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 P074D 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
  • Volkswagen (Passat)

Fault code P074D can sometimes be found with other errors. The most common are the following: P073D, P073E, P073F, P074A, P074B, P074C, P074E, P074F.


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