How to Fix a 2008 Nissan Frontier Gear Shift Problem

by parker
YouTube video

Are you experiencing a gear shift problem with your 2008 Nissan Frontier? If you’re finding that the gear lever moves freely and won’t shift, you’re not alone. This is a common issue with Nissan Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder, and Infiniti models. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to temporarily drive home with the gear shift issue and provide steps to fix the problem. Let’s dive in!

Temporary Solution:

If you’re stuck 20 miles away from home and your gear lever is loose, there’s a temporary solution that can help you drive home safely. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Examine the gear shift:
When you notice that the gear lever moves freely, it indicates that the plastic piece around the cable has broken off. This causes the cable to disconnect from the linkage. As a result, you can’t change gears and your vehicle may remain stuck in reverse.

Step 2: Remove the gear shift cover:
Using a screwdriver, pop off the gear shift cover. There are clips that hold it in place. Simply insert the screwdriver into the slots and pry it off. Be careful not to break any clips.

Step 3: Remove the cable lock:
Locate the cable lock and remove it. You can use a screwdriver to pry it off. This allows you to disconnect the cable by pulling it out.

Step 4: Pull the cable out:
Once the cable is disconnected, you can manually shift gears by pulling the cable out with your hand. To go into reverse, pull the cable out once. To go into neutral, pull it out once more. You can then drive home using these temporary settings.

Fixing the Gear Shift Problem:

While the temporary solution allows you to drive home, it’s important to fix the gear shift problem as soon as possible. Here are the steps to permanently fix the issue:

Step 1: Order a replacement grommet:
To fix the gear shift problem, you’ll need to order a grommet from eBay or a reputable auto parts store. This grommet acts as a plastic piece that goes around the cable and connects it to the gear shift.

Step 2: Remove the gear shift cover:
Use a screwdriver to remove the gear shift cover, just as you did in the temporary solution.

Step 3: Replace the grommet:
Once you have the replacement grommet, place it around the cable, making sure it fits securely. This will fix the broken connection and allow the gear lever to function properly.

Step 4: Reassemble the gear shift cover:
Put the gear shift cover back on, aligning the clips with the slots, and pushing it down until it clicks into place.

Step 5: Test the gear shift:
With the grommet properly installed, test the gear shift to ensure it moves smoothly between the different gears. You should now be able to shift gears without any issues.

Remember, if you’re not comfortable performing these steps on your own, it’s always best to consult a professional mechanic for assistance. They have the expertise and tools to fix the gear shift problem efficiently.


Experiencing a gear shift problem in your 2008 Nissan Frontier can be frustrating, especially when you’re far from home. However, by following the temporary solution provided in this article, you can drive home safely. Additionally, we’ve outlined the steps to fix the gear shift problem permanently by replacing the grommet. It’s crucial to address this issue promptly to ensure the smooth operation of your vehicle. Good luck with your repairs, and happy driving!

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