Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oops!! My Town & Country Shifter Knob Fell Off

Note the gear shifter on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel.

You may remember in my blog post of February 8, 2012 that we bought a new (to us) Chrysler Town and Country van when our 2005 van died on our way to New Bern.  This was of necessity a hasty purchase, but I've been very happy with it and had been driving it worry free until the other day.  After a matinee movie, as I was backing out of the parking space, the knob of the shifter came off.  Without the knob, I was faced with a straight, narrow piece of metal sticking out of the dashboard.  With some difficulty, I managed to switch from Rear to Drive and drive to a service station where the attendant was able to reposition the knob and tighten the screw which held it.

After talking with a representative at the Chrysler Customer Service, I took the van in on Thursday to a Chrysler dealer, Westgate of Raleigh, to have the gear shift checked out.  I'm generally leery of car dealers and most of our car service and repairs are done by our long time independent car mechanic.  But I was happily impressed with Westgate.  After explaining to the Service Advisor about the problem with the knob, I mentioned that I also needed instruction on how to shift from Drive into the lower or higher gears. (Yes, I had read the instruction manual which did not clearly explain this.) The gear shift on this model is on the dashboard and other than the P, R, N, D gears there are plus and minus positions that must be used to gear up or down.  I had been driving around in Drive and had not used the plus and minus.  Adam took me for a short drive and demonstrated how to gear up or down, and then I gave it a try with his supervision.
Gear shifter knob.

Plus and minus for gearing up or down.
When I mentioned to the mechanic that I had recently changed the oil, but that I kept getting a message to "change oil", he took me out and showed me how to reset that. So in addition to having the gear shift checked out, I learned how to gear up and down and how to reset the oil change message.  
Ronald, the mechanic, and Adam, the Service Advisor.
I am very impressed with the Westgate Chrysler service department, and I won't hesitate to return whenever I need help that my regular mechanic can't provide or for things that are still covered by the Chrysler warranty.  Westgate covered this by what they call "a free spring checkup" so it cost me nothing.  Thank you, Westgate.
Most of all I've learned not to take the gear shift knob for granted and to keep check that the screw that holds it on is always tight.


  1. The highest-ranking member of Chrysler's family of front-wheel-drive minivans, the Chrysler Town and Country has long appealed to families and empty-nesters seeking a practical vehicle with a dash of luxury inside and out. Jeep dealer MA

  2. This happened to our 2010 T&C Touring this past week. It is about 4 months out of warranty. I cannot believe Chrysler's build quality is so poor. I know this is not a serious issue (not like when the electrical system went berserk), but it demonstrates overall lack of attention to detail. Thanks for the info, I will tighten the screw.

    1. I drive the T & C mainly because all the seats fold down. I know it doesn't have as good a rate as the Toyota or the Honda van.

  3. I drive the T & C mainly because all the seats fold down and don't have to be removed.