Chevy Equinox Manual Mode Not Working (Solved)

Most drivers might not even be aware of the existence of or the need for manual mode on the Chevy Equinox.

However, it can be frustrating when the Chevy Equinox Manual Mode is not working correctly for those who do.

A few causes are surprisingly simple to resolve, considering that the transmission remains functional.

Let’s get straight to it.

Causes of The Chevy Equinox Manual Mode Not Working

Suppose the manual mode selection has been made correctly per the vehicle’s Operator Manual. In that case, the Chevy Equinox Manual Mode could fail to work due to loose electrical connections in the switch console. This can be caused by broken or rusty connections, creating a short circuit. It could also be a blown fuse. The complete switch could also fail and might need to be replaced.

Let us have a closer discussion on the causes. 

3 Reasons Why the Chevy Equinox Manual Shift Is Not Working

Incorrect Operation

This may be far-fetched, but it cannot be ruled out. You need to ensure that the selection of the Manual Mode has been done according to the instructions in the Vehicle Operator’s Manual.

Different vehicle models may have other instructions. Before taking your vehicle to a mechanic, and looking rather silly in front of them, check that you are following the instructions. 

Manual Mode Selection Switch Malfunction

If your selection has been made right, the next port of call is the electrical fuse. If you are a DIY person, you should be able to check this on your car.

If it is okay, trace the cause to the electrical contacts within the switch console.

Repair the wires or clean the contacts and check if the issue has been resolved. You can use any corrosion cleaner or penetrating oil and try the switch again. 

Loose contacts can also cause malfunction. This can be corrected temporarily through a knock on the console.

If this doesn’t work, you might need to open up the console if you are a good DIY person and take a closer look.

If the problem persists, you might need a qualified mechanic to remove and examine the switch further. 

Usually, if the wiring has been damaged, the best solution is to replace the entire switch.

You could find this option cheaper than taking the vehicle to a repair shop, where they might still replace the switch and charge you for the labor.

Shift Lever Position Sensor

This may or may not be installed, depending on the model. It simply should read that you have selected Manual Mode on the gear lever and sent the signal to the computer.

How Is the Chevy Equinox Manual Mode Selection Made?

It is advisable to follow the instructions in your Operator Manual. For most models, however, the Chevy Equinox Manual mode is selected by moving the gear selector lever to the M position.

It allows the driver to control gear shifting manually by over-riding automatic gear changing. The selection is done through buttons mounted on the steering wheel, or gear lever mounted (+) or (-) buttons.

For most Chevy Equinoxes, the Manual Mode can be engaged while in Drive. All you are doing is overriding the transmission computer and taking over gear shifting. This may not certainly be true.

The system may still have the final word if you misbehave, for example, high revs whilst engaged in high gear. The computer may intervene to protect the transmission!

Does the Chevy Equinox Manual Mode Fail Often?

Failure is not common. Most drivers do not use it anyway. Due to the limited use, corrosive dirt might accumulate on the contacts.

This may result in a broken wire or an open contact. Possible prevention is ensuring that the area around the switch is kept clean and free from dust. 

Do I Need to use the Chevy Equinox Manual Mode?

You might ask why this is necessary, considering that the automatic transmission computer should be able to take care of all situations.

The answer is that the computer that controls the automatic shifting of gears can never replace human judgment and will always be slower than human reaction.

It relies on input from many sensors to compute the required shifting and select the most appropriate gear.

The manual mode is in-built into the automatic transmission to afford the driver direct vehicle control in gear shifting.

There are two driving conditions for the ordinary driver when you need to use the manual mode.

Hill Descent

The Manual Mode allows you to select a lower gear to prevent your brakes from overheating and possibly failing. This gives less speed and more torque, giving you better control.

You are using the engine to slow down the vehicle. This is also called engine braking. The same can be done on slippery surfaces where better control is required.

Towing or Hauling

Again, you want more torque. The heavy load can put a strain on the transmission. The Manual Mode allows you to select a lower gear to handle the load better while getting more engine power. This allows you to downshift or upshift as necessary.

Is It Safe to Drive My Chevy Equinox with A Manual Mode that Is Not Working?

The failure is simply in Manual Mode. It should not affect the automatic transmission operation.

Only if you make a lot of hill descent and towing may you increase the strain on the transmission, leading to premature failure.

It is advisable to get it repaired to prevent the more costly transmission repair.


The failure of the manual shift on a Chevy Equinox is a simple repair job as long as the automatic transmission is fully functional.

As indicated above, it is mainly an electrical problem that can be resolved by cleaning the contacts.

Replacing the entire switch is a good and inexpensive option if you don’t want to waste time.