Every time the transmission changes gears, pressurized hydraulic fluid is used to make it happen. This pressure is directed by little plunger devices called solenoids. If the ECU detects that the shift solenoid D is not performing according to its preprogrammed parameters, a P0981 DTC will be saved.
How Serious is the Code?
Although the symptoms associated with a P0981 diagnostic trouble code may not be very severe at first, they can quickly escalate to the point that your vehicle will not be able to be safely driven.
Symptoms of a P0981 include:
- Hard shifts
- Transmission may not shift into gear
- Low transmission fluid level
- Dirty transmission fluid/filter
- Corroded/broken connectors and/or damaged wiring
- The shift solenoid has malfunctioned
How to Diagnose the Code?
Since shift solenoid’s are designed to control the flow of pressurized transmission fluid, the level and condition of the transmission fluid can have a huge effect on the way that they operate. So diagnosing a P0981 OBDII trouble code should begin with examining the level and condition of the transmission fluid. Provided it is clean and at the right level, the wiring and connectors along the transmission wiring harness will need to be inspected for signs of damage and corrosion. If no problems have been found by this point, the shift solenoid D itself will have to be inspected.
What Repairs Will Fix P0981?
- Service the transmission
- Replace or repair damage wiring/connectors
- Replace shift solenoid
- P0982 – Shift Solenoid “D” Control Circuit Low
- P0983 – Shift Solenoid “D” Control Circuit High