Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Can’t shift out of park

Why can’t I shift out of park

As a safety precaution auto makers require you to step on the brake pedal before shifting into or out of PARK. If you don’t, you Can’t shift out of park. Stepping on the brake activates a small solenoid in the steering column (or in the console on floor shifter models). The solenoid retracts a locking pin, allowing the shifter to move.

When the shift interlock solenoid fails, you cannot move the shifter. The cause can be a burned out fuse or a bad solenoid. If the fuse is burned, suspect either a shorted solenoid OR chafing in the wiring harness. However, if the fuse is good and the solenoid operates, then check for spilled soda or hot chocolate that’s worked its way down the steering column and gummed up the works.

Every manufacturer provides a mechanical release mechanism for emergencies where the shift interlock fails. The mechanical bypass is described in your owner’s manual.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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