Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Shift Interlock Solenoid Last?

shift interlock solenoid

Modern transmissions are much more advanced than they were only a few decades ago, particularly automatic transmission. There are many new features and designs on the market, ranging from ‘slick’ shifting transmissions to manual shift paddles on the steering wheel. Some of those advancements have been in the realm of safety – that’s where you’ll find the shift interlock solenoid.

Think of the shift interlock solenoid on your car as a safeguard against inadvertently putting the car in gear. Really, it’s just a switch that keeps the transmission in park if you don’t have your foot on the brake pedal. That makes sense, as knocking the shifter out of park without holding the brake could result in serious injuries and accidents.

The shift interlock solenoid is used every single time you put the car in park. Once you move the shifter from drive or reverse to park, the interlock engages. You have to put your foot on the brake to shift out of park again. That puts a lot of wear and tear on the switch (it’s both mechanical and electrical, so there’s definitely the potential for failure). While the interlock should last for the life of your vehicle, that’s not always the case. Drivers who frequently shift from park and back will find that they have less life from the interlock than those who do mostly longer drives with fewer shifts into and out of park.

The shift interlock solenoid is also tied into other systems in your car, most notably the brake light switch. This switch is mounted to the back of the brake pedal arm, and engages/disengages when you press the pedal and the brake lights come on. If the brake light switch fails, you cannot shift out of park (the interlock is engaged).

Obviously, you need to know a few signs and symptoms that indicate your shift interlock solenoid might be on its last legs. These include the following:

  • It takes several tries to get the shifter out of park

  • You have to manually override the interlock using the interlock switch with the car’s ignition key

  • Car won’t shift out of park (indicates a failed solenoid or a failed brake light switch)

If you are experiencing any of these problems, have a certified mechanic inspect both the shift interlock solenoid and the brake light switch, and replace any failed parts to get you back on the road.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: Liqiu moly vs Castrol full syn.

Engine oil preference is something that is somewhat circumstantial depending on the driving conditions you are used to including weather and driving habits. As you may know a synthetic oil is designed for high performance and high mileage engines that...

Q: My car only goes in reverse

Hello there, many faults will cause your 2010 Chevrolet Malibu to not be able to move forward. The most common faults are low transmission fluid, transmission leak, shift solenoid, shift linkage, or the torque converter. A qualified technician, such as...

Q: After driving on the freeway my car will randomly shut off at a stop it will start right back up and be ok this has happened a few

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 2005 Pontiac Sunfire. You may be having a problem with the torque converter lock up solenoid sticking and the converter staying locked up until the vehicle stalls. The engine will restart and...