Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car transmission stuck in Reverse, shifter stuck in Park, Car won't start.

asked by on

Is it possible to make the transition between switching the car from Drive to Park and turning the car off too quickly, so that the transmission doesn't have time to make that transition before the engine shuts off, thereby locking the transmission in Reverse, and the shifter in Park? I can't start my car, the dash light indicates the gear is in Reverse, but I'm about 97% certain the shifter is in Park, I can't shift the shifter back to Reverse without the engine being on, and I can't start the engine without the vehicle indicating it's in Park. I've looked for a gear shift override to no avail. I've tried all combinations of starting the car and switching gears, tried rocking the vehicle, tried different ignition switch positions...I am able to insert and remove my key just fine...but car is dead. What do I do now?

My car has 225000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hello. You will need to look under the vehi...

Hello. You will need to look under the vehicle where the shifter cable hooks to the transmission and look at the cable connector end for a worn out bushing. You may be able to push the shift lever on transmission into park so you can get it started. Make sure you have the wheels blocked and parking brake on so the vehicle does not roll. If you need help having this diagnosed, a certified technician from YourMechanic, can come to your car's location to inspect the start problem and diagnose the shifting issue.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My car's reverse is acting as if it is in neutral.

Hi and thanks for your question. The issue is not the transmission but rather the transfer case. The low to high speed shift module on the transfer case is losing power. Check the harness to the shift module motor on...

Q: Car squeaking.

Without hearing the noise it will be difficult to give you an accurate recommendation. Rubber bushings and moving suspension components can cause these type of noises. Also rubber seals where body panels come together such as doors to body can...

Q: What could be the cause of my car not starting?

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. This car's engine is known to have a problem with engine speed sensors like the crankshaft and camshaft sensors. The fuel pump is also known to have issues...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...