My vehicle will start up but wont switch into gear. And my check engine light is on, so I'm trying to see if there's a way to make it switch into gear so I can drive it to a shop
My car has an automatic transmission.
YourMechanic does offer a mobile service to resolve the issue you are describing and during such service the Mechanic could also download the diagnostic trouble codes that have caused the check engine light to illuminate. Alternatively, you could review the instructions that YourMechanic has posted describing remedies for failure to shift.
A shifter will sometimes get locked in park. If this is what has happened, put the emergency brake on. Find the shifter lock override slot (or openly accessible button), which is usually located on the shifter console close to the shift lever. The slot will be plugged with a plastic cap. Remove the cap and push down on the button with a nail file or other pointed object. As you are pushing the button down, step on the brake pedal, move the shifter into neutral, and start the car. Note that releasing the shifter will only bypass the problem, if the problem was a locked shifter. There will be other issues to take care of, but this will at least get the car to move, which can be important if your car is not currently located in a place where it can stay until a mechanic comes out to inspect the underlying issue.
If you have a failed brake light switch, the shifter is not going to move either. It is also possible that the fuse that controls the brake light switch and shift lock has blown. This is pretty easy to diagnose: have someone stand behind your car while you step on the brake. If the brake lights do not illuminate, a bad switch is the likely culprit. A professional mechanic can quickly and easily change out the switch or fuse. You could have a bad shift interlock solenoid or wiring. The shift interlock solenoid is a safety feature that has been added to all modern cars equipped with automatic transmissions. It prevents the driver from shifting out of park without a foot on the brake, and works in conjunction with the brake light switch. If the solenoid or its wiring is damaged, you will not be able to shift out of park. Finally, you could have a broken transmission shift cable and if that cable is broken, the shifter will be inoperable.The cable will usually fail due to stretching, or if the keeper at the end of the cable has failed. Shifting too quickly or slamming the car into gear can exacerbate the stretching problem. One way to test for this is to release the parking brake and push the car forward a few feet (note: only perform this test on perfectly level ground). If the car moves, the issue is most likely with the shift cable, as the car is clearly not in park. If you desire, YourMechanic can dispatch a certified Mechanic to evaluate all of these possibilities and get the issue diagnosed and repaired for you right at your present location.
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