Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What if I can’t shift out of park?

asked by on

What if I can’t shift out of park?

A: Like all modern cars, yours is equipped wit...

Like all modern cars, yours is equipped with a shift interlock system that’s designed to prevent the car from being put into gear if the brake lights aren’t working. If the brake light switch fails, the lock will activate and you’ll be stuck in park. However, it’s also possible that the interlock can become stuck. You can manually release it to put the car in gear in an emergency. Here’s how:

  1. Turn the ignition off.

  2. Locate the lock cover (it’s on the gearshift panel, directly above the P).

  3. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the cap off.

  4. Insert the screwdriver into the slot and push down while holding the brake. Keep holding the lock and shift the transmission into neutral.

  5. Crank the engine and put the car in gear.

Tips

  • If this problem happens more than once, have the vehicle inspected.

  • Don’t drive the car if your brake lights aren’t working (because of a failed brake light switch).

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: How do you adjust sound on a 2012 Ford Escape radio?

While your car’s audio system was designed to provide high quality sound in the default configuration, you may find that you want to tailor things to your personal tastes, or to the type of music you’re listening to at the...

Q: What are the door locks for?

Door locks are a very important and overlooked feature on modern vehicles. They serve a number of functions to improve safety and security. Locking the doors prevents strangers and passersby from simply entering the vehicle. This is helpful...

Q: Windshield wiper linkage

Hello, thank you for writing in. It is likely they were not installed correctly. It may be that they were left loose, or any number of other installation issues. Typically installing wiper blades is straight forward and easy. The best...

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...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.