Q: What if I can’t shift out of park?

asked by on December 14, 2015

What if I can’t shift out of park?

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).

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