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 I reset the sunroof?

If your battery has been disconnected or replaced, then the sunroof will need to be reset before it will start working properly. To reset the sunroof, follow these steps: 1. Turn the ignition to the ON position. 2. Push the...

Q: Difficult startup, low battery voltage, no oil pressure with windows, sunroof and locks malfunctioning

If the battery tested good, then I would suspect a problem with the alternator. The battery is basically just an electronic storage device that must be charged regularly by the alternator. In addition, there are a couple dozen modules aboard...

Q: How do you start the engine with the smart key system?

If your car is equipped with the smart key system, it means that you don’t have to use a key to crank the car. You have a start/stop switch. Using it for the first few times can be a little...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...