There may come a day when you go to shift your vehicle out of “Park”, and the shifter refuses to move. Perhaps you are already experiencing this issue intermittently, or currently have a vehicle stuck in park. While this is a serious inconvenience, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious problem; let Oliver Automotive in Novato, CA put your mind at ease.
If your vehicle won’t shift out of park:
You most likely have a faulty brake light switch. While it seems like your transmission and brake lights aren’t related, they are; there’s a switch attached to the brake pedal which activates your lights when depressed, and the same switch activates a solenoid on your shifter to allow you to shift out of park. You can only shift out of park with the brake pedal depressed, and if your switch is bad, the vehicle doesn’t know you have the brakes held down. While it isn’t always the case, your brake lights will typically stop working if the transmission won’t shift. Have someone observe your brake lights while you push down the pedal...if they fail to illuminate, you’ve found your problem.
What should I do?
Consult your manual and see how to override the solenoid. On vehicles with the shifter built into the center console, there’s typically a small slot somewhere near the shifter. Pry the small cover off the slot and insert your key, with the brakes held down. Push the key down and hold it while you attempt to shift out of park. More than likely, the shifter will release; you can then put the transmission in neutral and start the vehicle. Keep in mind your brake lights won’t work, but it’ll get you out of a bind and into the repair shop.
Typically, brake switches are inexpensive to replace. If your car, truck, or SUV is having trouble when shifting out of park, our expert mechanics are ready to help. Our technicians can inspect, diagnose, and repair any transmission problem, on any vehicle. For professional service, trust Oliver Automotive with all your repair and maintenance needs.
Proudly Serving Novato & the Bay Area including drivers from San Rafael, Fairfax, Woodacre, Nicasio, Galinas, San Antonio, Petaluma, and Olema. We have customers who have moved as far away as Oakland who continue to come to our shop for high-quality auto repair service from a family business.