Car does not start when at park. It has to be put at neutral to start

Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 MAZDA PROTEGE
  • 90,000 MILES
When the car is at park, it does not start (does not even try). We have to put the car at neutral, after having tried to start it at park, for the starter to engage and try to start the engine.
We hear someone say it's a sensor that has to be changed, but no details. Can you detail? Do we have to be experienced mechanics to do this repair? Where to get the part(s)? What to look for to get a quality part?
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Saturday, October 1st, 2011 AT 12:23 AM

18 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
I would be looking at the range switch or it is often called the transmission inhibitor switch, this switch only allows the engine to start in park or neutral.
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Saturday, October 1st, 2011 AT 12:33 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
It is also known as transmission range switch and is located on transaxle, where the shift cable is attached to.
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Saturday, October 1st, 2011 AT 12:47 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
Thank's for the info, I'ts really appreciated. Is that something an amateur mechanic like me can handle or should I go to the local garage?

I still have to find a good manual for a 2003 Mazda Protegé5. Is Canadian Tire a good place to get one (that's whwere I got one for another older car back in 1990) or should I buy it from the internet instead? What is the best manual for amateurs like me?
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 5:00 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
A DIY mechanic should be able to do it but after installation, you need to adjust the switch so that all the indicators lights are working correctly in each position the gear shift is in.

I am not sure about where to get the manual but Mitchell1, online subsciption for this model is quite complete. This is where I am getting my information from.
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 5:07 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
I'll check for Mitchell1. Is that where you get your diagrams from, on the other post about the oil pan? It's great.
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 5:30 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
Well, the web site has the Ondemand5 system at 159$ per month. That's for professionals.

I just need a 30$ book on the 2003 Mazda Protege5. Any other ideas?
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 5:42 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
OK, I found the subscription for 31.99$ per year.

That's the one you recommend?

Is it really better than the Haynes Manuals?
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 5:46 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Yes, they are.
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 6:01 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
Ok, then, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the counsel.
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 AT 6:45 PM
Tiny
2CARPROS MIKE
  • ADMIN
You can order a online manual by clicking the link below. They offer one week, one month, and one year subscriptions starting at $11.99 The online information and diagrams are available within minutes. We highly recommend them.
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Monday, October 3rd, 2011 AT 6:00 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Thanks for the back-up Mike. Sorry I missed out the part about the cost.

Btw bmunger, please bear in mind that no shop manual would show you the bits and pieces that are supposedly understood by mechanics so some instructions are not available and you need to understand the system to be able to perform the job indicated.
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 AT 12:20 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
Thanks. Understood.

I'm a professional mechanical engineer, but no mechanic. I can guess a lot of things from the theory I've studied, but a lot of little details, like you said, may be missing from my background.

Anyway, I've purchased this old car to teach my two sons a little bit of mechanic. And also to avoid lending them my two new cars. There are some things which I will not be able to do, so I'll leave that to the real mechanics.

This transmission range switch might be something for the real professional mechanic. I'll see when I look at the manual. Right now I'm still into teaching some body job to my two sons to fix the rust patches before winter time arrives. As soon as I've kicked their ass for long enough for them to get on with it, then I'll register to and take a look if it is within my reach.

Thanks for your counsel, it's appreciated.
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 AT 12:40 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You're welcome.

The range switch is an external component that is mounted by bolts that can be loosened to adjust the position so it is no big deal. You should be able to do it since you have a mechanical background.
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 AT 12:44 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
Hello,

I cannot get the switch from a parts manufacturer, it seems like it's sold only by Mazda. Is that true?
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
2CARPROS MIKE
  • ADMIN
Some parts are dealer only, the aftermarket parts suppliers stick to the high volume parts and may not manufacture them.
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 AT 8:58 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You can try the junk yard. You shoud be able to get one easily and cheaply.
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Friday, October 7th, 2011 AT 5:19 PM
Tiny
BMUNGER
  • MEMBER
I've called the local junk yards with no success find the same model and year. I'm puzzled. Maybe someone bought all of them and I need to find whom to contact him. !
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Friday, October 7th, 2011 AT 5:28 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
It need not necessarily be of the same year and model. Some of these components are interchangeable and the junk yard might be able to assist you on this.
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Friday, October 7th, 2011 AT 7:27 PM

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