Chevy Aveo 2004 Stuck in Park

Tiny
HEMB
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 CHEVROLET AVEO
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 73,000 MILES
Our 2004 Chevy Aveo with 73,000 miles, gets stuck in Park and then the brake lights don't work. (I did discover the slot with the release so I could move the car.) It happens intermittently, sometimes stuck for a week or two, then it releases and shifts out of park and the brake lights work. Of course, when I took it to the shop last week, it worked fine. Not working today, headed back to the shop tomorrow. I have discovered that while it is stuck in Park, when I move the gearshift back and forth, I hear a click under the dash. The mechanic told me this probably means the brake switch (under the brake pedal) is working. I have been online, and discovered numerous other owners with this problem. Can you suggest the cause of the problem? And would this be still under warranty?
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 4:32 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
DRCRANKNWRENCH
  • EXPERT
There is a safety lockout that uses a mechanical linkage, that is what you hear under dash, as a safety feature. The brake pedal is linked to this and it wears out, goes out of adjustment or can simply break. It is also tied into the ignition switch as a security feature, that is why there is an override that your key can be used to allow the shifter to move without the ignition switch in the run position or the brake depressed. You may not have the ignition switch lockout, but keep it in mind as you can permanently override the shift lockout by removing the pin that keeps the shifter from moving. It is not too hard, but you have to look at the effect it will have on the brake pedal and possibly the ignition switch. I mention this because I did this on a Mitsubishi and the shifter had a spring loaded can that I removed. I pulled the connection off at the brake pedal as it might have interfered with it, probably not but I did not want to find out the hard way, so, be sure to be safe no matter what route you take.
If your mechanic has the proper service manual, there should not be much of an issue repairing or overriding the lockout.
As far as being under warranty, if you have a warranty still covering the time and mileage it would be warranty. However most GM warranties, even extended might not cover, "wear and tear" which this would probably be considered.
The way to try to get it covered is to ask the service department at your local Chevy dealer to show you all the recalls and SERVICE BULLETINS. Service bulletins are for use by the technicians in diagnosing recurring problems. If there is one regarding the shifter lockout, use it as leverage.

I hope this information helps. If you need anything else, I will watch for replies to this post and get back to you ASAP.
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 5:14 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
The interlock system used on this vehicle is electrical and the brake lights not working intermittently indicates the brake switch is the most likely cause.

When the brake switch fails to work, the interlock solenoid would not work as it requires a signal from the switch to work. The next time it occurs, check the brake lights and if they do not turn on, use a jump across the brake switch terminals and if brake lights comes on and you are able to shift out of park, replace the brake switch.

How did you manage to move the gear shift when it is stuck in PARK?
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 5:25 AM
Tiny
HEMB
  • MEMBER
KHLow2008: I got the car out of Park by depressing the shift lock release with a screw driver. It's accessed through a slot in front the gear shift. I've never seen that on any other car I've ever owned.
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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 AT 2:19 AM
Tiny
DRCRANKNWRENCH
  • EXPERT
KHLow is correct in that the brake switch controls the solenoid that moves the shifter interlock so it can be moved.

There is a National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, (NHTSA), bulletin on this and a Service Bulletin from GM in regards to a process of elimination to follow for technicians.

The following is the NHTSA bulletin;

Make : CHEVROLET Model : AVEO Year : 2004
Manufacturer : GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
Service Bulletin Num : 070730007 Date of Bulletin: APR 01, 2007
NHTSA Item Number: 10022265
Component: POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Summary:
AUTOMATIC TRANSAXLE/TRANSMISSION SHIFT LEVER MAY NOT SHIFT OUT OF PARK (REPLACE BRAKE TRANSAXLE SHIFT INTERLOCK (BTSI) SOLENOID). *KB

Take that bulletin number to your dealer and see if they can help.

I checked for more public information bulletins released by GM and came up with this Public Information Bulletin, (PIB), otherwise known as a Service Bulletin.

The following is the GM Service Bulletin;

Condition/Concern:
Shifter Stuck in Park

Recommendation/Instructions:
Before replacing any components, verify correct operation of the Stop Lamp Switch. Check for proper adjustment of the switch, poor electrical connection at the switch or incorrect operation of the switch contacts and repair as necessary. It has been identified that the brake switch is more likely the cause compared to the shifter assembly.

Do NOT replace the shifter unless the brake switch has been replaced or adjusted and the condition returns again.

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.

GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer". They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from this information.

The last sentence, "whether your vehicle may benefit from this information.", Refers to the VIN numbers that were affected before GM caught the problem and fixed the problem on the production line. Your vehicle may fall into the VIN numbers that did not get the fix at the factory and are eligible for the retro-fitted fix from a GM dealer.

If you have these with you when you go to your local GM Dealership, they will possibly work with you. One scenario may be that the parts are free if you pay for the labor.

I hope this helps and let me know how things turn out.
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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 AT 4:22 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Most vehicle are equipped with an overiding shift lock release and for Honda and most Japanses vehicles, the ignition key fits the slot and is the recommended tool to release the shiftlock.

For some models, there is a tab at base of shift lever which would release the shift lock, these are mainly for mechanical shift interlock systems.

Please bear in mind that if the brake switch is faulty and when you overide the lock, you are driving without any brake light working when the brakes are depressed.

The TSB applies only if the solenoid is at fault and as DrCrankWrench mentioned, ensure the brake switch is working correctly.
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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 AT 12:02 PM
Tiny
HEMB
  • MEMBER
Thank you all. They replaced the brake light switch. I'll let you know if the problem returns.
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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 AT 8:01 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You're welcome.

Have a nice day.
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 1:06 PM

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