Shifting problems

  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • 60,200 MILES
When I started my car, I was unable to move the shifter (auto transmission). The manual said to put a screwdriver into the shift-lock overide and try to shift at the same time, I didn't have a screwdriver, so I used a key and was able to put the car into reverse and then into drive. I tried to put into reverse again, but again couldn't move the shifter. I tried the shift-lock overide again but was unsuccessful, so I was able to drive forward and decided to drive the car home as the dealer was already closed. As I was driving I noticed that the check engine light was on and even though the shifter was in the D position, the dash indicator said it was in 2nd. When I got home I was able to move the shifter into Neutral so I could stop the engine, but am of course unable to remove the keys from the ignition. Can you give me any information?
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, February 26th, 2011 AT 12:20 AM

1 Reply

I've recently gone on a mad search for answers to my transmission problems (much more complicated), but know this one all to well. First off, while sitting in the driver's seat, put your key in the ignition. Turn the key to the "ON" position without starting the car. Now. With your hand on the shifter, FEEL and listen for a light "click" as you push the BRAKE pedal.
IF a click IS heard/felt, this means your safety interlock is working correctly, and that the button in your shifter is not disengaging the lock down inside the shifter housing. This USUALLY results from being FORCED out of park WITHOUT depressing the brake pedal (not disengaging the interlock), thus, shearing off a small pin in the shifter shaft, that lifts the inner lock. (Not easy to fix. But easy to replace)
IF a click IS NOT heard or felt, first make sure that the small button switch located at the top of the brake pedal, is in place, properly adjusted, and plugged in. Double check fuses. Disassemble shifter housing, and test for 12volts at the interlock solenoid when brake pedal is pressed. Check for 12v at brake pedal switch. If both are present, check the park-position switch for positioning or nearby damage.
Based on the indicator showing that you're in second gear. I'd strongly go with the shifter having been forced out of park. Damaging the shift lock pin and associated parts, including where the linkage for your indicator is located. When you push the release button on the shifter, in and out repeatedly. You should see a small pin near the bottom of the shifter shaft the moves up and down with each button press. If this doesn't happen. The pin is most likely half missing.
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Saturday, March 26th, 2011 AT 8:24 AM

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