Can’t Shift to Park or Drive? Read This Before You Panic

It’s one of those things we never think of until it happens. You climb into the front seat, put on your sunglasses, ready yourself for a nice road trip, and then you can’t shift into drive to leave your home. What in the world are you supposed to do then?

The first thing to remember is that you don’t force the shifter to go anywhere. Doing that will only cause more damage you’ll have to pay for out of pocket when the time comes. The shifter is hooked into your car’s transmission system, which is efficient and easy to fix. However, if one of those components fails? You get the problem above.

The good news is that an ASE-certified mechanic can diagnose this issue easily. They’ll give your car a once-over inspection report that outlines the true nature of the problem, and they will inform you as to whether or not there are other issues present that are compounding the problem. Then they will offer you solutions that get you back on the road safely and securely.

But, what exactly happens if you have to have your shifter replaced? For starters, parts will have to be ordered, so your car will most likely stay at the shop for a couple of days. Not convenient for anyone’s schedule, I know. The good news, however, is that parts like this don’t fail often. If it fails once and the underlying issue is resolved the first time, you’ll most likely drive the rest of the car’s life without ever having to fix a repeat issue.

For those that enjoy keeping an eye, or an ear, out for symptoms of growing problems, here are some things to be aware of when figuring out when your shifter will fail:

  • The shifter itself presents resistance when shifting.
  • When shifting, it’s hard to find the spot where it needs to rest.
  • Your brake lights go out more than usual.
  • Shifter and/or ignition cylinders feel looser than they should.

If any of these happen, call your local ASE-certified mechanic and let them know. Catching something like a failed shifter before it happens will always save you heartache in the long run. However, if you have already reached the point where the shifter has failed and are searching for answers as to what your mechanic is about to do to your car, keep reading.

If your shifter has already failed, your local mechanic will search for these specific things:

  • A brake switch that doesn’t work.
    Impaired transmission shift cables (it’s a cable that connects the transmission to your vehicle’s shifter handle).
  • A worn out key tumbler for your ignition.
  • A broken shifter itself.
  • A faulty or burnt-out shift interlock solenoid.

There are many things your mechanic will check for to figure out the scope of the problem, but the important thing to remember is that a problem like this rarely occurs more than once in a vehicle’s lifetime. If it starts occurring more than once, your mechanic will dive deeper into your car’s electrical and transmission systems to backtrack the actual issue and fix it up for you. However, if you don’t have a mechanic that you trust with something like this, fear not. That is where we come in. Here at Jeff’s Auto Repair, we pride ourselves not only on our state-of-the-art equipment but also on our up-to-date knowledge. We stay ahead of the crowd regarding manufacturing recommendations and local and federal regulations, which means that when you drive your vehicle away from our shop, you know you’re safe and free of worry. Every one of our mechanics is ASE-certified and ready to take your worries off your plate, so why not call us at (425) 771-4588 or come see us at 21701 Hwy 99, Lynnwood, WA 98036? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving us a shot.

Because you’ll never look back once you give us that one shot.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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