Shift Interlock

[ Written by: Qwertz9586 ]   [ First Posted: June 29, 2005 ]   [ Last Modified: February 02, 2010 ]

Vehicles equipped with an automatic transaxle are also equipped with a shift interlock. The shift interlock prevents the shifter from moving out of Park accidentally. When the engine is running, the driver must put his/her foot on the regular brake pedal in order to move the shifter out of park. The shift interlock also prevents the driver from removing the key out of the ignition and locking the steering wheel when the shifter is in any other position besides Park. It also prevents the shifter from moving out of Park when the key is out of the ignition and when the ignition is in "Accessory" or "Lock" positions.

So what happens when the battery dies or the brake switch fails (where the shift interlock gets the signal that the pedal is pressed) and you have to move the vehicle? Follow the steps below. This will work regardless of a column-mounted or console-mounted shifter.

  • Make sure the parking brake is engaged.
  • Put key in ignition and move it to the "Off" position (as shown below). Do not put ignition in "On" position.
  • Put shifter into Neutral.
    Note: You do not need to put your foot on the regular brake pedal to shift out of Park when the ignition is in the "Off" position. Hence setting the parking brake in the first step.
  • If your battery is fine and it's just a faulty brake switch, you can now start your vehicle and then place shifter in desired gear.
  • If you have a dead battery, release the parking brake and have someone push/pull your vehicle while you steer and brake. When the engine is off, the steering and brake effort is increased. You will have a couple of pumps of the brake before it feels like stomping on a brick. Steering effort will decrese the faster the vehicle is moving.
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