Why is Your Gear Shift Stuck in Park? : Causes & Fixes

gear shift stuck in park

Gear shift stuck in park; this problem is often seen in automatic transmission. Because the workings of an automatic transmission are different from those of a manual transmission, In vehicles, automatic transmissions typically operate based on fluid and sensor signals, making the mechanism of an automatic transmission more sensitive than that of a manual transmission.

Therefore, the problem of a gear shift stuck in park can often be caused by a malfunction or failure of related parts of the automatic transmission. In this post, you will learn about the causes of gear shift stuck in park in automatic transmission and how to fix gear shift stuck in park.

What Does “Gear Shift Stuck in Park” Mean?

A gear shift stuck in park means the automatic transmission gear shift lever is stuck in park mode, and the shifter lever of a vehicle with an automatic transmission cannot be moved out of the “park” position when this problem occurs. In vehicles with automatic transmissions, this problem prevents the car from being put into gear and makes it impossible to move the gear shift lever into any gear.

Why is Your Gear Shift Stuck in Park?

If your vehicle’s automatic transmission’s gear shift is stuck in park, it could be a sign of a bad brake switch or a faulty Shift Interlock Solenoid. However, sometimes this is also a problem with a bad or worn shifter cable.

Reason For Gear Shift Stuck in Park

Common causes of the gear shift stuck in park can be a bad brake light switch, a faulty shift interlock solenoid, a faulty ignition switch, a worn shifter cable, a mechanical fault, or transmission fluid issues.

1. Bad Brake Light Switch

faulty brake switch

In fact, in automatic transmission vehicles, the brake switch is designed to detect when the brake pedal is pressed by the driver. If the brake switch fails to detect the driver depressing the brake pedal or is misadjusted. It may not send a proper brake pedal position signal to the gear shift interlock system in the automatic transmission, causing the gear shift get stuck in park mode.

2. Bad Shift Interlock Solenoid

automatic tranmission solenoid

Modern vehicles’ automatic transmissions have a shift interlock system, which requires unlocking the interlock system by depressing the brake pedal before moving the gear shift out of park. This system of automatic transmission has a solenoid that releases the gear shift mechanism of the automatic transmission.

The automatic transmission’s gear shift may also get stuck in park mode if the automatic transmission solenoid fails or there is an electrical problem with the related system.

3 Faulty Ignition Switch

ignition ISSUE

Often, the ignition switch plays a role in the operation of the gear shifter and shift interlock system in automatic transmission vehicles.

If the ignition switch is faulty, such that it is not able to send the signal necessary to release the gear shift from park or the gear shifter mechanism does not function properly, the gear shift lever may become stuck in park.

4. Worn Shifter Cable

Bad Gears Shifter Cable

The gear shifter cable connects the gear shift lever to the transmission, allowing the gear shift lever to change gears as needed. If the shifter cable becomes misaligned, stretched, or breaks, it can cause the gear shift mechanism system to fail and become inoperable altogether.

And may prevent the gear shifter lever from moving freely. So a bad or broken gear shifter cable can also cause the gear to get stuck in park mode.

5. Interlock Fuse or Relay Failure


Vehicles with automatic transmissions may have a dedicated fuse or relay in the shift interlock system, but sometimes the main fuse of the shift interlock system may be blown for some reason.

And this causes the power supply to the gear shift interlock system to stop and the solenoid system to stop working, which can cause of the gear shift stuck in park.

6. Mechanical Faults

In an automatic transmission, there may be a gear shift mechanism or any type of physical obstruction within the transmission that prevents the lever from moving out of park. In fact, it can be caused by a broken or damaged component in the automatic transmission. However, at times, electrical issues can also occur.

7. Transmission Fluid Issues

A fluid problem can also affect the way an automatic transmission functions. Even if the fluid level in the transmission is low, the gear shifter mechanism system is unable to function properly. This can cause the gear shift to get stuck in park.

How To Fix Gear Shift Stuck in Park?

To fix the gear shift stuck in park problem, you must first investigate the cause carefully.

Note: Automatic transmission vehicles have one of the most sensitive parts, and working on the cause of a problem without experience can cause the entire transmission to fail. That’s why you should contact a certified vehicle technician at the very beginning to troubleshoot this problem without experience.

  • First of all, any fuse or relay related to the interlock should be checked; if you find any of these faulty, then the fuse or relay will have to be replaced.
  • Next, check the brake switch to troubleshoot the gear shift stuck in, if the brake switch is faulty, replace it with a new one.
  • After that, check the shifter interlock solenoid, and if you also find it faulty, then the shifter interlock solenoid should be replaced with a new one.
  • Next, the ignition switch should be checked; if it is found to be faulty, it should be considered for replacement.
  • To troubleshoot this problem, you should check the shifter cable. A faulty shifter cable can also cause the gear shift to get stuck in park.
  • You should contact a qualified vehicle mechanic to investigate and eliminate the cause of the mechanical problem associated with the gear shift stuck in park.


Q. What should you do if your gear shift is stuck in neutral?

If your car’s gear shift is stuck in neutral mode, then to solve this problem, first turn off the engine and try to change all the gears. But it doesn’t always work. It may be due to some mechanical fault in the automatic transmission, and to fix this problem, you will have to contact a mechanic or your dealership.

Q. What’s the problem if the gear gets stuck?

If your car is having trouble shifting gears or the gear shift is stuck, the main cause of this type of problem is a low transmission fluid level or a faulty shift solenoid, which causes gear shifting problems.

Q. How much does it cost to fix a stuck gear shift?

In fact, the cost of a stuck gear shift depends on part failure and replacement. If the problem is a loose shifter linkage, you may pay between $50 and $75 to fix it. If the shifter cable is broken, its replacement will cost between $125 and $250. However, it will cost you more to fix the solenoid or any other mechanical failure.

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