5 Reasons Your Car Won’t Shift Out of Park and How to Fix It

Imagine trying to leave your driveway on a snowy morning, only to find that your car won’t shift out of park. Or, you’re driving along the highway and attempt to switch lanes, only to realize that your car is stuck in park. In either case, it can be a frustrating experience.

There are a few reasons why your car might not shift out of park. It could be something as simple as the brake light switch not being engaged. Or, it could be a more serious issue like a problem with the transmission.

If you’re having trouble shifting your car out of park, here are five possible reasons why:

1. The Parking Brake Is Engaged

One of the most common reasons why a car won’t shift out of park is because the parking brake is engaged. If your car has an automatic transmission, there’s a switch on the brake pedal that prevents the car from shifting out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed.

If your parking brake is engaged, simply depress the brake pedal and try shifting into gear again. If that doesn’t work, check to see if the parking brake light on your dash is illuminated. If it is, there may be a problem with the switch itself.

2. There’s a Problem with the Shifter Itself

Another possible reason why your car won’t shift out of park is because there’s a problem with the shifter itself. Over time, the shifter can become worn down or damaged. This can make it difficult to shift into the proper gear.

If you suspect that there’s a problem with the shifter, try wiggling it back and forth while depressing the brake pedal. If that doesn’t work, you may need to have the shifter replaced.

3. The Transmission Filter Is Clogged

Another possible reason for shifting problems is a clogged transmission filter. The filter prevents debris and contaminants from entering the transmission. Over time, it can become clogged, which can restrict the flow of fluid and cause shifting problems.

If you suspect that your transmission filter is clogged, take your car to an auto repair shop and have it checked. If the filter is indeed clogged, it will need to be replaced.

4. The Car Is Low on Transmission Fluid

If your car is low on transmission fluid, it can cause shifting problems. Transmission fluid is what lubricates the gears in your transmission. Without enough fluid, the gears can grind against each other and cause damage.

If you suspect that your car is low on transmission fluid, check the level using the dipstick. If it’s low, add more fluid until it reaches the proper level.

5. The Fuse Is Blown

Another possible reason why your car won’t shift out of park is because the fuse is blown. The fuse provides power to the shifting mechanism. If it’s blown, the mechanism won’t be able to engage and the car won’t shift out of park.

To check if the fuse is blown, locate the fuse panel and look for a blown fuse. If you see one, replace it with a new fuse of the same amperage.

By keeping an eye out for these five potential problems, you can quickly diagnose and fix the issue if your car ever gets stuck in park.