By September 2, 2008 Read More →

Can’t Shift out of Park

I have a Ford Explorer and just a few months ago this started. The gear shifter will not move from Park into anything except when I turn off the truck and move it into (neutral, drive etc). If vehicle is on, shifter will not move at all.

The first 10 times maybe it did, after about 10 mins of trying, I finally realized to move it into gear while off. Any ideas whats wrong or the price it will cost to fix?


Hummmmm Joline,

OK…..I think you stumped me. I think my best GUESS would be to try a new brake light switch, located under the drivers side dash area. These switches are pretty cheap and can usually be purchased at your local auto parts store. There is a shifter interlock mechanism located inside the steering column that prevents you from shifting from park if you are not stepping on the brake pedal.

I would first check to see if your brake lights are working, and I would check to see if the switch is sending power to this shift interlock mechanism. Sometimes swapping out a cheap part is cheaper and faster than trying to properly diagnose the problem. I have also seen bad brake light bulbs cause a similar problem, but that was on a newer model vehicle, but it still would not hurt to check all your brake light bulbs FIRST and replace any that are out or suspect.


Austin Davis


Reader Follow Up

No my brake lights dont work and have went out sometime ago, probably around the same time, if I remember correctly


Hey there again,

Go buy two brake light bulbs from your local auto supply and replace yours…..if your brake lights still dont work replace your brake light switch under the driver dashboard.

Fix your brake lights and your shifter problem should go away

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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