Why Am I Having Difficulty Shifting My Automatic Transmission Out of Park?

Posted On February 13th, 2018

When shifting into the automatic transmission from the park setting is difficult the situation is concerning. Drivers may feel as though their cars are going to jolt forward. The problem could be your shift interlock feature, a linkage that connects the lever to the shift, or the cable, causing it to malfunction.

When the interlock switch is worn and is making it difficult for you to shift from park to drive it likely happens when the car is cold. There may be goo gummed up which is causing the difficulty. When the car is warm, the goo melts down and becomes softer, and it is easier to shift. It will need to be repaired.

If you cannot get it out of the park, there is likely a small cover next to the shifter that can be pried off and a screwdriver inserted to press down the mechanism to release the lock. If the car is one that shifts on the column look to the top of the steering column for the release. You may need to get out your owner’s manual to find out where exactly the release is located.

If the car is low in transmission fluid, it could also cause difficulty shifting out of Park. Check your transmission fluid.

If you are parking the car on an incline, there is a heavier load on the transmission parking pawl (this is the bar that engages teeth in the transmission gear so that the car does not roll). When you do not set the parking brake before taking your foot off the brake pedal, it could cause the difficulty.

When the car’s weight rolls onto the parking pawl, it will be harder to take the car out of the Park position. When parking on an incline, engage the brake before shifting to the Park position or release the brake pedal should make it easier. By engaging the brake before shifting it will put the weight of the car onto the brake and not the transmission pawl, which should make it easier to shift.

While you can travel far before changing your transmission fluid, you will, at some point, need to change your fluid. You will need to check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Typically, it is sometime around 50,000 or more. Transmission fluid is a fluid that will deteriorate over time. If you are hard on your vehicle, such as towing heavy loads, it will deteriorate quicker. The transmission fluid should be checked regularly. Typically, the fluid is red, and as it begins to deteriorate, it will get darker, and there may be a smell something like a burned odor, which is an indication that it needs to be changed. Also, if there is dirt or debris in the fluid, this is another indication that the fluid needs to be changed. It will be necessary to check your owner’s manual for the interval schedule to change your transmission fluid. While checking the transmission fluid interval schedule, familiarise yourself with the car by reading the manual from cover to cover as there is a great deal of information in the manual for the car.

Car owners that would like to sell their cars can do so at Car Wreckers Adelaide. We provide quotes for cars over the phone and online. Call us at the number below or visit our homepage to complete our “Get a Quote” form located at the top right of the page.

Call us at 0477 413 136.