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Hot topics: Car stuck in the park

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Original Post: Car stuck in the park, shifter will not move

jon_k – Visiting guest

Model: 1997 Ford Taurus GL

Hi, I have this Taurus and it has this really bad problem. Let me spill the whole story. A while back, a problem arose where after I released the emergency brake, the car would not shift from park to any other gear. It is as if the changer was stuck and would not give way. I worked on it with so much force that I actually broke the plastic column for the gear. I called a tractor, and he managed to get the car in neutral to take pepboys to repair. They repaired the pillar and the changeover cable.

Now, once again, the problem arose again. I came home from 7-1

1, and then shortly after (30 seconds) I got back in the car to go somewhere else. The problem reappeared. I called my dad to come out and try it, and it worked well when he tried it (about 5 minutes before he got there)

Now the problem has appeared a third time, and I can not make it change. I released the emergency brake and the column got stuck in the Park. The damn thing will NOT change! I even took a stone and pushed the car up a bit and put it behind the tire and then tried to change, but without stress on the parking break I still can not get it to change.

This is a real problem because it has front wheel drive, and the only way to access the car in the driveway is from behind, which means we have to ruin something to pull it off.

If anyone has the most vague idea (even if you do not think you are qualified to answer) I would be very appreciative.


I had a 97 taurus and if I remember correctly, when you step on the brake pedal while you are in the park, there is a mechanical sound (brake gear lock I think) that sounds as if it releases something that allows the gear to move. You may have a bad brake light button. Do the brake lights work when you have the problem?

jon_k – Thread starter

“I had a 97 taurus and if I remember correctly, when you step on the brake pedal while in the park, there is a mechanical sound (I think the brake shift lock) sounds as if it releases something that allows the gear to move. You can “Have a bad brake light switch. Do the brake lights work when you have the problem?”

They towed it, he snapped against the hood and the car shifted right to neutral. (How would something similar work in a mysterious way after hitting the hood?) He said he would rather go ahead and pull it because he is not sure if it would continue to work.

I just wish we knew what to suggest to pepboys so they could diagnose it better. The brake lights work well, even if I do not hear an audible click when I press the brake pedal.

michael vanMember

safety switch

Do you remember if you had to put your foot on the brake to shift? I think so, but still there is an electric switch when you press the brakes that allow you to shift. This was to prevent children from changing cars in gear when stupid parents left children in the car and it went.

I’m not sure what year this safety device became mandatory.


I think the vintage ox has one of the switches that does not allow you to shift gears if you do not wear shoes

It is one of those security features

I assume there is a switch under the brake pedal, as if the clutch safety switch would be under the clutch pedal

Michael vanMember

more information

I found out that this system started in 1991. I’m not sure how it works. I’m sure there’s more than the switch in the brake blade. There must be a device that locks the gearbox or gear selector.


I have the same thing on my 95 Intrepid. You must have the brake depressed to shift. Sometimes I have to move the steering wheel too. I do not know why. I turn the steering wheel and it shifts as long as I depress the brake.


From Hayne’s manual:

“An actuator solenoid and module unit, located on the lower part of the steering column, lock the gear in Park when it receives a signal that the ignition switch is in the ON position. When the module receives a signal from the brake on-off (BOO) switch indicating that the brake pedal is depressed, it unlocks the gear so that it can be moved out of the park. “

It says that the most common faults in the system are the fuse and the BOO switch, and if they are good, special tools are needed to diagnose.

To deactivate the system: Apply the parking brake, turn the ignition key to LOCK and then remove the key. Insert the key and turn it off. Press the brake pedal. Shift to neutral, start the vehicle and select the desired gear.

This is all from Hayne’s manual.

It can also be caused by parking the car on a hill. The parking hook can get stuck when the car rolls forwards or backwards after parking it. The best, if so, is to park the car, but on the parking brake, then shift to park. When you want to drive it, release the parking brake only when the car is in gear.

jon_k – Thread starter

Had it been towed, luckily it went to Neutral when the towing man arrived. It turns out that the wiring system wiring was bad.

Torus has a (STUPID TRACK RECORD STUPID.) Safety system that ensures that the pause is pressed before you switch. I knew about this, but of course I always took the break before switching.

I guess (ENGINEERS) designed it like this, so if any guy without legs tried to drive, it would not come back from the driveway when the amputees tried to shift. (Stupid yet?)

The interlock is a relay switch and the wires that go to the relay had gone bad. Hence why it worked sometimes, other times not. Luckily it worked for the tow truck guy, otherwise we would have it towed in the park (can you say ruined transmission?)

Thanks for all your answers. Hooray for stupid technology!

Michael vanMember

good deal

Glad you found the problem. As far as building all new cars with auto has this federal law. It seems that some stupid parents left the children in the car and when the children switched well, you know the result.

LAW SUIT city so they fixed it with the locking system.


sorry to revive this but to bypass the shift lock, turn the key only a small pass where the insertion point is.

multitruckhomeVisiting guest

possible answear but you have probably tried it already

Try to hold down your drive brake (not the parking brake) properly while shifting the gear lever, I also have a 95 Taurus and discovered it completely by mistake, hope it helps, hey.


temporary brute-force way to take 94 sable wagon auto xmsn out of the park

Remove the console cover.

While pressing the button on the gear and pulling the gear, use wrench to slide some piece of metal (it’s on the passenger side of the gear – it that moves when you press a button) away from the gear.

When you are out of the park, use neutral with parking brake instead of parking.

If it is accidentally put in the park, repeat the above.

Cross 396 – Former member

“The interlock is a relay switch, and the wires going to the relay had gone bad.”

I have a real problem with the above. Both the switch and the circuit (wires) will not fail at the same time. There is a strong possibility that the person who made the repair did not take into account TSB who is looking for this issue. For that matter, the person who did the repair may not even know what a TSB is. I no longer have access to TSBs and recalls, but I clearly remember using TSBs to repair the problem you are describing. I also clearly remember that TSB DOES NOT REQUIRE A REPLACEMENT OR RELAY. TSB simply requires the installation of a NEW UPDATED WIRE HARNESS that solves the problem.

You should really get in touch with the individual who made the repair to see if the repair was done in accordance with TSB.

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