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Locked Shifter: What To Do When Your Gear Lever Can’t Shift From Park Position



locked shifter

locked shifter

There are times when you would want to shift your automatic gear lever from park (P) to other positions but it wouldn’t move. It just seems the lever is stuck in that park position.

The lever may not shift even after applying more pressure to it.

When you find yourself in this condition, don’t force it. There are procedures you can follow to get you out of the situation.

One of the reasons why the gear selector won’t move is because the shifter is locked. Another reason it won’t move is if the shifter cable is broken.

Your automatic gear selector can get locked sometimes but there is an easy way to get it fixed when the problem is locked selector.

Follow these simple steps to use shift lock release when the gear selector isn’t shifting.


  • First thing is to engage the parking brake,
  • Remove the key from ignition.
  • Find the shifter lock override slot. This is usually close to the lever plugged with a plastic cap.
  • Remove the plastic cap and push down the button inside the slot. This can be done with a flathead screwdriver or any other pointed object.
  • As you’re pushing down the override button, step on the brake pedal and move the shifter away from the park (P) position usually into neutral (N) position.

The lock shifter button will also come handy if you need to push a car especially when the key is not available to turn on the ignition. However, this button is not available in every car.

Tell us if this button is in your car and if you’ve used it before.

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Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.