1997 Jeep Cherokee Sport

Why does my 1997 Jeep Cherokee Sport not start in park but only in neutral?

Due to a bad neutral safety switch. These switches prevent power to the starter solenoid if th gear shift is not in park or neutral. But, they can break or wear out.

Because the contacts for the park position of the park/neutral safety switch are worn out.

Replace the P/N safety switch, and it’ll start in park again.


Neutral safety switch failure is a known problem in Cherokees of this vintage. You can have the switch replaced for $200+ or take it apart, clean and lubricate it for free. The problem is that the grease gets hard with age and the contacts no longer make contact. If you have even slight mechanical ability, go to naxja.org and search “neutral safety switch” for the procedure. I recently did mine and it eliminated all the problems, including the P0700 and P0705 codes that were showing up.