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1998 camry stuck in park

1998 camry (87000) got stuck in park about a month ago … it came out of park after about 5 minutes of tugging … i researched and found out about the button on the console… it happened again yesterday … i pressed the button and all worked smoothly again after that … any ideas on what causes it and what the future (groan) holds for this problem ?

There’s an interlock solenoid at the shift lever that releases the lever when the brake pedal is depressed via an interlock switch. If the interlock switch at the brake pedal is defective it won’t activate the interlock solenoid at the shift lever. Or, what can sometimes happen is debris collects on the interlock solenoid below the console where it sticks and doesn’r release the shift lever. The first thing to try is gain access to the interlock solenoid and make sure there’s nothing preventing it from functioning and then clean it with an electrical cleaner. If this doesn’t fix it, then suspect the interlock switch or the interlock solenoid.

Tester