1998 subaru forester (frozen shifter)

It takes over 10 min to get the shifter out of park on cold mornings only!!!

5 months!!!

car is started… brake is pressd hard enough…botton on shifter pressed … but for 10-15 min nothing… THEN … a sound under the left side of the steering coluum as if the switch finaly woke up… this only happens on cold mornings!!! not all spring or summer fall…it has to be under 35 or so?? help

You have tolerated this for 5 months?

Anyway, if you open your Owner’s Manual, it will give you information on the shift lock release that is located on your center console, adjacent to the shift lever. There may be a small cover that needs to be removed, or the release might not have a small cover, but once you locate the shift lock release, simply inserting a standard screwdriver into its slot will release the shift lock while you simultaneously move the shift lever. For the specifics regarding your model, the Owner’s Manual will give you instructions, as well as a small graphic showing the location of the shift lock release.

I strongly suggest that you shut off the engine and apply the parking brake before doing this, since you need both hands to accomplish this while keeping the brake pedal firmly pressed. Just move the shift lever to the neutral position, and you can restart the engine from that position before shifting to “Drive”.

If you don’t want to have to go through this procedure every time that temperatures are low, you should have this repaired, especially since it is a cheap repair job. And, by the way–Now don’t you wish that you had read that Owner’s Manual previously, rather than subjecting yourself to this situation for 5 months?

what is the repair job?? the manual way sounds great!!.. but what is the real problem??? thank you!!
I will try it tonight when my wife brings the car home.

The shifter interlock uses the brake light switch to activate a solenoid that clears the interlock. The first step is make sure the brake lights are coming on when you step on the pedal. If they come on, listen for the solenoid operating when you step on the pedal. You probably will have to leave the engine ‘off’ but the key in the ‘run’ position so you can hear the ‘thunk’. You might get accostomed to what it should sound like by trying this first when the interlock is working correctly. If the brake lights are coming ‘on’ but the solenoid is not sounding, the plunger and/or mechanism may need to cleaned up and lightly oiled.

Hope that helps. Get back to us if we can help further.

thank you, does it make any sense that this only happens in cold weather. it works fine in the warm months