1999 Monte Carlo won't shift out of park



My gear shift has stuck a few seconds on occasion. Yesterday it took 5min. I jammed on the brake, jiggled the handle, nothing worked… then suddenly it released. My husband’s leaving soon and I’m scared to get stuck with my kids somewhere. I can’t afford much, so I’d like suggestions where to start.


Check the owner’s manual. Many vehicles have an emergency procedure to override the brake-shift interlock. I do not recommend using the override on a daily basis to avoid fixing the interlock, but it’s nice to know how it works if you need it in an emergency.

I suggest you have the interlock mechanism checked by a mechanic. Sometimes a simple adjustment or replacement of the brake light switch will fix it. Other times it’s a bit more complex.

Make sure your brake lights are working, too, because if the brake light switch is causing the problem it may also be preventing the brake lights from operating, and that would not be good.


Update: My car wouldn’t come out of park yesterday at all. Yes, the brake lights still worked. The “override” procedure in the manual didn’t work. It said to turn the key to “off”, press the brake, shift to neutral and start the car. I could not shift to neutral. My husband lifted the panel under the gear shift, found and manually disengaged the mechanism that holds the shifter locked until the brake pedal is depressed. Apparently something’s wrong with the “signal” from the brake pedal to the shifter. The other lock is still in place that locks it if the key isn’t turned. Not a long term solution but I simply can’t afford a mechanic for at least another month, and this gets me to work til then. Hubby will probably fix himself when he returns in 3 weeks. Thanks for the advice.


Reminds me of something dumb I did the other day at the dentist’s office. The key wouldn’t turn. I messed with the shifter, pressed on the brake, but no luck. Finally it came to me, oh, yeah, dummy, on my 2002 Sienna the steering wheel also interlocks the key, sigh. So, I pulled on the steering wheel and the key turned. Blush.