2006.5 Kia Optima stuck in park and indicator shows R for Reverse

2006.5 Kia Optima stuck in park and indicator shows R for Reverse. The car roles as if in neutral. Since the car thinks it is in Reverse, I assume this is why the car will not start even though the shifter itself is in Park.

Sounds like an easy fix for a mechanic. He will have to be there to see what’s broken. ADDED: knfenimore shows me the value of research below.

Put the shifter in reverse and it should actualy be in neutral. Put your foot on the brake and the car should start. Put the shifter in neutral for drive or park for reverse and you can drive it to a shop to get fixed/

There is a recall on shift cable that would be fixed for free.

Model Optima[MG]

Group Automatic Transaxle(52)

Number KT2007082001

Date Monday, August 20, 2007

Area N. America

Optima (MG) Shift Cable Detachment

  • Description

In some 2006.5 - 2007 MY Optima’s built between 12/09/05 and 4/10/07, Customers may experience a condition in which it is impossible to select or engage drive gears. If so, the shift cable may have been installed incorrectly, which over time could cause the cable end to detach from the shifter assembly’s dowel pin.

The cable end is designed to be installed on the dowel pin with the serrated portion of the cable end in the “UP” position. See photo below. If cable is disconnected and the serrated portion of the cable end is pointing down, the cable end will have to be rotated 180 degrees before re-installing. Follow repair procedure below. Note: vehicles build after 4/10/07 are equipped with a feature on cable and shifter assembly that prevent incorrect installation.

Repair Procedure:

  1. Remove center console

  2. Inspect cable end and bushing for damage or abnormal wear. Replace cable assembly only if necessary; otherwise proceed with cable end re-installation.

  3. Position cable end so that serrated portion is “up”. Do not twist or “wind up” cable. To rotate cable end, first disconnect the cable from the gear selector linkage on the transmission.

  4. Reinstall cable onto dowel, reconnect other end to transmission linkage and verify adjustment and function.

  5. Reinstall center console.

The recall was “repaired” two years ago. Brake lights work. Activate shift lock release and shifter moves freely. Dash says “R” for reverse no matter what I do. The car is actually in neutral no matter what I do because it rolls, even when the shifter is in Park.

Ty! It was the linkage. It is installed correctly, but they put it in with about 15 degrees of twist which put pressure on the plastic clip holding the linkage to the shifter assembly and that clip broke off. I put the linkage back on and the car works now. Problem: what to do about this cheap plastic clip. I am thinking of putting a washer with some JB Weld to hold the linkage in place because I bet the dealer will want hundreds for a part that comes with the clip.