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2007 Chevy Aveo has multiple issues with the parking feature

This is my girlfriend’s car and it has been a pain in the butt recently. It actually has three problems, I will mention that her horn does not work at the moment, in case it is somehow relevant, we have gotten that fixed a couple times as well. The car only has 40,000 miles on it, as for awhile she was unable to drive it due to not having money for insurance.

The first issue is one we are working around until we can get it into a mechanic. The key will turn in the ignition, but not all the way to the lock area, which is necessary to get the key out of the ignition. In order to remove the key, we have to pull back on the gearshift and turn the key at the same time. There is a small box next to the shift that normally shows white underneath it. When I pull back on the shift it changes color mostly to red. I am assuming the shift is just out of position a bit and so the car does not think its in park.

The second issue is one she can’t do. This morning I had to drive her into work because the car would not come out of park. I managed to figure out a workaround but I don’t want to keep doing this as I’m afraid it could damage the car, and she does not have the strength to do this anyway. In order to get the car out of park, I have to push down on the shift, (as normal), but also pull it back towards me and then give it a hard jerk to the right. This normally works, but I just want to emphasize, it requires way more force to wrench it out than it does normally. It doesn’t get any easier doing it multiple times.

The other thing to mention is that once I get it out of park, it shifts between the other gears just fine, as smooth as it always has. It’s just getting it out of park that is extremely difficult.

Any ideas what is going on? Her car is apparently notorious for electrical issues, but I’m not sure what exactly is going on here. I thought maybe she spilled something down inside the shift itself, but I feel like were it stuck like that, once I had “broken” the debris from around it, it would move easier, even if it wasn’t as easy as it should be. But its the same difficulty to move every time.

There is a safety solenoid in the column that reacts to a switch in the shift linkage to allow the key to go to the “lock” position. It’s there to prevent you from accidentally locking the steering wheel should you have to turn the engine off while rolling in an emergency. In your case, it sounds like the device in your shift linkage that tells the solenoid circuit that the tranny is in Park has become worn.

However, your second problem suggests that perhaps the linkage itself is out of adjustment, causing both problems. Any reputable tranny shop should be able to correct this very affordably.

The continued use of force could result in repairs being more expensive. Have it looked at.

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This should be a fairly simple thing* thing to for a shop to diagnose & fix. It’s not an uncommon complaint here, not on your car in particular, but w/automatic transmission equipped cars in general. I think there may be a brake pedal involvement with this too. Do you normally have to step on the brakes to shift out of Park?

  • but not necessarily inexpensive