2008 Nissan Rogue Shifter Problem

I have a 2008 Nissan Rogue that is experiencing a shifter problem. The problem is that periodically the shifter will not go from the “park” position to the “drive” position after the car is started and your foot is on the brake. I have been able to drive the car by inserting a small screwdriver into the slot on the gear shift assembly to depress the switch that allows you to override the mechanism but as you can imagine that is tedious and what do you do if suddenly the screwdriver is lost - you go nowhere and you can’t even get to store to buy another one because the car won’t move!

I have had the car into the dealer twice now and they have been unable to correctly diagnose the shifter problem. They have said that it could be a failed solenoid that senses the brake pedal being depressed but so far that has checked out fine. They also thought that it may be a brake sensor and they asked me to keep an eye on the brake lights to see if they come on when the brake pedal is depressed and the lights do come on so they believe that is not an issue. They “repositioned” the shift assembly in the car center console thinking that it may be an improper position and they tightened it down into place but that has not corrected the problem either. They now tell me that the entire shift assembly needs to be replaced at a cost of $670.00 and I find that hard to believe let alone pay for!

The car has about 70,000 mile on it and it was recently in an accident (Thank you my lovely daughter!) that did deploy some side airbags and I am wondering too if the accident may have damaged the assembly in some way that caused the malfunction where the repairs may be covered by my insurance company. This has only started after the accident repairs were made and we never had a problem like this prior to that event.

If you have any suggestions I would appreciate your advice.

Thank you!

Well, don’t let them replace the entire assy - that’s just a shotgun approach - kind of like tearing down the whole house because you can’t find a plumbing leak.

They gave you the two most likely possibilities - brake light switch or brake-shifter interlock solenoid. One or both of those is intermittently unhappy. Of course, the problem is that you have to be able to check it at a time when its not working. Find a good, local, independent mechanic - mom&pop type of operation. Ask them to look it over. If you’re handy at all perhaps someone will show you how you might check some things when it does act up. Weird as it may sound, if this was happening to, say, the van my wife drives I’d probably rig up a little test light at the solenoid connector so that the next time it happened she could tell me whether the little light lit up or not. (Yes would point to solenoid problem. No would point to brake light switch problem).

Are the problems at all related to something common such as temperature or moisture? Did the dealer’s shop at least try to clean the solenoid & its connections?

I have no idea if this could be related to the accident since one would need a whole lot of info about it. I’m assuming it went thru a body shop & they’d be the best people to ask. I’d mention that someone should check the shift linkage, but if a screwdriver in the interlock mechanism makes it shift then that does point directly to the interlock.

Along with cig’s comment, you may be able to pop the cover off where you now put the screw driver into - Not absolutely positive on your particular car but they are often just held in with clips and one can usually carefully pry them up.

Once off, you should see something near that screwdriver hole move when you press the brake pedal while in Park. That’s the interlock solenoid.
It could very well be that the connector to it got jostled loose by the accident.

Edit: While I’m waiting for my PC to finish something for me, I downloaded the service manual to your car.
On TM.pdf page 39 there’s a description of your interlocking mechanism. There’s also a cable going from the lock to the shift lever that could be at issue, I guess.