Button next to the gear shift?

I’ve discovered a small white button next to the gear shift, I want to know what it’s for. Not on the gear shift, it’s not the O/D, but it’s on the shift selector, right above “P”. It was covered by a small lid so I could never open it before but I just got my car back from the shop and it seems they’ve opened it and didn’t put the lid back on. *


What kind of vehicle (vaguely looks like a Subaru outback to me…)? Just a guess, but I know some AWD vehicles have a button of some variety to disable the AWD system if you need to use the donut spare.

Lexus ES 300! kinda old, year 2000. thanks for replying!

It is used for diagnostic purposes only. It allows the technician to move the gear selector through all the positions without the key in the on position or foot on the brake. It is mostly useful when working on the dash board when you have to move the gear selector in order to remove something from the dash and the stick is in the way.

Edit: it comes in handy for moving the stick from park to neutral so the vehicle can be pushed or hauled up onto the flat bed for towing.

Edit 2: the info can be found in the owners manual but probably back in the maintenance section or towing section.

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Wrong variety of faux wood trimming! And I’m going to defer to @keith now, the the ES is front wheel drive :wink:

Shift lock override button:

If you cannot shift the selector lever out of “P” position to
other positions even though the brake pedal is depressed,
use the shift lock override button as follows:
1 Turn the ignition key to “LOCK”. Make sure the parking
brake is applied.
2 Pry up the cover with a flat−bladed screwdriver or equivalent.
3 Push down the shift lock override button. You can shift out
of “P” position only while pushing the button.
4 Shift into “N” position.
Insert the cover. Start the engine. For your safety, keep
the brake pedal depressed.
Be sure to have the system checked by your Lexus dealer as soon as possible


Twin Turbo gave the correct answer, and the OP can confirm it by simply reading the appropriate section of her Owner’s Manual.

what’s THAT . . . ?! :smirk_cat:

You know… the booklet that is still encased in a plastic over-wrap, and has rested–undisturbed–in the glove box of this Lexus for the past 19 years.


Helps resale. :grinning:

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Edit: Ok don’t want to offend. Thing is, newcomers, offended or not, are unlikely to return anyway.

I don’t think this type of comment (and the preceding one you’re replying to) is in keeping with the type of experience we’d like our newcomers to have.

Elizabeth must run the gauntlet Miss Carolyn. We have ZERO tolerance here you know.

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I wish I had known about that button when my rental car wouldn’t shift out of P. Happened some years ago on holiday trip, I was parked next to a huge cactus out in the remote southern calif desert, temp around 100 degrees … lol … .

It wouldn’t have bothered me that much, eventually somebody would come along, but my partner wasn’t a happy camper. Finally I noticed the rental car had pasted a sticker on the lower part of the dashboard: “Notice: you must press on the brake pedal to shift out of P”

Most cars I’ve seen have a way to do that. The Honda types have a little key slot with a cover that you stick the key in to over-ride the interlock. Maybe they use that for diagnostics too, I dunno. Way back we rented a Gremlin and for the life of us couldn’t figure out how to get the key out then finally figured out there was a button to push first. Rental cars don’t have the manual in the glove box much but I have found them with the spare tire. Guess they don’t want anyone messing with them. One Ford I rented I had to go on line to get the manual to figure some quirk out.

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