Car stuck in park at random

For many years I have had trouble getting my car out of park. The car is a 1994 Honda Civic that works well in all other ways. When it happens, I simply put the key into the slot to manually release the transmission from park (I also use this when I leave the lights on and discharge the battery). The failure to come out of park happens in a random fashion. Sometimes it happens once and then I don’t have a problem for a month or more. Other times, it happens every time I start the car for an entire week. It began very gradually while I was still taking it to the dealership and they were not enthusiastic about trying to clean it. I have since been taking it to an independent mechanic who has removed the dirt to fix this problem. After he cleaned it, the problem went away for several months. In early November it began to happen again and it continues to be a problem. Is it possible that I am having problems because he is a Republican and he knows that I listen to NPR?

“…trying to clean it…removed the dirt to fix this problem. After he cleaned it…”

Ok - I’ll bite. What is the “it” that is being cleaned? Removed “the dirt”? From where?

Its a good thing I probably know what is happening.

There is a little blocking device that keeps you from moving the shifter out of park if the brake isn’t depressed. When you step on the brake the brake switch sends a signal to a little motor of some kind that moves the blocking device out of the way so that you can shift. (Does your shifter have a button that won’t push in? That’s b/c the little motor isn’t moving the little blocker. When you stick your key into whatever you are moving it manually).

Anyway. Your mechanic knows what the issue is. It just needs to be fixed. The problem could be at the brake switch. In the connections/wiring between the brake switch & little motor, or at the little motor itself. The mechanic needs to figure it out and repair/replace.

The next time it happens, check if your brake lights are working. If not, then the problem is the switch above the brake pedal that determines that it’s being pressed.