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Daughter's 96 Taurus Won't Shift Out of Park

96 Taurus GL wagon, 3.0L Vulcan, auto trans. Daughter reports via cellphone the gear shift lever will not move out of the park position. She is reluctant to force it, and is unsure if that would work or cause further damage. She has the brake pedal pressed as she is supposed to. The steering wheel is not locked, it turns freely. She has shut engine down and re-tried several times. Still the gear shift will not move out of the Park position so the car is stuck. Any ideas?

Try turning the key to the run position but don’t crank the endine. depress the brake pedal and try to put it in neutral. If this workd then it should start in neutral. If so its the brake switch.

On my wife’s car in cold weather, she just “rocks” the steering wheel back and forth a little, and the car will shift in gear. This may nor=tw ork on every car, but try it anyway.

Just a hint, in the future, if she is in the habit of stopping putting the car in park and walking away, she could be the cause of the problem. The proper method is to stop put the parking brake solidly on (some people mistakenly call it an emergency brake) and then put the transmission into park.

On some cars I have been able to have someone rock the car when another moves the shift.

Thanks for the input, everybody. As always I really appreciate it. Per Dralphson’s advice below she got it to start in neutral. So once I get home I’ll check and see if the brake light switch or shift lock solenoid is the cause of the problem. And Mr. Meehan, thanks for the wisdom. I have been preaching to my driving kids (with varying degrees of success) the need to always apply the parking brake so as not to stress the trans/parking pawl, and linkages. I will redouble my efforts along those lines.

Season’s greetings, everyone, and thanks again.

We are all happy when we hear back that something worked.