CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Ford F-150 Neutral Safety Switch

I have a 2005 Ford F-150 with over 200k miles on it. I recently replaced the neutral safety switch but still encountering problems. It still will not turn over unless in neutral instead of park. I had no issues 2 days after I left my local mechanic. The part is a Motorcraft. I purchased it from O’Reilly and had my mechanic install it. Any thoughts as to why I’m still having this issue?

Difficult to know what is to blame here…a bad part or a bad installation.Mechanics usually give a warranty for the installation.

My first thought was bad connection, but it is an older truck after all. I’ll check with the mechanic and go from there. Thank you for giving me something to consider.

This time let the mechanic determine what is wrong and don’t furnish the parts yourself. If the mechanic does the work and supplies parts then you have a warranty . By furnishing the part he does not have to do anything for free.

I completely agree with you on that. Luckily, the shop I take it to offers me warranty on the labor. But, I’ll be sure to follow-up since they’ve been good to me in the past.

It seems there is a limited amount of adjustability, as far as the switch goes. I mean you might have to snug up the bolts, so that you can still just barely swivel the switch. Then experiment until you find the position at which the truck starts every time in neutral AND park. Then tighten down the bolts for real

How much slop is in your shifter . . . ?

Please be honest . . . there are lots of things to wear out, such as the shifter tube bushings, the straps, there’s a few springs, tubes and so forth. And sometimes the whole assembly needs to be replaced. With over 200K miles on your truck, I’d be surprised if it’s nice and tight

Depending on how sloppy it is, that can affect transmission operation, including whether the engine is allowed to start or not

Before I took it in, the shifter was loose and difficult to find the right gear, especially when putting it in reverse or drive. The mechanic told me he tightened up the linkage and now everything is fine. He did notice some wear but nothing for concern.

What is the problem with just starting your truck in neutral? A 15 years old truck with 200,000.miles is allowed some idiosyncrasies. I would just drive on

1 Like

Well, I’ve had this long and it has been a true work horse. When it does finally die, I’ll give it a Viking funeral.

Sounds like some serious slop, to be blunt

Well, what did he he do/replace to “tighten up the linkage” . . . ?!

I’m not sure I’m in agreement there. I’ve seen sloppy shifters cause all sorts of problems, including not being able to start the vehicle properly

On the one hand, the most effective course of action might be to replace the entire shift tube and just get it over and done with

But it might start . . . but not properly and not reliably . . . for awhile longer, with no action taken

I’m not much of a gearhead myself. But, I’m only going on my limited knowledge and passing along what I was told. I do know there’s a lot to be done on it but I can only fix what I can between paychecks. I will keep your suggestions and ask the shop when I bring it in again. I appreciate you trying to help me.

1 Like