Help! Car shifter is locked


Automatic car shifter locked in parking position. Anybody know what would cause this?


Can you start the car?


bad brake switch. bad ignition switch. I’d say more, but you neglected to tell us anything about the car.


The car started. The brakes have been recently replaced. I put my foot on the brake while trying to shift; but, no luck. The car is a 99 Jetta. Any chance it is related to transmission?


Sounds like a faulty Neutral/Park switch. It operates a solenoid that will prevent you from moving the shifter out of part.


It could be, but since you just had your brakes done, any chance the pedal doesn’t go as far to the floor as it used to? There is a switch by the brake pedal near the hinge point that allows you to shift out of park when you press on the brake. If the brake pedal is higher now, that switch may need adjusting.


VW had a recall on the brake light switch. Contact them.
~Michael (Dartman69)


Here’s a test to try. Have someone sit in the car and hit the brakes. Do the brake lights come on? If not, then prime suspect is the brake light switch. That is usually how the transmission interlock knows you have your foot on the brake, by detecting brake light voltage. If brake lights work, then it’s likely the solenoid. Check you owner’s manual closely, or maybe call the dealer, there should be a manual release lever/button near the shifter that will let you get it out of park to drive to have it serviced.


Darn no-edit BB software . . .

I forgot, if the brake lights don’t work be sure to check the fuses. A blown fuse could cause this also.