Ignition Switch unresponsive, gear shifer shifs gear without brake being depressed

I have a 1998 Mazda Protege LX Automatic, and my ignition switch is completely unresponsive: when on accessory or run position nothing comes on.

I am also noticing that I can switch gears even with the key out and brake pedal not depressed.

I tried to check the function of the ignition switch, and found the following:

  1. It has one white wire with 3.5v
  2. When the switch is in Acc position, a black wire with white stripe also has 3.5V on it now
  3. WHen the switch is in On position, all the wires going into the Switch have 3.5V on them

Thanks in advance for the help.

Thats odd bec the shift solenoid will fail in the locked position…its rare or impossible that it will die in the unlocked position. Its spring loaded and will rest in the lock position…its needs power to energize the electromagnetic solenoid to overcome the spring tension and unlock the shifter.

Open up your shifter area and see whats up… Spill a large Coke all over the shifter lately?


Yea, them “Big Gulps” will gum things up pretty fast. I’ve had to spray a few out with a garden sprayer, then dry them with a hair dryer and re-lube the entire thing.


Check your battery voltage too, and clean the terminals.

Get the lock cylinder out and have a look. I think you can get it out with the paper clip in the hole method. Your key has to be in it and maybe in the unlocked position. If you’re lucky the lock cylinder is broken. You can change that easily. Getting it installed is easier than getting it out.

You may need a new ignition switch or some of the other work but I’m done here.

Thanks everyone for the help, but all indications were pointing to a bad ignition switch…thats the only way I can explain the gear shifter changing gears with the key out!!! It will also explain why the I was only reading 3.5V at the ignition switch vs 12V…some sort of short might be causing voltage to drop inside.

Unfortunately, there is no way to test it now because everything just started working fine this morning…I know its a bummer isn’t it, I was hoping to get to the bottom of this problem.

Any other ideas of what could have been causing this…?