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Neutral Safety Switch?

The problem is I bought a lemon a month ago and have replaced the radiator and the starter. The next big issue seems to be that I can only start it in neutral. When this happened on the 2nd day I owned it the car lot guy pointed at the steering column and said $25. But it is probably the neutral safety switch, which is not cheap. The real problem is that when all the lights come on (D, N, 2, 1) the car runs fine. When it fails to engage like that, usually (N, 2), it makes a bad noise at 35 mph and probably drags. What is scraping? happening? Is there anything I can do short term? I am losing work because the car won’t run and can’t spend money cause I can’t get to work.

A good place to start would be to give us some actual info about this car, such as make, model, model year, odometer mileage…

Also–please clarify “when all the lights come on (D, N, 2, 1) the car runs fine. When it fails to engage like that, usually (N, 2), it makes a bad noise at 35 mph and probably drags”. Even after reading that statement a few times, I don’t understand what you are trying to tell us.

If you can only start in neutral it’s probably a bad neutral safety switch. Having said that you obviously have other problems as well. Please give us more info as VDCdriver previously stated.

Thanks… I had to rewrite a few times 'cause it would not post…So it’s a 2000 Mazda MPV minivan. (147,000) We like the big sunroof but am getting the idea that it is not mechanically sound. When I bought it the guy said he had just replaced head gaskets and put in a new engine, but I found the big hole in the radiator on day 4.
When you put the car in gear a light box surrounds the gear indicator symbol on the dashboard (P, R, N, D, 2, 1) I think I answered par t of my question, I am trying to drive the car in 2nd gear (i pull over), but when I can get it in drive, it’s fine. That is what I have been relying on. After I replaced the starter I can’t seem to get it into drive anymore. Is there a short term fix for this, so I can get to work? If I stay below ??mph for a few days can I drive it in 2nd?