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Nissan Sentra transmission or ignition problem

The other day I went to the store for an errand in my 1995 Nissan Sentra. When I parked my car my key seemed to be stuck; I jiggled it out a little after putting it in park and turning it off. I came back and couldn’t seem to get the key in properly to turn it over, but eventually after some fidgeting I got it in. I turned it over and it started, but I couldn’t take the car out of park. When I pushed down the brake, the gear shifter wouldn’t move. I left it there and came back yesterday – I was able to start the car, but had to fool around with the key a bit to get it to go in properly and the gear shifter still won’t move out of park. Is this a transmission problem, an ignition problem, something else, or all of the above. Is there anyone with a similar problem that can tell me how expensive this is to fix?

Sounds like your ignition switch in the column is biting the dust. The clues is the difficulty getting the key into the tumbler and out again…if that is happening it is a clue to wear on the switch…which can then not power up certain wires…making your shift lock solenoid not release. SOunds like its just getting worn out.

Open your owners manual, or look at your shifter, and figure out the shifter interlock release procedure.

Basically, it usually involves sticking a screwdriver or key into a slot, and then pulling the transmission out of park.


True there should be a shift lock override, but that really wont help you with the key issue… Did you always own this car? If so do you have one of those freakishly large keyrings with 235 keys on it? lol…the weight of that sort of thing will mess up the ignition lock for sure.

I’ve only owned this car for the last 120k miles. It now has 202k on it. This key problem has only developed very recently; while my key ring is not without other keys, it’s light in comparison to those who stick 200 keys on it – I have 7 keys on my key ring with a thumb drive and bottle opener. As for the other posts, I’ll look at the owner’s manual tonight to see if there’s a shifter interlock release procedure.

The override will be on the console surrounding your shifter…you will either see a button or a key sized hole down near the shifter.