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Park doesn't work - Toyota Camry 06

Hi Experts,
I need help with my 06 Camry. Last winter, I ran into a pile of snow and got stuck. I accidentally switched gears from R and D without going to neutral and this is when the issue started. When I switch to Park, it won’t hold anymore, it rolls (when uphill); I have to use the handbrake all the time. By the way, I have no issue starting the car, when it is in Park position. Hope I have provided enough information.
Any idea how much it would cost to fix it?

You broke the parking pawl… a little latch INside the transmission that prevents the wheels from turning. It may be as cheap as $50 for the part… but the transmission needs to come out and apart to GET to that cheap little part… Maybe $900 in labor depending on where you live.

Given its a 10 year old car, if it has high miles, you might want to consider having the transmission rebuilt while its apart… so maybe $3000 total. Or just use the parking brake like we manual transmission drivers do.

You can’t go from Drive to Reverse without going through Neutral. Even if you could, that wouldn’t damage the parking pawl.

Before ripping into the transaxle, it needs to be determined that the shift mechanism is working properly.

I’m in agreement with Mustangman here. If you stop in neutral and go to reverse gently then you may not damage the parking pawl. If you slam it into reverse from drive then you can snap the pawl like a fresh potato chip. It only remains in neutral for a split second which is not enough time for the transmission to even know it’s in neutral.

I can’t see how the parking pawl was damaged just from switching from R to D. The parking pawl isn’t engaged when the transmission is shifted out of park.

Had you been doing 50 MPH and then shifted the transmission into park, I could see the parking pawl being damaged.

Since you ran the vehicle into a snow bank, have the shift cable, transmission shift lever, and park/neutral safety switch inspected to see if anything got knocked out of adjustment.


My Toyota tranny had a similar problem, it was a broken part in the shift mechanism, not inside the transmission. I also don’t see how D/R shifting would affect the parking pawl.

+1 for tester’s out of adjustment theory.

the shift cable is probably not pushing ( or pulling ) the lever all the way into position. . albeit far enough to work the neutral saftey switch. something is out of whack whether bent or in need of adjustment.

My truck had a no-park shift issue that was solved by removing all the tumble weeds from under after a wood hauling excursion once. ( you’d think they’d just break up into pieces like usual but the big ones are pretty thick )

I woulnd’t guess the pawl would be damaged in D, N, or R. But if OP shifted quickly from D towards R, whether N was engaged or not, it would be very easy to accidentally go another click, to P. If the vehicle was in motion at the time, that could damage the pawl.

It makes $$ sense still to verify the shift linkage isn’t the problem. If so that’s cheap to fix. But I expect what needs fixin’ is that parking pawl, cheap to fix it isn’t.

If OP decides to just use the parking brake, as a back up in case the parking brake doesn’t hold, besides steering the front wheels towards the curb, I wonder, would it do any good to put the transmission in R or 1 before exiting the car?

Without line pressure from the pump to engage the clutches, which requires a running motor, I don’t think leaving it in gear would help, not to mention making it impossible to remove the key from the ignition.

Can’t remove the key unless in P, and can’t move the lever unless the key is in the ignition? That’s not the way my Ford truck works. I can remove the key any time I like, even if the truck is still running. Goes to show, the diy’er ideas of a 40 year old truck owner can lead the owner of a newer car astray … lol …

If the transmission won’t hold the OP’s car though … hmmmm … well, one idea for a back up I guess is just to bring along some of those rubber wheel blocks.

@ MustangMan, NYBo, missileman, texases, kengreen, georgeSanJose, Tester

Guys, Thanks a bunch! your comments really helped a lot. I think I can make a decision now to either live with it or have it repaired.