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Park gear doesn't work anymore

Couldn’t start the truck to notice huh, it isn’t in park when I leaned on the front end waiting for triple A. Put it in neutral and it started, still couldn’t find the park gear. Drove it home about 3.5 miles parked in the driveway with the parking brake set. So how far can I continue to drive this failing transmission? Will driving it damage the engine? My mechanic isn’t open until Tuesday and is always in a bad mood then. This truck has at least 250K on it with an odometer that stops for a year, starts up again etc. She is a '97…

It sounds more like a problem with the gear shift linkage than with the transmission (but the post is hard to read). If so, that should be simple and cheap to fix.

Thanks for the quick reply! To explain further, the truck was put into park (I thought) came back and it wouldn’t start. After trying to jump it I leaned on the front of it and noticed the truck was moving. I jumped in put it into neutral (automatic transmission not stick) and the truck started. Drove it home and put on the parking brake and turned it off in neutral as the park gear still wasn’t working. I’ve no accurate idea of the mileage due to the odometer occasionally quitting. I adore my mechanic (he sold me this truck 10 years ago) and just want to be prepared for him to yell at me.

When you say the park gear “doesn’t work” do you mean that you can put it into the “P” position, but that this won’t keep it from rolling? Or that you can’t even put it in “P”?

If it goes into P but will still roll, then you’re parking pawl is probably broken. But if it also won’t start unless you put in neutral then there may be a linkage problem as tardis suggested - the gear selector could be moving to P but the transmission not actually going with the lever position.

Thank you too for the reply! I move the stick into the P gear, the engine will not crank or turn over, the lights/radio etc do come on. After driving home I put it into Park in our drive it doesn’t FEEL like it engages and it slides with the incline. I set the parking brake and turned it off, tried again to start in the P but the same no crank results, when I moved it into Neutral it turned over fine. I don’t want to drive it over to my mechanics garage tomorrow if I’m going to damage the trans/engine further. Will driving with a linkage problem cause damage?

As long as the engine sounds normal (not over-revving), you should be safe to drive a dozen or so miles.
I assume that the other gear selections seem to be working correctly (neutral is neutral, reverse is reverse, and so on).

Sounds good and drives fine, just no park. All the other gears work.