Sarah and getting out of park

parkingbrakes
transmissions

#1

I think Sarah’s problem is that the transmission is holding the car in place instead of the parking brake. I had a car at one time that the owner’s manual said when I parked on an incline or decline, that I should put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, then come off of the brake pedal so the parking brake catches because a car will roll slightly after the parking brake is set, and then move than the transmission lever into park. The reason was that when this car was put into park, a pin or something is pushed into place to lock the transmission. But if it’s on a slope, the movement of the car after putting it in park would put pressure on the side of the pin and make it very difficult to get back out of park. The manual said the parking brake should be keeping the car in place, not the transmission (at least for this model). I have a fairly steep driveway and have found this works well for any car I have.



So, perhaps she’s having problems when family visits because there is more weight in the car which puts more pressure on this pin (or whatever) and she can’t get it into gear. When her father was shaking the car that took pressure off the pin for a brief moment and she was able to get the car out of park.



So, Sarah, try setting the parking break with the car in neutral, come off the brake and make sure the parking brake will hold the card, then put the gear shift into neutral.


#2

My first car was a 1986 Chevy S-10, and it would get stuck in park pretty regularly…until I learned that yes, when the car is in park, only a pin in the transmission holds it in place. The pin can’t stand all the weight of the car all the time, so now I ALWAYS put the car in park, put on the parking brake, and THEN release the brake pedal. Jimbo’s suggestion is even better, really - put all the weight on the parking brake, THEN put the car in park. Plus, in some places, it’s illegal not to use the parking brake. Just FYI; not that it’s enforcible at all.


#3
[b] the owner's manual said when I parked on an incline or decline, that I should put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, then come off of the brake pedal so the parking brake catches because a car will roll slightly after the parking brake is set, and then move than the transmission lever into park. [/b] 

Congratulations on reading and understanding the owner's manual.   That is 100% correct A+

#4

Posted by: jimbo23
Hello, I missed hearing the original question about Sarah getting her car out of park when she has visitors, and is parking her car on an incline. But I have a speech I would like to record on this topic.
First, was the car parked with the steering wheel turned sharply, such as pushed up into a curb? And did the driver have her hand on the steering wheel after having maneuvered the vehicle into a parking place, holding it in a turned position while turning off the key?
Most modern cars have an interlock which requires the key to be inserted and turned to an ?On? position before the gear selector can be moved out of the ?park? position. This interlock, located on the steering column, also locks the steering wheel in a position in which the front wheels are not pointed straight ahead, but at such an angle that the car cannot be readily rolled away and stolen.
When parking your car on flat ground, in your own driveway or in your garage the wheels are pointed straight ahead, and there is no pressure on the front tires to turn to the forward direction. But when you park a car on a hillside or against a curb, with the front wheels still turned sharply, the front wheels want to return to the straight line position due to the ?camber? built into the front suspension. With the steering wheel turned, the front wheels are at such an angle that the front of the car is sitting higher than it would with the wheels facing straight ahead.
Please visit Wikipedia: http://www.ozebiz.com.au/racetech/theory/align.html
for an explanation of ?Camber?.
Since the front wheels want to return to the straight-line position, they are exerting twisting force on the steering column, which puts pressure on the ignition key/steering/gearshift interlock. This puts a large amount of tension on the ignition key, more than you can overcome by twisting on the key. Tugging on the gearshift while turning the key will not do the trick either, because both gearshift and ignition key are locked by the interlock mechanism by the pressure placed on it by the steering wheel portion of the interlock.
The solution is to turn the steering wheel to relieve pressure on the interlock, turn the steering wheel further to the left if the front wheels are turned sharply to the left, and when you feel the steering column has released pressure on the interlock, turn on the key and pull the gearshift lever out of neutral.
Conversely, turn the steering wheel further to the right if the front wheels are turned sharply to the right, to relieve the tension keeping the ignition key and gear selector from moving freely.
The same goes for late model standard shift vehicles, tightly turned front wheels will make it hard to turn the ignition key due to the pressure on the locking mechanism exerted by the camber in the front wheels.
Some drivers have been taught to crank the wheels sharply into the curb when parked facing downhill, away from the curb when parked facing uphill, anon. So if you feel compelled to follow those instructions, when you have completed parking, (1)take your hands off the steering wheel to allow the steering mechanism to find its position, while you (2)put on the parking brake, (3) put the vehicle in park, and (4) turn off the key.
RSVP
HotelMike


#5

I think HotelMike also presents a likely scenario. I heard this question a couple of weeks ago and instantly thought it was the steering wheel. I believe Sarah said she has a '99 Accord as do I. I can’t remember if she said it only happened when there were several people in the car, but I’ve been alone in the car and had the same problem. Ok, I’m tall, but not obese so I don’t think it was my weight!
The gear easily unlocks by turning the steering wheel to the left.


#6

Good call Joseph. I forgot to mention about putting the transmission in neutral first. It’s become so automatic with me that I forgot that step. Works the same for a manual transmission - let the brake hold the car in place, not the engine/transmission.