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Shift button won't depress- can't move car out of park

I have seen this questioned asked several times in several places, so I am assuming this is a problem in the 1998 Chevy Malibu. I have searched online high and low for an answer. The shift button won’t depress so you can’t move the shift out of park and into gear. Like everyone else, mine does it in the cold. I have no problems in the summer.

I have taken apart the console and cleaned the solenoid and shift assembly to make sure there wasn’t anything sticky that was freezing. (I read that on another car forum page). I have sprayed a little graphite on the assembly. This didn’t fix it.

Now, however, mine sometimes shifts easily into gear in the cold weather. It now randomly sticks. I have to sit in park with the car running for 10 minutes sometime.

Can I buy an entire new shift assembly and solenoid? Anyone know how to replace it? I know little about cars and don’t even know what to really look for when I search auto parts stores. Does the solenoid just wear out? Can it be replaced? Could I buy a used part from a wrecked MAlibu? I am at my wits end with not being able to drive when I need to leave.

Thanks for all advice and instruction!


Have you checked the brake light switch, under the dashboard? The brake light switch, which operates the brake lights, is usually also tied into the shift lock circuit. That’s why the transmission won’t shift out of park unless your foot is on the brake pedal. Pressing the brake pedal closes the circuit, via the brake light switch, and allows the solenoid to work.

The switch may be out of adjustment or faulty. It could be something else, but I suggest you check the switch and make sure it’s working as it should.