Stuck in park, engine cranks but does not start

1999 Accord Coupe. Stuck in park, starter motor turns engine over fine but ignition does not fire. Problem was intermittent twice last week.

I now can shift out of Park by using inserting a key into the shift lock override slot. Still will not start in neutral. To remove ignition key I need to move shifter back into Park. Now locked there again … back to using the override slot.

Do any of the indicator lights on the dash, like CEL, BATT, OIL, and ABS light up when you turn the key to ignition? I ask because, in order for the shift interlock to work, the ignition should be on and your foot on the brake. It would not be unusual for an older car to have a failing shift interlock solenoid, but it sounds like the solenoid has failed at the same time the ignition quit. That leads me to a problem in the ignition system, like a bad fuse. A bad ignition switch would also be suspect.

Could be no spark, timing belt broken or no fuel pressure. Code reader would help.

Try pushing the accelerator all the way to the floor and see if it shifts out of park. If it does have the Throttle Position Sensor checked out.

The throttle position sensor controls whether or not the shifter can move out of park and also determines whether or not the engine starts.

I just replaced the TPS on my daughters 98 Honda for this same problem.


Thanks for your suggestions and questions. Here are the answers and some more info.
Tried fully depressing throttle = no luck still stuck in park.

Code reader says “No Link”. Code reader works fine on my other cars.

Indicator lights: Ignition in On position - (6 beeps) = Batt, Oil, Brake, “P” for Park (even if foot off brake pedal and emergency is off), door, trunk and brake light. While engine is cranking = Abs and Brake are on.
Do not hear fuel pump priming (never listened for it before).

Collision - driver side front bumper bender. 52 days ago, did not trigger air bag and car ran great for four weeks after the collision.

Tested brake pedal position switch = activates brake lights.

Honda had recall on ignition switches (contacts failing). Replaced in 2002.

Under the indicator lights, I noticed you did not mention the Check Engine light. This light should go on as the ECU does a self-check. Not going on may be an indication of no power to the ECU. I’d check all the fuses first, especially the one’s labelled ECU or EFI.

ndicator lights - clarification: The lights in my previous post should have included “these are the lights that are still on after a few seconds”. Initially (when the key is first moved to On) ABS and Maint Req’d are on during the first three beeps and SRS light stays on during all 6 beeps. Check Engine light never comes on. This may be related to my code reader reporting “No Link”. Fuses tested (all OK): ECU / Cruise Control, IG Coil, Starter Signal, Fuel Pump, ACG.
Note: Since Cruise Control shares the ECU fuse, I turned it on. The switch button lights up but the dashboard indicator does not come on. Since this fuse tested OK, I am thinking that I may have a wiring problem caused by my recent collision to the driver’s side of the front bumper. With a good multi meter and patience, is this something I should be able to tackle, a local shop or dealer ?

Well, if motor will not start, I guess you are stuck. My car is in garage, and in “park”. But I don’t think it is stuck. I can turn ign to “on” and push on brake pedal and shift to any other gear. Than I can push car. I have done this to reach shelf unit in front of car. Tight garage. Can you turn ign to on position and do the same?

Yes I can move car by using the shift lock override to get out Park.
One more indicator light note: The Immobilizer System Indicator (an image of a key) should come on for a few seconds. It does not. To: Busted Knuckles - thanks for your very helpful information and questions.

Results of one more test: With ECU / Cruise Control fuse removed, the following lights do not come on: Batt, Brake, all the doors (only the one open door) and brake lamp. If there had been no change in the set of lights (with the fuse in and out), I would have thought that there was a problem with this circuit.