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Stuck in Park

Just bought a '97 Buick LaSabre in great condition (Grandma-owned), 74K miles. Only problem is when I turn on the car I have to wait 1 to 1-1/2 minutes to get it out of park… as if it needs to “warm up” before changing gears. Any ideas?

What do you mean by “get it out of park”? Do you mean that the lever won’t move? Or do you mean that the lever moves but the transmission doesn’t actually engage?

The lever won’t move.

Someone mentioned it might be a sensor in the steering column…?

Have someone check if your brake lights are on when the lever won’t move. If they’re not, then you have an issue with the switch at the top of the brake pedal arm that detects when the brake pedal is pressed, in which case the switch needs to be adjusted or replaced. If they are, then you have an issue with the interlock that’s supposed to allow the shift lever to move when the brakes are depressed.

Thanks so much for your comments. The lights are on when the lever won’t move. So it sounds like the interlock issue. But why would it work after a minute or two of running the car? I tried turning the car off in neutral. Started it again and there was no problem putting in gear immediately.

There is a switch by the pedal htat might have a bad wire. Shift interlock. Turn key to the on position but do not start. Step on brake and shift to neutral. Then start. This works if I am remembering correctly

Thanks for the suggestion! It works!

The shift interlock solenoid is probably gunky/sticky. When you step on the brake, that solenoid is being activated & will generate at least a little bit of heat. That’s probably loosening up whatever is sticky (probably old lubricant and contaminants). You could access it and clean it - or just keep starting the way meaneyedcatz described. I usually fix things so you’ll just decide what you want to do.

Prefer having things fixed so will access & clean. Thanks - nice knowing I don’t have to buy a whole new part.