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Stuck shift button

I have an '02 Subaru Forester that has a strange problem - the button on the auto shift won’t always depress. When I start the car and try to shift it won’t go in and I can hear a click behind the dash. Eventually it will depress after wiggling the shift lever and repeatedly pushing it in. My mechanic tried a ‘break relay’ but that didn’t work. Anybody have this problem and have a cure? Help!!

The problem is likely a sticky or otherwise malfunctioning shift-lock solenoid. When you press the brake the brake light switch activates a little electric motor that moves a blocking mechanism out of the way of that shift button. Its purpose is to keep you from shifting into gear without the brake depressed. Sometimes the problem is just from needing to adjust the the brake light switch, but that clicking probably indicates that isn’t it. The gizmos your mechanic should be after are probably the ones under the shift console. The connections might just need to be checked/cleaned, or the solenoid cleaned or replaced.

Thanks, Cigroller. I’ll go show your answer to my mechanic! If this works without taking all my meager savings, you will have the blessings of a grateful old lady!

If your battery is old, and its voltage is low… Check the battery voltage with a voltage meter (electrical multimeter). It should be 12.7 volts, with engine off.

Thank you, Hellokit! I’ve now have 2 reasons why this darn shift may not be cooperating that I’ve gotten from you out there - now I’ll go show my mechanic how to do his job! (And also how smart(?) I am!!) Have a good day — thanks again.