Taurus won't shift out of park

I bought a '97 Taurus the other day. It was one of those AS-IS auction bargains. I knew it had issues, but didn’t know what they all were. To begin with, the shift lever was broken off where it entered the steering column. Not a problem. I drove it home by shifting the transmission into drive by disconnecting the linkage atop the transmission. I bought another lever from a salvage yard and installed it. AHA! No wonder it was broken off. The frustrated former owner probably nearly broke their arm trying to shift it. Oh yes, I am stepping on the brake.

OK, there is probably a simple fix for this situation. I don’t hear any solenoids or relays clicking when I step on the brake. I don’t hear any in another Taurus that works properly either. Is there one, or is this a cable linkage thing?

What do think the problem is?

huh? what does shifting to do with stepping on the brake?

It’s called a brake interlock. It’s a federal safety mandate that we be protected from ourselves by not allowing our cars to lurch forward when we put them in gear. All modern cars have one, unless someone has disconnected it. What do you drive Bill?

passat. forgot about that.

I thought the interlock was only required on cars with floor shifters.

Good answer. I had a 98 Taurus and the brake switch on the pedal broke a wire, therefore it would not come out of park. First try a brake switch.

Also, I now have an 01 Taurus and out in the country my car would not come out of park. I got underneath and discovered the brake switch wire broke. I stripped the end, crammed it in the switch and then put it in drive.

No, column shifts also.

Hummmm, the brake lights work. Now what?

Well, clearly you understand that there is an interlock that inhibits the transmission selector, and you understand that it is supposed to be energized by stepping on the brake. The obvious question is " Have you checked the interlock solenoid to see if it’s connected or if it has failed?".

put a switch in it

YOu might be able to drive this car by firt shifting to neutral with the engine off. Start the car and then shift to drive.

I have an '89 Accord that won’t shift out of park when it’s cold. It turns out it’s because the computer wasn’t detecting that it was actually in park so the shifter was locked up even with the brake pressed. Other 80’s accord owners have told me they’ve fixed it by taking apart the center console and regreasing something that is involved with the shifter. I don’t remember exactly what since I haven’t had a chance to do it myself yet. The website where I heard about it was 3geez.com if you want to search for it.

You need a diagram of the steering column and the parts inside and below, on the passenger side of the fire wall. Follow the shifting mechanism and you will probably find loose screws/bolts, and/or misaligned parts. It will be obvious when you take the shielding away, but you may need to disassemble most of the column to get at the part(s) that holds the shift in different gears/stops. I have had this problem twice with different Tauruses and it was caused both times by things going wrong in this area. Don’t ignore the bolts that hold the levers down close to the firewall. It is a painful but cheap fix if you do it yourself.