Transmission or something else?

While driving yesterday, I noticed it was harder than usual to go from “Park” to “Drive” in my wife’s 2000 Kia Sephia. I parked the car and walked into Blockbuster, and when I came out I went to start it, but nothing! I thought perhaps the starter went bad, but after jerking the shifter a bit, it started right up. The car has always been a bit funky when it came to getting it to get into “Drive” mode but nothing like this - it’s getting worse. Should I try flushing the tran fluid? New transmission?

Well, first off, you should consider Netflix…

Your problem is almost certainly NOT within the transmission. It’s in the linkage to the transmission. New fluid will not fix it. Sounds like the issue has been looming on the horizon. Jerking the shifter and having it start points to the neutral safety switch. Next time it won’t start in PARK, try shifting it to NEUTRAL. If it starts in neutral, THAT part of the situation is definitely that switch. As far as it being difficult to get into to drive from PARK, does it require stepping on the brake in order to shift out of PARK? If so, see if your brake lights are working at that moment. If the brake light switch is bad, then the solenoid that allows it to come out of park won’t actuate. Of course, if the brake light switch is good, then it could be the solenoid itself.

. It’s in the linkage to the transmission. New fluid will not fix it.

I agree with MG, but I might suspect that a 2000 Car might have 30 or 40,000 miles on it and it may well be due for a fluid change. Don’t do the fluid change to fix the problem, but if it is on original fluid I would say it is likely past due for a change and neglecting the change (even if it is not listed in the owner’s manual) is not a good idea.

It may not hurt to change the fluid anyway especially if the car has 20k+. But make sure you take it to a place who will do it the job right, not some quick cheap in & out place.

I second NetFlix and also second the assesment that a fluid exchange will not help.

I am a fan of netflix, but the mail system in my building is for the birds so I stick with the monthly pass from BBuster. When I’m looking for a hard-to-find title I use a friends netflix. Ha!

Thanks for the replies. I dropped the car off at a friend’s shop this morning and mentioned the Neutral safety switch and the guy seemed to agree without having looked at it. I went to show him what I meant but of course the car started up both times. I’ll keep you guys updated with the outcome.

I appreciate it!