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While driving at 35mph, my boyfriend decided to put my 2005 chevy venture mini van into park. This did not kill the engine and I was able to put it back in drive and drive on, but I am afraid there is going to be major damage. What, if anything should I do or be looking for?

If you want to see the possible effects of your boyfriend’s bone-headed move, the first thing to do is to put the transmission into Park (while the vehicle is stopped, naturally), in order to see if it will still hold the vehicle in place and keep it from moving. Have you done that?

If the Park position still holds the vehicle in place, then it is likely that there is a ratchet mechanism to prevent engagement of the “park pawl” when the vehicle in moving, in order to prevent damage. I know that Toyotas–or at least some Toyotas–have this type of mechanism to prevent damage. When he engaged Park at 35 mph, did you hear a ratcheting or clicking sound?

If the vehicle is not held in place when you place the trans in Park, then it is pretty definite that there is damage that should be investigated by an independent trans shop–NOT by AAMCO or any other chain operation.

Even if “Park” still seems to work, I would suggest that you take the vehicle to an independent trans shop anyway, in order to have the trans pan dropped & cleaned out, and the fluid and filter changed. It is possible that the park pawl could have been nicked and that there are metal fragments in the transmission pan that need to be cleaned out a.s.a.p. And, even if the park pawl was not damaged, if you have never had the trans fluid changed on this vehicle, it is already about 2 years overdue for this important service, so it should be done anyway as preventive maintenance.

Yes there was some clicking noise. I do not know if this car has ever had the tranmission fluid changed as my ex-husband did not believe in car maintenence…heck he has never tuned up his 1997 ford ranger and he is still driving it. Okay, as of last night when I parked it in the driveway, it was staying in place… but i guess i will have to have this checked out. Thanks for the info.

You’re welcome. As I said previously, DO NOT take it to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain, unless you want to be overcharged for substandard and perhaps unnecessary work.

Regarding men and cars, it seems that you don’t have much luck.
Your ex-husband did not believe in maintaining his cars, and your new boyfriend thinks that it is appropriate to shift into “Park” at 35 mph. Does he have any explanation as to why he chose to abuse your vehicle like that?

He was drunk and we were arguing and I would not stop to let him out on the highway.

Oh, my poor dear. Forget the trans. Get a reworked boyfriend. Best of luck with both!