CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Volvo C70 won't come out of park

I have a 1998 Volvo C70 convertible. about 2 weeks ago it started to stick in park. I can override it with shft override but that’s not a long term fix. The button on the front-head of the shifter won’t depress all the way and when its stuck in park the key won’t come out of the ignition. any ideas?

Yes, take the car to either a Volvo familiar body shop, or a Volvo dealer. There are “interlocks” involving the ignition switch and transmission to lock the shifter when in park. A body shop might be familiar with the system as it can become damaged in an accident. Otherwise a dealer can troubleshoot it. I don’t think a general mechanic can help you unless they are very experienced with older Volvo cars.

Was the car in an accident?

If the brake lights are working i would do as uncle turbo suggests

Along with that, there may be a switch on the brake pedal that actually acts in conjunction with that interlock. It forces one to press the brake while switching from P to D. On some car it also drives the brake light but on others there are separate switches for that function.
Look under the dash upwards along the brake pedal so see how many of those switches you have. If you only have one, make sure your brake lights are working correctly. If they are, this switch is not your problem but look further - like the interlock our Uncle was telling you about.

as @87_Ranger said, check that you have brake lights operating properly. The shift interlock depends on the brake lights going on when you put your foot on the brake petal.

A somewhat humorous aside – one time I rented a car in San Diego and drove hundreds of miles out into the Anza-Borrego desert to take some photos. I found a likely spot, out in the middle of nowhere on a seldom used dirt road, parked the car between two cactuses, tthe only available shade, and not much. Spent two or three hours taking photos, when it got really hot I went back to the car. No shade anywhere of course by then. My ideas was to drive to the nearby oasis town to get some air-con and a beer and maybe a round of golf. Plopped into the car. Expecting the taste of a cool beer! Seat hotter than hades!! Oh Oh!!! Seat burning my thighs!! Oh Hell! Can’t shift out of Park! Stuck in desert with no water!!! Will become like one of those Twilight Zone people, found years later all dry and shriveled up trying to shift out of Park. Oh No!!!

Then I spotted a little sign on the lower dashboard: “Attn: Driver Must Press Brake Peddle to Shift Out of Park”

Whew! A close one. This pressing on the brake was news to me. My car is a manual and I’d never heard of it before this rental.