Accord - Can't shift out of park

Discussion in 'Accord' started by QGoogle, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. QGoogle

    QGoogle Guest

    All of a sudden I can't shift out of park after starting my 1990 Honda
    Accord LX (Automatic Transmission). I end up having to shut off the
    engine and then using the Shift Lock Release to manually shift to
    neutral. Then I can start my car and drive and shift gears without
    problem. But once I shift back to park the gear locks up again. Any
    idea what the problem is and what approximate repair cost is??? Thanks
    a bunch.
    QGoogle, Jun 13, 2004
  2. QGoogle

    Sean D Guest

    Well there's a sensor that unlocks the shifter when you press the brake
    pedal. Maybe that sensor is malfunctioning. Either that, or your
    shift-lock solenoid might need to be replaced.

    Sean D, Jun 13, 2004
  3. QGoogle

    Randolph Guest

    Or more specifically, there is a switch at the brake pedal and a
    solenoid next to the shift lever. If you remove the trim around the
    shift lever you'll probably see the solenoid.

    On many cars there is also a connection to the ECU that indicates the
    position of the gas pedal (if you are stepping on the gas, you can not
    shift out of park on some cars), so the throttle position sensor can be
    a problem as well.

    Start by checking if your brake lights work. If they don't, you can be
    quite certain that the brake pedal switch is the problem. However, if
    the brake lights do work, it does not necessarily mean that the brake
    pedal switch is OK, often separate sets of contacts are used for
    different functions.
    Randolph, Jun 13, 2004
  4. QGoogle

    QGoogle Guest

    Thankyou for all the replies!
    I checked the Brake Lights, and they dont work!!
    (1) So can i conclude for sure that the brake pedal switch
    is the problem ? Or is there a possibility that something
    else might be wrong too! Like some fuse etc ?
    (2) How much do you think would be the cost to get the brake
    pedal switch replaced/fixed?
    QGoogle, Jun 13, 2004
  5. QGoogle

    Randolph Guest

    It certainly could be the fuse. There is usually a diagram on the fuse
    box lid indicating which fuse is for what. If the brake light fuse is
    blown, and the replacement fuse blows as soon as you step on the brakes,
    there is a short in the system, typically a burned out bulb (they
    sometimes become dead shorts when they burn out).

    List price for the switch is around $50 from the dealer. Dealers here in
    Northern California usually charge 20% above list. Bastards. Labor
    should be less than half an hour.
    Randolph, Jun 13, 2004
  6. QGoogle

    splatterer Guest

    for some time now i have been having difficulty ( a very stiff action, which
    seems as i could do damage ) moving my 92 accord coupe auto (101km) gear
    shift into and out of the park position. I read recently in a news Q/A
    article about the same thing , but on a CITROEN.
    the advice was that the gearbox clutches were worn and that to persist in
    forcing the lever in/ out of park could lead to serious damage to the
    gearbox and to just drive as normal, but do not put the stick in park
    has anyone come across this before ?
    splatterer, Jun 13, 2004
  7. QGoogle

    Randy Hunt Guest

    In most automatic transmissions, there is a 'Parking Pawl' that engages
    the driveshaft inside the transmission to keep the vehicle from rolling
    when parked. This condition usually happens when you stop on a slope and
    place the gear into park. The vehicle rolls a little causing this to
    bind making it very difficult to get out of park. When stopping and
    placing the transmission into park, set the parking brake and see if this
    helps. I kind of remember seeing something to this effect in the owners
    manual. You might have someone rock the vehicle the next time this
    happens and see if that helps.

    Randy Hunt, Jun 13, 2004
  8. QGoogle

    Paul Stuart Guest

    Hello! I had this same problem in my former car, a 1992 Mercury Topaz. I
    could not shift out of park, and all the brake lights were out.

    Note that it might not only be a fuse. In my case, it was a broken and
    disconnected switch "box" that is underneath the brake pedal. The box
    is connected to a cable that goes to the brake pedal. The tabs holding
    this box in place broke, and my foot occasionally dislodged the brake
    wire, causing the brake lights to malfunction and the shifter to lock up.

    I recommend that, until you can get this properly repaired, activate your
    hazard lights when slowing down for traffic lights and stop signs, to
    alert drivers behind you. You can turn off your flashers when accelerating.

    Paul Stuart, Jun 13, 2004
  9. QGoogle

    motsco_ _ Guest


    Replace three (or more - read your manual) brake light bulbs after you
    determine that they are burnt out. Listen for the tiny 'click' when you
    step on the brake pedal and verify that brake lights now work. You
    probably need the effective LENGTH of the shift linkage adjusted, to
    allow shift lever to go in and out of PARK. I don't know if this is done
    from below, but it's not going to be more than a half hour labor.

    The Citroen problem mentioned is on a different (manual w/synchromesh)
    tranny, built in a different country. Don't get sidetracked.

    motsco_ _, Jun 14, 2004
  10. QGoogle

    Sean D Guest

    You're very right. I was tought by driver training that when parking, to
    put the car in neutral, pull the parking brake and then release the brake.
    Let the car come to rest on the parking brake, then put the car in park.
    This prevent the strain the on tranny that you mentioned.
    Sean D, Jun 14, 2004
  11. QGoogle

    QGoogle Guest

    Hey All,
    Finally i got my problem fixed! It was indeed the brake pedal switch,
    as most of you had guessed! I got it fixed from "Express Oil Change"
    and they charged me $100 for it. [$60 for the switch & $40 for labor]
    I would also like to thank you, especially since it helped me from not
    getting fooled by FireStone! I had taken the car to FireStone
    yesterday, and they said that it is some serious problem and that it
    would need replacement of the whole gear assembly and that it would be
    an expensive affair. When i told him that the brake lights dont work,
    he said that the lights might be broken and that they would replace
    them as well! So then I also asked him if it could be the switch or
    the fuse.. that is when he got baffled (on realising that the customer
    is not as naive and stupid) and he said that it could be a possibility
    .... In short, dont trust FireStone! This is the second time i have had
    a bad experience with FireStone.
    - QGoogle
    QGoogle, Jun 14, 2004
  12. QGoogle

    SoCalMike Guest

    its a given not to trust *any* franchise. they arent mechanics- just
    tire monkeys.
    SoCalMike, Jun 15, 2004
  13. QGoogle

    QGoogle Guest

    Btw, how much do you think it would cost for getting my periodic brake
    service. Precisely:
    - brake pads and
    - rollers
    Is $250 a good figure for that ?
    QGoogle, Jun 17, 2004
  14. QGoogle

    SoCalMike Guest

    unless theyre deeply grooved or warped, you dont need new rotors. $250
    isnt a TOTAL ripoff for something like that, although pads are usually
    under $30, and the unneeded rotors are probably another $60.
    SoCalMike, Jun 18, 2004
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