What you Need to Know about the Shift Lock Release Feature

Last Updated on 9月 23, 2022 by Carusedjp

Vehicles with automatic transmissions released from the early 90s and onwards are equipped with a key-shift interlock safety feature. Whenever the shifter is placed in the Park position, the safety feature locks it there. To be able to move the shifter out of the Park position, the key must be inserted in the ignition switch. Moreover, the switch should be on the Run or On position.

If you shop for vehicles that were released from 2010 onwards in a Japanese used car auction, you will find that most of them are also equipped with a brake-shift interlock safety feature. Aside from ensuring that the ignition switch is in the Run or On position, the brake pedal should be depressed. Moreover, before you can move the shifter out of the Park position, you have to simultaneously push the button on the shifter.

How to use Shift Lock Release

As we’ve mentioned, the main components that control how you lock or unlock the shifter include the car ignition switch, the shift interlock solenoid, the brake light, and the stoplight. If even one of the aforementioned malfunctions, it is possible that you might not be able to move the shifter out of the Park position. Moreover, if your car’s battery dies, the shifter will ultimately be stuck in the ‘P’ position.

The Shift Lock Release is a safety function that enables you to move your car when you can’t shift the fear from one setting to another. With that said, here are the easy steps in using shift lock release:

  1. Make sure that the emergency brake is set.
  2. Insert the key into the ignition switch.
  3. Ensure that the ignition switch is in the Run or On position. It is worth noting that you do not have to start the engine.
  4. Look for the shift lock override slot. You will find this on the shifter console that is by the shifter lever. Typically, you will find a small plastic covering over the slot. Remove the cap.
  5. Get a key, small screwdriver, nail file, or any object with a similar shape. Insert it into the override slot, then push it down and hold it in place.
  6. While holding the shift override mechanism, depress the brake pedal.
  7. Hold the shifter, then push the button on the shifter as you’d normally do.
  8. Move the shifter to your preferred gear position.

Note: If you tried the steps above with the engine turned off, make sure you move the shifter to the shifter to the Neutral position to start the vehicle.

Can’t Get the Shifter out of Park Position?

If you followed the steps above, you should be able to resolve your problem. We can say that this method almost all the time. So, if it didn’t work the first time, it is worth trying again. However, make sure that you firmly and simultaneously press down the locking mechanism and the brake pedal while you try moving the shift lever. Moreover, keep in mind that the ignition switch must be in the Run or On position.

If you’re having trouble using the Shift Lock Release feature, you can consult your car manual. Most of the time, you will find detailed instructions in this material. Those who rarely drive an automatic car may think that this feature is not necessary. However, if you are driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you know that this is an important safety feature. Needless to say, if you’re a first-time car owner, you have to know how to use this feature. On the other hand, if you’re driving a manual car, you would have all the control in your hands, making the Shift Lock Release feature unnecessary.

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2 thoughts on “What you Need to Know about the Shift Lock Release Feature”

  1. Where can I buy the little plastic square cover that covers the shift lock slot on a 2011 CHEVY AVEO LT? I lost it while attempting to get out of park, and I want to replace it. The shift lock slot should be covered, because it came with a cover….anyway, as a female, it just looks better covered.


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