91 Honda Accord shift stuck in park

Asked by Aug 23, 2010 at 03:43 PM about the 1991 Honda Accord

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 91 Accord will not shift out of park when car is cold...I need to use shift lock release feature.  Brake lights work well.  After car is driven a few miles...I hear the "click" when brake pedal is pressed, and shift works great then.  Any suggestions?

5 Answers


sounds like the solenoid in the shift interlock sys. is getttin stuck. youll prob. just have to replace it

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

try starting the car in neutral i had the same problem with my 92 accord and i started it in neutral and it worked

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Hi, I just fixed this problem on my '90 Accord. The problem is in the Shift Position Console Switch. This is the switch inside your console that measures the position of the shift lever. I had to remove 6 screws to get the console off, then the large white and black switch assembly was fastened to the driver's side of the shift lever assy with two 10mm nuts. With the switch removed from the lever assy, I could see that there's a sliding part in it that a post on the shift lever moves so the car can tell electrically where the lever is. I could see some contacts, lots of grease and some dark corrosion products fouling some of the contacts. Disconnecting the two wiring connectors allowed me to bring the switch assy inside to have a better look. I saw that it's made of three main parts; a white nylon chassis, a small sliding contact block, and a black contact insert with wires soldered to it. I carefully pried up one edge of the nylon and eased the black contact insert out. When I got the sliding block out, I could see that it held two small contacts. The larger contact that connects the park position terminals were totally caked with 20 yr old grease and corrosion and didn't move up and down at all. I carefully took the contact piece out (!! spring behind it !!), removed all the old caked on grease and corrosion, cleaned it up, cleaned the spring, and cleaned the block. I used a commercial contact cleaner spray and qtips to get into all the nooks and crannies. I wasn't sure what to re-lubricate it with and ended up going with a contact enhancer called Stabilant 22A (because that's what I had handy). When I was done, the contact assy on the sliding block was clean and copper coloured (not dark green as it was when I started) and it was suspended on the spring and moved up and down when pushed. When I started, it was gummed up so badly it was jammed in the lowest position, which would make for the worst possible contact. Anyway, I put it all back together, back into the car, and it works great! Just make sure that you have it adjusted so that all gear positions work. There's about 5mm of play built into the mounting holes to allow for a bit of adjustment, so play with this when you're putting it back together. All told, it took about 2 hours to fix. This has been bugging me for years and now with winter arriving, I'm glad I finally made the effort to take it apart and clean it up. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the above: cablemonkey at shaw dot ca

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.

Hey Guys, Thought I would give everyone my two cents on this topic and hopefully help as many individuals as I can. Type of Car: I own a 1990 Honda Accord LX Problem: Primary issue and the main problem was that I couldn't get my key out of the ignition and when I shifted my car into park, the P Light never came on and I could no longer get it back out of park. Secondary issue was that I couldn’t get the key out of the ignition. What to Look For (Signs of Component Failure) and Questions to Ask: 1. Main Relay: This component is very vital to many electrical processes in the car, but in regards to ignition, this component must be in good working order. Check to make sure you hear the audible click (driver’s side below dash) when moving into and out of park. This switch interworks with the brake light switch located behind your brakes and is responsible for allowing your key to come out of the ignition. Do you hear the click? Does your car suffer from “no hot starts?” A hallmark sign of a bad main relay is the inability to start car during warm days (i.e. with the windows up in the sun all day) – Check this component first. If this works fine, move on. 2. Brake Light Switch/Sensor: This component is both a safety feature and how your car electronically communicates that you are indeed in park. The switch is located behind the brake pedal. You can’t get the car out of park to switch to other gears or take the key out of the ignition unless your brake light switch is working properly. Are your taillights working? Are they on all the time? Are they not on? Do they only come on when you press down the brakes? – The switch is in circuit with a few other solenoids and sensors, so this switch must be working. Easy test is to grab a multi-meter and measure the resistance in Ohms across the switch. There should be no resistance (aka 0 or infinity) If you don’t know what a multi-meter is: Are the brake lights working? Yes- Move on. No- Replace the switch. 3. Shift Lock Solenoid: This component is located underneath the slot to insert your spare key near the shift lever. This is a neat Honda trick for overriding the electrical mechanisms to take your car out of park when something isn’t working properly. Can you get your car out of park using a spare key? If you can, this solenoid is fine. If you can’t, replacing this solenoid is a good idea, but not vital to the operation of your car given the main system is functional. Don’t worry too much about this one. Just something to note. 4. Neutral Safety Switch: This component is located on the left hand side of the shift level. It is rather large and white. IMHO, this is the problem 99.999999999% of the time when A. your car won’t come out of park and B. your key is stuck in the ignition. This component is responsible for insuring your car doesn’t miraculously come out of park once you shift into park and won’t allow you to take it out of park until you depress the brakes. See how all these components work together? Is there an absence of P Light on your dash board. If you jiggle the shift lever while in drive does your green square fade in and out? Has your S (Superspeed) Light come on and off intermittently? Does this problem occur in temperature extremes? (really cold/hot weather) The safety switch is easily corrodible and damaged given the location. Can you name any electronics you have had for 20 plus years that have had soda, mcdonalds grease, cig ashes and/or beer (not while driving.) spilled on them and survived this long and remained functional? Not a chance. The key to your problem most likely involves this switch. Replace it, looks like this: http://www.amazon.com/OES-Genuine-Ne.../dp/B001G7WRDE manufacture no: W0133-1622805 Branden

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

I have the same problem in my 1994 Accord EX, as I sometimes have to put the key in the gear release hole to start the car in N. I will ask my husband to try what you mentioned and hope it works. Also, does it have a light that comes on in each gear?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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