Unable to shift from park


Asked by Jul 29, 2013 at 05:00 PM about the 2001 Kia Rio Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I am unable to shift from park. I have ruled out all the usual causes, such as brakes,
solenoid release, cable etc... When I disconnect the cable from the transmission, the shift
works fine, so the problem is in the transmission. Something is locked up and not letting
me shift. I checked the transmission oil and that looks fine. The check engine light is off.
Any ideas?

5 Answers


Sounds stupid but, Is the auto sitting on flat level ground ? As transmissions get older they tend to bind as they slip to the correct "locking gear tooth" when you place the vehicle in park. It could just be stuck and all it needs is a good rocking to make it come out of gear.


Thanks for that input. I did try rocking the car, and even pushed it with another car and then tried shifting. Still no luck. I can see an electrical plug on the transmission next to the shift level. Its possible that it is some electrical problem. But without knowing what those signals are, I am unable to investigate that angle.


It could be an electrical issue. The electrical switch on the transmission could be broken, no allowing it to shift. There is no way you can rent an OBD II tester and check for codes ? How about looking online to see if there is a way to get the codes via the dashboard lights ?

I know this is old but was thinking it could be the neutral relay switch


Thanks for answering, but it actually turned out that the vertical shaft coming out of the transmission was frozen to the support bracket which is mounted to the top part of the transmission case. This is directly under the neutral safety switch. The hole where the shaft goes through the bracket is not sealed or lubricated and is facing vertically up, so water and other crud can collect there. This happened after being parked for only 2 months. The solution was to spray plenty of penetrating oil and turn the shaft with a heavy duty wrench. It took a lot of force and I was worried I might break the transmission. I saw this mentioned elsewhere on the internet: http://www.kia-forums.com/2g-1998-2001-sephia/61980-stuck-park.html

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