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

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • Clutch problem, can anyone help? 6 answers

    Have 2006 Kia Rio that we were driving home from town going about 40mph when I went to shift in to gear then clutch petal went to the floor and came back up no problem, but couldn't shift in to any ge...

    2006 Kia Rio


    Maintenance & Repair

  • the o/d off light is on; how do I turn it off? 2 answers

    The o/d off light is lit up on the dash; how do I turn it back off?

    2007 Kia Rio Base


    Maintenance & Repair

  • I have problems starting my car! 52 answers

    I have a 2010 Rio LX with 56000 miles. About 8 months ago it started to give me problems and not always starting. When I go to start the car I turn the key over and it attempts to start but does not...

    2010 Kia Rio LX


    Maintenance & Repair

  • new kio rio 1.4 hatchback engine ticking noise 28 answers

    I just bought a new kio rio ex and ticking noise comes from engine until it heats up, is this normal .

    2012 Kia Rio EX


    Maintenance & Repair


    ...I took the cover to the shifter off that says p.r.d.l...etc off and the black box that is marked with 20L05 I moved it around and it worked...what is that box called. It has 2 offset screws

    2001 Kia Spectra GS


    Maintenance & Repair


Looking for a Used Rio in your area?

CarGurus has 7,480 nationwide Rio listings starting at $1,750.


Search Kia Rio Questions

Kia Rio Experts

#1 abcdef8
Reputation 730
#2 flippinthemadstyles
Reputation 500
#3 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 490
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Hyundai Accent
186 Great Deals out of 12,506 listings starting at $1,295
Used Toyota Corolla
781 Great Deals out of 73,830 listings starting at $1,995
Used Honda Civic
657 Great Deals out of 88,603 listings starting at $995
Used Hyundai Elantra
574 Great Deals out of 52,575 listings starting at $1,499
Used Ford Focus
540 Great Deals out of 57,171 listings starting at $1,095
Used Kia Optima
460 Great Deals out of 30,002 listings starting at $1,995
Used Toyota Yaris
103 Great Deals out of 4,833 listings starting at $2,400
Used Ford Fiesta
139 Great Deals out of 17,040 listings starting at $3,095
Used Toyota Camry
1,001 Great Deals out of 90,918 listings starting at $650

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Kia Rio For Sale
6 Great Deals out of 2,988 listings starting at $10,465
2016 Kia Rio For Sale
57 Great Deals out of 2,350 listings starting at $7,955
2015 Kia Rio For Sale
14 Great Deals out of 394 listings starting at $5,950
2014 Kia Rio For Sale
6 Great Deals out of 292 listings starting at $5,995

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.