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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by ALLDATAdiy.com users over the course of many years.
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  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'99 Ford Contour, Only Starts In Neutral

Q: Last week my “99 Ford Contour would not start. No sound at all when you turned the key. A road service mechanic tried to give me a boost. It wouldn't work. Finally, the man put my car in neutral and it started. I took the car to the shop, and they said I needed a new battery. This morning, same thing, no noise - wouldn't start. I put her in neutral and it started. What do you think? I'm so upset.

- Sheila S.

A: What you really need checked is the neutral safety switch? Vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions have a safety device called a park/neutral safety switch. The job of the safety switch is to prevent someone from starting his or her vehicle while it is in drive or reverse. Like any other electrical type switch there are contacts inside that, when they line-up, allow electricity to go to the starter to crank the engine. If your starter works when the shifter is in neutral but not when in park, you’re likely looking at a defective park/neutral safety switch. It’s not uncommon for these switches’s to wear out and need replacement. That’s why just about every dealer and parts store stocks these switches. As for why the shop replaced the battery? I’m not sure. The battery is old enough to have possibly tested bad. Did you tell them about the vehicle starting in neutral and not park? If you did, it sounds like they weren’t listening.

 
     
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