Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'99 Ford Contour, Only Starts In Neutral
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.
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,
youre likely looking at a defective park/neutral safety switch.
Its not uncommon for these switchess to wear out and need
replacement. Thats why just about every dealer and parts store stocks
these switches. As for why the shop replaced the battery? Im 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 werent listening.