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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
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 users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

Unlockable Automatic Transmission Shifter Lock

Q: The shifter would not unlock out of park on my car. After following the procedure in the Owner's Manual, we were able to get it to release. What do you think the problem is and approx cost?

- Marshall W.

A: Knowing the year, make and model of your vehicle would make things a little easier to answer your question. The shift-inter lock systems are found on most all makes of vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions. The reason for the shift-inter lock system is to assure that the driver of the vehicle has their foot on the brake pedal, not the gas, when moving the transmission selector from park to drive or reverse. The operating system of the shift-inter lock is reasonably generic across the line of manufacturers. There will be fuses, a brake pedal position switch (many times it is the brake light switch) a possible relay/module and last a solenoid/actuator. When the ignition is turned on electrical power goes to and activates the solenoid/actuator. The solenoid will pull a pawl/lock into place that blocks the movement of the shifter. When you step on the brake pedal another electrical signal is sent to the relay/module and it responds by canceling the other signal, which causes the shift-inter lock solenoid to release, allowing the shifter to be moved. The most common problem we see in the shop are failed fuses or worn shift-inter lock solenoids. The inside of the solenoid will wear and bind internally and will not release once activated. The fuses you can check yourself. Leave diagnosing the rest of the system to a qualified technician.

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