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Sometimes the gear shift (I have an automatic) sticks in park and I cannot press the button in to get it to move into any other gear. I have been told that the contacts that cause the gear shift to move are dirty and that spraying windex down under there will help, and it does, but it seems to keep happening. Any idea what causes it?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jennifer Frey, Automotive Service Writer and Technician at AskPatty.com Hi Ellen, In my experience, a vehicle that won*t shift out of park usually has a problem with the Brake On/Off switch. Since you have to apply the brake to shift your vehicle out of park there is a switch that tells the transmission that your foot is in fact, on the brake. If the electrical connection gets damaged somehow, (usually corrosion) this can cause your vehicle not to shift out of park intermittently or sometimes not at all. It could be possible that the windex you sprayed down there removed some of the corrosion, but it definitely won't fix it for good. You'll probably need to have the switch replaced, (of course you'll want a diagnosis first to make sure that it really is the switch). You can avoid this problem by putting the vehicle in neutral and applying the parking brake, (although it is much more convenient to put it in park!). Also, if your vehicle is equipped with a shift lock release you can use that whenever it gives you any trouble. I'm not sure were it is located on your car, probably on the steering column or even right by the shifter. Just insert your key into this hole and the lever will shift out of park. You can call the dealer if you're not sure where it is located, (sometimes it will be hiding under a little plastic cover). Best of luck! Jennifer Frey

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