Can’t Get Your Subaru Out of Park? Here’s How to Fix It in 5 Easy Steps

If you own a Subaru and have ever found yourself struggling to get your car out of park, you’re not alone. This frustrating issue can be caused by a variety of factors, but the good news is that it can usually be resolved with some simple troubleshooting and maintenance. In this article, we’ll examine the potential reasons why your Subaru might be stuck in park and provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix the issue.

Common causes of a Subaru car stuck in park

There are a few different issues that could be causing your Subaru to be stuck in park. Some of the most common include:

1. Faulty brake light switch

One common culprit behind a car being stuck in park is a faulty brake light switch. The switch is designed to ensure that the brake pedal is depressed before the car can be shifted out of park. If it’s not functioning properly, the car won’t recognize that the pedal is being pressed and won’t allow you to shift into gear.

2. Blown fuse

Another potential issue is a blown fuse. The shift lock solenoid system, which prevents the car from being shifted out of park without first depressing the brake, is powered by a fuse. If this fuse is blown, the system won’t function properly and the car will be stuck.

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3. Malfunctioning shift lock solenoid

Finally, there’s the possibility that the shift lock solenoid itself is malfunctioning. This is the system that physically locks the shifter in place until the brake pedal is pressed. If it’s not working properly, it won’t release the shifter and you won’t be able to shift into gear.

Fixing a Subaru stuck in park in 5 steps

Now that you know what might be causing your Subaru to be stuck in park, it’s time to get it fixed. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Check your brake lights

The first thing to do is to check your brake lights. If they’re not working properly, there’s a good chance that the issue is with the brake light switch. If they are working, move on to step two.

Step 2: Check your fuses

Next, check your fuses. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate the fuse box and look for the one that corresponds to the shift lock solenoid. If it’s blown, replace it and try to shift out of park again.

Step 3: Manually release the shift lock

If your fuses are fine, you can try manually releasing the shift lock. Look for a small cover on or near your shifter labeled "shift lock release." Remove the cover and insert a small object like a screwdriver or key into the slot. Apply pressure while depressing the brake pedal and attempt to move the shifter out of park.

Step 4: Inspect the shift lock solenoid

If the manual release doesn’t work, you may need to inspect the shift lock solenoid. This is a more involved process and may require some basic knowledge of your car’s inner workings. Consult your owner’s manual or take your car to a mechanic for this step.

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Step 5: Take your car to a Subaru professional

If all else fails, it’s time to take your car to a Subaru professional. They’ll be able to diagnose the issue and get you back on the road in no time.

Tips to prevent future issues with your Subaru car

To prevent future issues with your Subaru car, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance. This includes:

  • Regularly checking your brake lights
  • Keeping an eye on your fuses
  • Following the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual
  • Paying attention to any unusual noises or movements in your car

By staying up-to-date on maintenance and addressing any issues as soon as they arise, you can avoid getting stuck in park in the future.


Getting your Subaru stuck in park can be a frustrating experience, but it’s usually a fixable one. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article and staying on top of your car’s maintenance, you can get back on the road in no time. Remember to always prioritize safety when working on your car and don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you’re not sure what to do.

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Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

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