Troubleshooting Subaru Stuck Gear Shifter: Tips and Tricks to Get Your Car Moving Again

If you own a Subaru car, you might encounter a common problem of getting your car stuck in park. This issue can be quite frustrating, especially when you are in a hurry and need to move your car quickly. Luckily, there are several reasons why your gear shifter might be stuck and ways to troubleshoot and fix the problem. This article will help you understand some possible causes and guide you through the process of repairing a stuck gear shifter, even if you are not a professional mechanic.

Understanding the possible causes of the problem

There are several reasons why your Subaru car might be stuck in park. These reasons include:

  • Parking brake issues: If your parking brake is not functioning correctly, your gear shifter may not release from park. You need to inspect the parking brake cable and make sure it is not rusted or damaged.

  • Shift interlock solenoid problems: This part of your car’s transmission system prevents you from selecting a gear other than park before pressing the brakes. If the shift interlock solenoid fails, you might not be able to move your car from park.

  • Brake light switch issues: Modern Subaru cars have a safety feature that links the brake light switch to the shift interlock. When you press the brake pedal, the brake light switch sends a signal to the system that unlocks the gear shifter. If the brake light switch malfunctions, you might not be able to move your car from park.

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Ways to troubleshoot and fix the problem

If you are experiencing difficulties getting your Subaru car out of park, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Check the fuses: The first thing you need to do is check the fuses. If a fuse that is important for the shift interlock system and brake light switch is blown, your gear shifter might not work.

  • Inspect the shift interlock cable: If the shift interlock cable is not adjusted correctly, you may not be able to move your car from park. Check to make sure that the cable is not frayed, cut or damaged due to rust or dirt. Then adjust it according to the instructions provided in your car owner’s manual.

  • Check the brake light switch: If the brake light switch is faulty, you should have it replaced. You can do this at home, but if you are not confident working with car electrical systems, it’s recommended that you seek professional assistance.

  • Check the parking brake: Your parking brake could also be the cause of the issue. Make sure that the brake pad is not worn out, and adjust the cable according to the instructions in your car owner’s manual.

In-depth instructions on how to fix the problem

If you have followed all the steps above and your gear shifter is still stuck, it may be necessary to disassemble the center console of your Subaru car to access the shift interlock solenoid. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you fix the problem:

  1. Remove the center console of your car. This process can vary depending on your Subaru car model, so refer to your owner’s manual for guidance.

  2. Locate the shift interlock solenoid. It should be near the gear shifter mechanism.

  3. Disconnect the wiring harness to the shift interlock solenoid.

  4. Remove the solenoid from its bracket. Inspect the part for any dirt or signs of wear.

  5. Clean the solenoid or replace it with a new one if necessary.

  6. Reassemble the center console and test the gear shifter.

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Q: My Subaru car won’t move from park even after trying all the troubleshooting steps. What should I do?

A: If you have exhausted all troubleshooting steps and your car is still stuck in park, it might be time to take your car to a professional mechanic.

Q: Can I drive my Subaru car if the brake light switch is not working?

A: No, you cannot. A faulty brake light switch can cause serious safety issues while driving. Have it replaced as soon as possible.

Q: Can I fix a shift interlock solenoid problem by myself, or do I need a professional mechanic?

A: You can replace the part by yourself, but you should only attempt it if you are confident in working with car electrical systems.

In conclusion, being stuck in park can be a significant problem for Subaru car owners. However, there are several causes and troubleshooting steps to fix the problem. By following the tips and tricks in this article, you can determine how to repair your gear shifter yourself or seek professional assistance if necessary.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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