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Chevy Tahoe Won’t Go Into Park – What To Do?

You are just about to park your Chevrolet Tahoe, but it won’t go into park. You try every trick you know, but it still doesn't work. What is the problem, and what can you do about it? We consulted with the Chevy Tahoe experts that provided the solutions below.

If you cannot shift your car into park, call your auto mechanic to inspect it. You will receive a diagnosis of the problem, which most likely involves the shifter cable, ignition, or shifter mechanism.

Continue reading as we provide the reasons, your Chevy won't go into park, and how your mechanic will solve this issue. Included are the costs to fix this problem, and the correct way to put your car into park. 

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A white Chevrolet Tahoe parked outside a dealership, Chevy Tahoe Won't Go Into Park - What To Do?

What To Do When Your Chevy Tahoe Won’t Shift To Park

It can be inconvenient when your car won’t shift into the parking gear. You have errands to run, or dash to work. Or, maybe, you simply needed to rush to the supermarket, buy diapers and go back home to your baby.

A white Chevrolet Tahoe on the parking lot

It can be risky leaving your car in this condition, therefore you need to call a mechanic right away, to come and help you out. 

Several reasons could be bringing about this problem, which involves the shifter cable, shifter mechanism, or the ignition. We shall explain each of these below:

Shifter Cable

The shifter cable links the shifter handle to the transmission of your vehicle. The shifter handle is what you move when changing the gear settings, and subsequently changes the position of the shifter cable. 

Let's first check out how the gear transmission works in automatic and manual cars. 

  • Automatic Transmission

Automatic car set to drive mode

Automatic vehicles usually have one cable that connects the transmission to the shifter assembly. If you have the latest Chevy Tahoe, in all likelihood, your car is automatic.

When you move the shifter handle, you either pull or push the lever that is on a single plane and then put it into the position you desire.  

  • Manual Transmission

If you are driving the first-generation Chevrolet Tahoe, from 1995 to 1999, either your car is automatic or manual. Manual transmissions have two shift levers; one moves vertically, and the other one horizontally.

Changing gears on the stick shift

You can push or pull the shifter lever horizontally along a single plane that has three positions as shown in the photo above. The vertical lever moves up or down. 

Broken Shift Cable

Shift cables can break or bend when they stretch too much. This causes your car not to go into park, even when you move the shift lever. You will also not be able to change to the gear you want. 

If you shift the speed too fast in both automatic and manual transmissions or bang the gears in a manual vehicle, you will quicken the wear and tear of the shifter cable.

Stretched Shift Cable

Before a transmission shift cable breaks, it stretches. When it stretches more than it is supposed to, you will find it difficult to put your car in park.

In an automatic transmission, sometimes a stretched cable, may prevent you from turning the ignition off. You may also find it difficult to remove the key from the ignition. 

In other words, your cable is not aligned properly, indicating a different setting. For example, it could be in reverse, but instead, it is in the drive.  Or, it could be in park and it is not.

Shifter Mechanism

The shifter mechanism needs to be in good working order, for  you to effectively put your car into park.

The following issues can bring problems to your transmission:

Blocked Mechanism

Food, coins, or other tiny items or particles can find their way into the channels of the shifter cable. These will block the channels, making it difficult to shift into park.  

Faulty Transmission Solenoid

If the transmission solenoids are not working properly, they can hamper the flow of the transmission fluid into the transmission or through it. 

Check out this transmission fluid on Amazon and is suitable for automatic vehicles.

This liquid like the one shown above is crucial for the optimal operation of the transmission. If the solenoid is faulty, you can find it hard to put your car into park.  

View this solenoid kit on Amazon.

The transmission solenoid like the one above works by the transmission computer relaying instructions to each transmission solenoid. 

Afterward, the transmission fluid is directed to the valves to control the shifting of the gears.

A transmission solenoid that has malfunctioned can interfere with the parking mechanism of your car in the following ways:

  • Shift delay

Shifting gears can delay, sometimes by a few seconds, but can also be as long as or more than a minute. 

  • Does Not Downshift

An automatic transmission that is working well will shift slowly down without an issue.

But, if your solenoid is faulty, you might not downshift or do so in a manner you are unable to control your shifter selector.  

  • Shifting To The Wrong Gear

You might find yourself shifting into a gear you did not want to. This can damage your transmission.

Wear And Tear Of The Transmission Parts

As your Chevy Tahoe ages, the components making up the transmission will wear and tear. It will result in grinding or clunking sounds, an indication of being worn, and thus may be difficult to shift into park. 

Due to this, it’s important to take your car for regular inspection and diagnosis. By doing so, your transmission is repaired early, instead of waiting too long an incur huge expenses. 

Problems With Your Ignition

This issue can prevent you from putting it into park. This means your ignition could be the problem, and may need replacement at some point. 

You may also find out that your ignition cannot turn, making it hard to shift the gear into park. 

How To Correctly Put Your Automatic Vehicle Into Park

Automatic cars have four gears, Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. Putting it in Neutral disengages the gearbox from the engine. This is almost like putting into park, but not quite.

When you put your car in Park, there’s a parking pawl, a pin that locks and prevents your car from moving. 

The following is the correct way to park your automatic car:

  1. Shift the gear into Neutral, and press the parking brake.
  2. Slowly lift your leg from the brake pedal until it is off the pedal.
  3. Press the brake pedal again and then shift gear to Park. 

The Cost Of Fixing Your Car When It Won’t Go Into Park

Car shift gear set to park

Your mechanic will give you a breakdown of the costs of the repairs needed after inspecting and diagnosing your car.

The cost will depend on what the problem is, the parts needed, and the labor required. For example, it could be due to a bad solenoid, old fluid, or the shift cable is broken.

Let’s take a few examples; a mechanic refilling the transmission fluid will cost you between $20 and $30, but a DIY will cost between $5 and $10.

If you need repairs in your transmission, the cost will depend on the type of your vehicle, and the services of the dealer or auto shop you are using.

But, generally, it would cost between $1,800 and $3,400 to repair or replace the system. The labor costs would be between $79 and $189.

If the problem is due to a faulty ignition, you will pay roughly between $130 to $480 for parts and labor to have it replaced.

In Closing

A white Chevrolet Tahoe parked outside a dealership

There are various reasons your vehicle will not go into the park. However, when this happens, the best thing to do is call your mechanic. 

Trying to handle the issue yourself can be quite daunting, as it is a complicated task.

The mechanic will inspect, diagnose the problem, and give you a breakdown of the costs of fixing the problem.

There’s also a correct way of parking if your car is automatic, otherwise, it may present problems for your car.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you are welcome to read and learn more about the Chevrolet Tahoe by clicking the links below:

How Many Seats In A Chevy Tahoe

How Long Does It Take To Build Chevy Tahoe