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Ford Expedition Stuck In Park – What Could Be Wrong?

If your Ford Expedition gets stuck in park, you may be wondering about the cause of the problem. Fortunately, we have done some research for you, and here is what we found.

The following are possible reasons why a Ford Expedition gets stuck in park:

  • Increased parking pawl pressure
  • Faulty brake switch
  • Bad shifter interlock
  • Transmission Failure

It is recommended to fix this issue as soon as possible so it doesn't get worse. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to deal with Ford Expedition stuck in park.

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New model Ford Expedition seven passenger suv at a dealership, Ford Expedition Stuck In Park - What Could Be Wrong?

What Could Be Wrong If Ford Expedition Gets Stuck In Park?

New model Ford Expedition seven passenger suv at a dealership.

There are different problems that can cause a Ford Expedition to get stuck in park. Here are some of them:

Increased Parking Pawl Pressure

If you park your automobile on a steep incline, the parking pawl will have to handle greater weight than if you parked on flat ground. It wedges itself into gear as a result of the extra pressure on your gear shifts. 

In these instances, the only option is to remove the vehicle from the steep terrain. To accomplish this, you should either move or rock the vehicle.

You can also use a tow truck to relieve this pressure. To avoid this situation in the future, always set your parking brake before coming to a stop on a steep incline.

Faulty Brake Switch

A working brake pedal is required for the automatic gear shift to function properly. The motorized switch for the brake interlock is equipped with a sensor that detects when the brake pedal is pressed. 

If this sensor fails, it may seem as if you are not applying the brake. As a result, even if you press down on the pedal, the automobile may become stuck in park. 

Fortunately, replacing a brake switch is straightforward. The task requires no specific skills or experience.

Bad Shifter Interlock

Most new cars have a shift interlock system as standard equipment. This feature prevents you from shifting the vehicle out of park without pressing the brake first.

This is to avoid mistakenly shifting into drive or reverse while inside a parking place or barrier, potentially causing a collision. The good news is that the majority of shift interlocks have an override button.

In the shifter, there is usually a small plastic cover that you can remove to bypass the shifter lock solenoid. This will get you back on the road quickly and may spare you from becoming stranded.

Transmission Failure

At times, you may discover that some components of the transmission need to be repaired due to issues like a bad shift linkage. To get things back to running properly, checking for these kinds of problems takes specialized diagnostic equipment.

There are a number of transmission components that could malfunction and cause your automobile to become stuck in park.

Depending on what was damaged, you can find a replacement for them, but occasionally the entire part may need to be disassembled.

What To Do If Ford Expedition Gets Stuck In A Park?

Automatic transmission shift selector in the car interior.

If your Ford Expedition gets stuck in park, here are things you can do to get your vehicle back on the road in no time:

Weight Adjustment 

There are a few methods you can use to make sure your car releases its hold if it is stuck in park because of the weight of your car. 

You can try pressing the brake pedal down firmly, pushing the gear shift lever hard, and gently shaking the car back and forth in an effort to release some of the weight from the transmission.

Check Your Brake Lights 

It is recommended to have someone check your brake lights while you press the brake pedal to make sure the car is not locked in park as a result of too much pressure on the brake pedal. 

Check the fuses if the lights are not functioning. If everything is working as it should, you can find other possible causes for the malfunction. 

If the car has a security system, you might need to turn it off. The brake switch could be broken even though the brake lights are functioning since the light can be a part of two distinct circuits.

Disengage The Shift Interlock Solenoid 

In the Ford Expedition, the shift lock solenoid can be turned off. Locate the shifter cover and check to see if there is an override button there. If none is there, look up the precise location of the shift lock solenoid override in your owner's manual. 

Every Ford Expedition model will have a different method for disengaging the shift lock solenoid. 

Change Your Brake Switch

The brake switch should also be examined. Some transmission systems in your Ford Expedition rely on the brake switch to signal when the brake is pressed. 

Therefore, you can determine whether your brake is malfunctioning if you are unable to shift your automobile out of park.

Even while a brake switch like this can seem expensive, there are a number of reasonably priced choices from reputable vendors that cost less.

Take Your Car To A Mechanic

Car towed onto flatbed tow truck with hook and chain

If none of the above solutions works for you, you will need to hire a tow truck to move your car to a mechanic shop for inspection. The car will need a proper examination for other problems that might make your car get stuck in park.

How Do I Know If My Shift Interlock Solenoid Is Bad?

Below are some signs that indicate that the shift interlock solenoid in your car is malfunctioning. If you experience any of these signs, your shift interlock solenoid may need a replacement:

  • Difficulty getting out of park
  • Flashing warning lights
  • Unresponsive brake
  • Dead car battery

Where Is The Shift Lock Release Button?

In most cars, the shift lock release button can be found on the lever itself. It is located on the top or side of the gear selector lever.

This release mechanism helps drivers choose between different automatic gearbox options. The driver can use it to lock the gear to the preferred position.

With the button, you can select any option, like parking, and then lock it until you want to change. It is impossible to shift lock override until you release the shift lock.

How Much Does It Cost Cost Replace A Shift Interlock Solenoid?

The amount it costs to replace a shift interlock solenoid greatly depends on your car's make and model. You should prepare to spend between $15 and $100 to repair a single transmission shift solenoid.

A pack of replacement transmission solenoids can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.

How Do You Release A Stuck Shift Lock Release?

As a safety measure, the shift lock release enables you to use your automobile if the shift is stuck. The instructions for using the shift lock release are listed below. 

  • Turn on the parking or emergency brake. 
  • The ignition should be turned on after inserting the key. Bear in mind that the engine doesn't need to be started.
  • Locate the shift lock override slot. It is located next to the lever on the shifter console. You might need to remove a plastic cap from the slot. 
  • Enter a key, nail file, or screwdriver into the slot. Push it down while maintaining pressure.
  • Engage the override shift gears and simultaneously press the brake pedal.

Will A Bad Shift Solenoid Always Throw A Code?

Yes, you will always get a trouble code when utilizing a scanner to diagnose solenoid issues with your car. Even after the engine has undergone troubleshooting, this error code may still appear, indicating that the problem has not yet been resolved. 

If you have attempted self-diagnosis and the issue still exists, you should have a mechanic or transmission specialist check the car and the trouble code.

Where Is The Transmission Shift Solenoid Located?

Bottom view of the bottom of the car with the transmission pan removed and a view of the solenoids lubricated with oil during repair and maintenance in the workshop for vehicles.

Transmission shift solenoids can be found within the valve body of your automatic transmission. 

They are built within the valve body, and certain automobile models allow you to see them without removing the valve body, but others need you to remove the valve body to access them.

To Wrap Up

Different issue leads to the problem of Ford Expedition getting stuck in park. The specific cause should be determined and the problem solved as soon as possible.

This issue is usually a result of either pawl pressure, bad shift interlock, failed brake switch, or transmission problems. 

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