Did your Pacifica’s battery die, and you had to get someone to tow your car? Do you want to know how to set your Pacifica to Neutral(N) so the crew can tow it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question and have the answer for you.
There is a manual way to set the transmission of your Chrysler Pacifica to Neutral(N). Locate the strap hidden behind a small panel on the left side of the steering wheel and pull it hard. This will set the transmission to Neutral(N) even when the battery is dead.
Let’s talk about how to tell if the battery is about to die in the succeeding sections. Learn about another way of getting out of a dead battery situation in the sections below.
Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!
How does a car get started?
The center of the starting mechanism in your car is the starter motor.
When you insert the key into the ignition and turn it to start the engine or when you press the button to start your car, electricity goes to the solenoid of the starter motor. This solenoid is an electromagnet that requires only a small amount of electrical energy to activate. Once activated, the plunger moves to the back of the solenoid and pushes a metal plate.
The metal plate connects with two connectors—one of which goes to the car battery, and the other goes to the starter motor. The contact from the plunger completes the circuit, connecting the starter motor with the car battery.
The car battery then supplies the starter motor with a large amount of electrical energy. The electrical energy activates the starter motor. When you release the key, the electrical energy going to the solenoid stops.
Without electrical energy, the electromagnet deactivates, and the plunger returns to its original position. This disconnects the circuit that supplies electrical energy to the starter motor.
When the plunger slides to complete the starter motor’s circuit, it pulls on a lever. This pulling force on the lever creates a pushing force on the starter motor’s pinion. This moves the pinion forward to mesh with the flywheel of the engine.
Stopping the supply of energy to the solenoid pulls the pinion back to its original position.
The rotation of the pinion rotates the flywheel to create enough compression inside the combustion chambers to initiate combustion.
What causes batteries to fail?
Like all other batteries, a car battery has a definite service life. However, certain conditions and driving habits can cause the battery’s lifespan to become shorter than normal.
Here are some of the things that may seem normal to most people but can actually cause problems to your car, especially the battery.
Frequent Short Trips
Making frequent short trips is bad for your car.
When you start your Pacifica, the starter motor takes a lot of your car battery’s charge. When you drive your car around, the alternator charges the battery to replenish what it lost.
However, charging is not instantaneous.
If you frequently drive short distances, you’re not giving the alternator enough time to replenish the charge that the car battery loses when starting your car. This causes your battery to be in a constant state of low charge.
Acid stratification happens when the sulfuric acid in the battery settles at the bottom. This results in an uneven distribution of acid across the depth of the battery.
Sulfuric acid is heavier than water, and it will naturally move to the bottom of your battery.
Stratification is bad for the battery because the high concentration of water at the top of the battery can corrode the plates. Lower acid concentration also leads to lower plate activation.
On the other hand, the higher concentration of acid at the bottom of the battery leads to a high concentration of ions at the bottom. This creates high voltage readings that the battery cannot handle. This situation leads to a drop in cold cranking amperes (CCA) which is proportional to the battery’s ability to crank the engine.
Fully charging your battery and maintaining full charge prevents stratification.
High temperatures cause the water inside the battery to evaporate. This leads to lower efficiency.
Undercharging is when the battery never receives enough electrical energy to become fully charged. Undercharging also happens when a battery doesn’t receive ample time to recharge.
Continuous undercharging leads to a buildup of sulfates on the plates, dropping their efficiency.
Sulfates naturally go away whenever the battery gets a full charge. However, constant undercharging allows sulfates to harden. Fully charging the battery will no longer remove hard sulfates on the plates.
What are the symptoms of a weak battery?
Most of the time, the best way to get out of a bad situation is to avoid getting into it. In the case of a bad battery, replacing a failing battery before it dies will prevent it from dying on you while driving.
If you’re having a hard time starting your car, then it could be time to replace the battery.
Difficulty starting your Pacifica comes with the sound of slow cranking. Slow cranking is a sign that the starter motor is not getting enough electrical energy to start the engine. This is also a common sign of a failing battery.
Pacifica And Shifting To Neutral(N)
Some newer cars, like the Chrysler Pacifica, use a rotary dial to shift gears.
This is an electronic dial that shifts the position of the gear when you rotate the dial. This is a departure from the old mechanical systems for shifting the gears of your car.
Since it is electronic, it is easier to integrate safety features into the rotary dial. Some models will automatically shift to Park(P) when your car is not moving, when the driver’s seatbelt is off, and when the driver’s door is open.
However, since this is an electronic shifter, it will no longer respond when the battery is dead. You can rotate the dial, but the gear will not change.
This becomes a problem when you need to switch the gear to Neutral(N) so that AAA can tow your car.
How to get Chrysler Pacifica in Neutral with a dead battery?
Fortunately, Chrysler Pacifica has a way to get it to Neutral(N) even with a dead battery.
Here are the complete steps to set your Pacifica to Neutral(N) even with a dead battery.
- Remove the emergency key (the physical key) from the key fob.
- You can also use a flathead screwdriver or a similar tool that has a narrow and flat end.
- You should use a plastic trim remover if you have one in your car. This is to avoid damaging your Pacifica dashboard.
- Look for a small squarish panel on the lower left of the steering wheel. It is often between the lever for opening the hood and the steering wheel.
- Look for a small notch on the small panel.
- Insert your car key, trim remover, or flathead screwdriver into the notch and pry the small panel open.
- There is a nylon strap inside the small panel. This strap is often brightly colored, so you can easily see it.
- Step on the brakes or activate the parking brakes first before proceeding.
- The next step will set your Pacifica’s gear into Neutral(P). Thus, if it is on an incline, your Pacifica will start to roll in the direction of the incline. Stepping on the brakes or activating the parking brakes prevents your Pacifica from hitting anything.
- Pull hard on the strap. This will switch your Pacifica to Neutral(N).
How to jumpstart a car with a battery pack?
Having a battery pack in your car allows you to have a portable way to jumpstart your car whenever the battery dies. It is like having an emergency battery with you always.
Additionally, if your Pacifica doesn’t have the strap to manually set the car to Neutral(N), then you will need to jumpstart it.
Here are the simple steps to jumpstart your car using a battery pack.
- Turn off the ignition.
- Turn off all the devices in your car (climate control, radio, etc.).
- Unplug anything that connects to the USB slots or the AUX port.
- Activate the parking brake.
- Set the transmission to Park(P) if you have an automatic or to Neutral(N) if you have a standard transmission.
- Open the hood.
- Check the battery terminals. Get rid of dirt if there is any.
- Some battery packs require that they are off first. Check the instructions on your pack.
- Connect the red cable from the battery pack to the red terminal (positive terminal) of the battery. Use jumper cables if the battery pack does not have cables.
- Connect the black cable of the battery pack to the black terminal (negative terminal) of the battery.
- Start your car.
Newer Pacifica models with dial shifters have a hidden strap that allows you to manually set the transmission to Neutral(N) if the car battery dies.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read: