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Why Won’t My Chrysler Pacifica Shift Out Of Park?

If your Chrysler Pacifica fails to shift out of park, you may be wondering about the cause of the problem and how to fix it. Luckily, we have done some research for you, and here is what we found.

The following are possible reasons why Chrysler Pacifica fails to shift out of park:

  • Faulty shift lock solenoid
  • Stuck parking brake
  • Low transmission fluid
  • Damaged shift linkage

This issue can be easily solved without the help of a mechanic. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to deal with a Chrysler Pacifica that won't shift out of park.

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Chrysler Pacifica Electric Vehicle glossy metallic silver grey color, Why Won't My Chrysler Pacifica Shift Out Of Park?

Why Won't My Chrysler Pacifica Shift Out Of Park?

There are different problems that can cause a Chrysler Pacifica to not shift out of park. Here are the most common:

Bad Shift Lock Solenoid

Bottom view of the bottom of the car with the transmission pan removed

If the shift lock solenoid in your Chrysler Pacifica develops a fault, the vehicle will not receive the signal indicating that the brake is being applied—an action that releases a lock and allows the shifter to move.

When this occurs, you will be unable to put your vehicle into gear. This failure of the Chrysler Pacifica's shift lock solenoid usually occurs as a result of the shift interlock's regular wear and tear.

Stuck Parking Brake

A Chrysler Pacifica parking brake may get stuck for many reasons. The parking brake can become stuck if the brake pads, calipers, drum, or lines do not release as they should at the appropriate time.

Additionally, parking on an elevation or slope might cause a parking brake to become stuck, which can be pretty dangerous. When you park on a hill or an inclined surface, the parking pawl will have to endure more force than usual. 

Since the angle of inclination directly correlates to the amount of force exerted on the pawl, this determines whether or not the parking brake is engaged.

Low Transmission Fluid

Hand pouring transmission fluid of the car

When the transmission fluid in your vehicle is low, the amount of hydraulic pressure it generates will decrease, resulting in a phenomenon known as gear slipping.

Several problems within the transmission can be caused by insufficient fluid levels, which can be unexpected. The majority of these can be remedied with little effort, while others may require more costly maintenance.

A transmission low on transmission fluid is difficult to shift out of park, which may cause a visible reduction in the transmission's general performance in the long run.

Damaged Shift Linkage

The shift linkage refers to the automobile's cables that connect the gearshift or gear selector to the transmission. It is usually a dependable device, but just like any other piece of equipment, it can break down.

If something causes it to bend or come free, the geometry won't be suitable anymore, and your Pacifica may be unable to move out of park.

Additionally, the linkage can break. If the shift cable breaks, the shifter handle will not automatically return to the neutral position after it is moved.

If the horizontal or vertical cable fails, shifting gears becomes difficult. If something goes wrong with the shift linkage, it might make your Pacifica completely inoperable.

What To Do If My Chrysler Pacifica Won't Shift Out Of Park?

Waymo self driving car performing tests on a street near Google's offices

The following are things you can do if your Chrysler Pacifica won't shift out of park:

Release The Parking Pawl

If the weight of your Chrysler Pacifica prevents the parking brake from releasing, and you cannot shift out of park, you may need to apply some force to the parking pawl to get it released.

Before attempting to get the shifter out of park, it is important to give the brake pedal a solid push down first, just in case the vehicle starts to move. You can seek the assistance of a friend in lifting your vehicle.

This may cause some of the weight to reduce and release the pawl. Always use the parking brake before putting your car into park when stopping on an incline to avoid this issue.

This shifts the burden away from the parking pawl and parking gear onto the parking brake assembly.

Waymo self driving car performing tests on a street side view

Change Or Add Transmission Fluid

Transmission is responsible for maximizing the output of your engine, ensuring that the appropriate quantity of horsepower and torque is applied to the road to move the vehicle ahead.

The transmission fluid greatly enhances the function of the transmission in such a way that it lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. However, transmission fluid deteriorates over time.

As a result, you should change it regularly to avoid damaging the transmission. If you are experiencing trouble shifting out of park, you should check the transmission fluid level and either replace it or add more if it is low.

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Override Shift Interlock Solenoid

It is possible to override the shift interlock solenoid in the Chrysler Pacifica. Check under the shifter cover to see if there is a release. This will depend on the model and year of your vehicle.

If you do not see one there, you should look in the owner's manual for instructions on where to find the release and instructions on how to override the shift lock solenoid.

However, this only provides a short-term solution to the problem. You should still get the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Click here to see this shift interlock solenoid on Amazon

Call A Professional

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to consult a specialist for further assistance.

Since you cannot shift your vehicle into gear, you need to have it towed, which will increase the cost of the repairs. Once the issue has been fixed,  you shouldn't have trouble shifting out of park.

Cost To Inspect Chrysler Pacifica That Won't Shift Out Of Park

Waymo self driving car performing tests on a street in Silicon Valley

On average, the cost of inspecting a Chrysler Pacifica that fails to shift out of park should be around $95. However, there will be a difference in price based on different factors.

In some cases, the problem can be easily fixed, while some might be caused by even bigger problems like a damaged transmission.

Where Is The Shift Lock Release Button?

The driver can change between several available automatic transmission options because of the shift lock release mechanism.

The shift lock button is usually located on top of or to the side of the gear selection lever. The driver can lock the gear into the desired position with the help of this button.

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

Problems with shifting into gears are usually the first indication that the shift solenoid in your car's transmission is bad. Additionally, there is a possibility that a "check engine" light or a "transmission warning" light will display on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Listed below are the primary signs that show you have a bad shift solenoid:

  • Active check engine light 
  • Active transmission warning light
  • Difficulties or delays in shifting out of park
  • Brake not responding 
  • Car not accelerating
  • Downshift or upshift issues
  • Interior and exterior lights not coming on

The above is a brief overview of the symptoms that may reveal themselves if the shift solenoid in your vehicle is failing or has become bad.

However, you should note that a faulty shift interlock solenoid could pose a significant risk to your car. As a result, it should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent more damage.

To Wrap Up

Chrysler Pacifica Electric Vehicle glossy metallic silver grey color

If your Chrysler Pacifica is stuck in park, it could be due to problems like a bad shift lock solenoid, stuck parking brake, low transmission fluid, or damaged shift linkage.

To fix the issue, all you have to do is release the parking sprawl, add transmission fluid, and override the shift interlock solenoid. Don't hesitate to call a professional if you cannot solve the problem alone.

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