Truck Won’t Go Into Park – Why And To Do?

If your truck fails to go into park, you may wonder about the problem's cause and how to fix it. Luckily, we have done some research for you, and here is what we found.

Stretched and defective transmission shift cable, bad shifter mechanism, faulty ignition key tumbler, and malfunctioning transmission solenoids can cause trucks to not go into the park. Here are things you can do to tackle the issue:

  • Check for damaged shifter cable
  • Clean the gear
  • Inspect the transmission solenoid 
  • Call a mechanic

Once you notice this problem, deal with it as soon as possible. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to fix the truck.

Why Is My Truck Not Going Into Park?

Symbol of each auto gear for car shifting

A truck fails to go into park for the following reasons.

A Defective Transmission Shift Cable

The shifter is the component that is primarily responsible for shifting your truck into park. It's connected to your truck's transmission via the shifter cable.

So, if your truck does not shift into park, the problem might be caused by a broken or malfunctioning shifter. The transmission shift cable can wear or crack over time like every other mechanical device. As a result, the indicator needle will not link to the park gear when the driver selects it.

It is not advisable to drive a truck with a damaged transmission shift cable because it slows down gear changes and prevents the vehicle from going into park or reverse.

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Bad Shifter Mechanism

The gear shift lever of an automated transmission is equipped with several sensors that assist in controlling how and when the transmission should shift gears.

When the sensor fails to work correctly, it will transmit inaccurate signals. It causes the shift time calculation to be distorted, which prevents the gear from shifting into park.

In addition, the teleportation mechanisms (engineering) and vacuum lines might get obstructed if tiny particles fall into them. If the vacuum line is twisted or jammed, your truck won't be able to shift into park, putting extra strain on the gearbox and making shifting gears difficult.

Faulty Ignition Key Tumbler

Car ignition lock with key

The ignition lock cylinder's wear is another reason your truck cannot go into park. This problem occurs in vehicles with a steering lock that links directly to the ignition cylinder. 

When the cylinder wears out over time, the key will no longer make proper contact with the teeth in the drive. It becomes impossible to unlock the door, start the engine, or shift into gear.

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Stretched Transmission Shift Cable

Aside from breakage, the transmission shift cable can get stretched after prolonged usage. The vehicle will not shift into park, and the key might get stuck in the ignition.

When the cable is stretched, it will cause the gear changer to become misaligned, which might result in the truck's difficulty in changing gear.

Malfunctioning Transmission Solenoids

Fluids are very crucial in maintaining the smooth operation of your vehicle. A regular check-up and replace the fluids regularly.

The transmission oil filter may get clogged if your truck does not get routine maintenance or regular examination and cleaning. It also slows the rate at which oil flows into the gearbox, causing difficulty in changing gear.

Click here to see this transmission solenoid on Amazon.

Transmission Issues

Several potential reasons a transmission failure may prevent a truck from shifting into park. However, the majority of gearbox breakdowns are often caused by internal components that have been worn or broken.

Due to this issue, shifting gears is more complicated than usual, and you might hear grinding sounds from the hardware.

What To Do If Truck Won't Go Into Park?

Colored automatic gearshift stick, What To Do If Truck Won't Go Into Park?

The following are actions to take to fix trucks that fail to go into park:

Check For Damaged Shifter Cable

Examine the transmission connection below your truck, next to the gearbox. Look whether the cable is damaged or broken. 

Oil has the potential to infiltrate the plastic of the cable, may break it down, and cause the cable to get disconnected or broken.

Aside from oil damaging the cable, insulation loses its effectiveness over time. Water and snow may deteriorate the plastic covering of the cable. They cause it to rust and eventually break, especially if you live in a cold area. 

Examine the cable portion buried under the truck pet to see whether or not it is damaged. Should you discover during the inspection that the shifter cable is damaged, you need to replace it.

Clean The Gear

Hands of two car mechanics cleaning gearbox parts in petrol

It is possible that something solid like a stone might have gotten inside your gear and is clogging the transmission system, preventing the vehicle from shifting into park. 

Double-check to see if you find particles in the gear that prevent it from shifting, and get rid of them.

Inspect The Transmission Solenoid

If the issue is not with the shifter cable and your gear is not blocked, the fault may be with the solenoid.

Conduct a test on the transmission solenoid to determine if it is damaged or failing. Should this be the case, you will likely need to have the solenoid repaired.

In some instances, repairing a shift solenoid that has been stuck may be achieved by replacing the transmission fluid or performing a transmission flush. It'll help you avoid incurring more considerable repair expenses.

Depending on the specific components of the solenoid that are not operating correctly, replacing the transmission's torque converter could be an option.

Call A Mechanic

Auto mechanic talking on the smart phone

If an issue develops with your vehicle, the best course for you is to get in touch with an expert in the automobile field.

There are situations when the issue with your vehicle might be complicated, requiring an experienced professional's repair services.

Therefore, if you have taken all the essential measures but can still not get your truck into park, do not hesitate to contact a professional.

How Do I Know If My Truck Shifter Cable Is Broken?

If you notice these signs, then there may be a problem with your shifter cable:

  • Difficulty turning the truck off
  • The truck starts at a different gear
  • Difficulty going into gear.

If you notice any of these things, have your shifter cable checked and changed as soon as possible.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Shifter Cable?

The cost of changing the shifter cable may vary significantly. The charges may be lesser or higher depending on the age, make, model, and problem that the automobile in question is having.

However, replacing a gear shifter cable will cost you around $300. Although the median price range is between $200 and $600, some makes and models of automobiles may have a higher average repair cost. 

Where Is The Shifter Cable Located on A Truck?

The shift selector cable to the automatic gearbox is usually located either on the steering column or a console on the floor.

The cable links the gear shifter to the gear. It is generally made of steel but has a plastic sheath protecting it from the weather, making it easy to spot. 

Is The Shifter Part Of The Transmission?

Yes, the shifter can be considered a component of the transmission. The driver controls the vehicle using the gear shifter control on a car with a manual transmission.

The gear shifter in an automatic gearbox is sometimes called a gear selector and is often linked to the gear via the shifter cable.

To Wrap Up

Trucks may fail to shift into park due to stretched and defective transmission shift cable, bad shifter mechanism, faulty ignition key tumbler, and malfunctioning transmission solenoids. To solve the problem, you must check for damaged shifter cables, clean the gear, and examine the transmission solenoid. 

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