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What make vehicle ? Most all vehicles have a safety system .Don't try an force anything you'll break it ! Electronic Park Lock (EPL)/Ignition Lock Cylinder Control Actuator: If the vehicle is equipped with automatic transmission and a floor mounted console gear shift, it has an ignition lock cylinder control actuator system in the steering column. The ignition lock cylinder control actuator purpose is to prevent the ignition key from being turned to the OFF position when the transmission is in any position other than PARK and the vehicle may still be moving. The column ignition lock system consists of an ignition lock cylinder control actuator, and a park position switch that is located in the automatic transmission shift lock control switch. The ignition lock cylinder control actuator contains a pin that is spring loaded to mechanically prevent the ignition key cylinder from being turned to the lock position when the vehicle transmission is not in the PARK position. If vehicle power is lost, and/or the transmission is not in the PARK position the operator will not be able to turn the ignition key to the lock position and will not be able to remove the ignition key from the column. They also have this on column mounted shifters !
Some ignition system locks will not release the key unless you push in towards the column while turning further off. It is a safety device to stop in advertent removal of the key while moving. Try that first.
There is a cable that connects your gearshift to the ignition switch, when this cable stretches, it does not allow the gearshift assembly to move when you have the key turned. Removed the assembly around the gear shift assembly and inspect this cable. Removed the cable and manually actuate the lever. See if this fixes the problem as it is common in the S70/C70/V70s that are pre 2000
Lots of people experience this problem and google provides several links to answers to it, but here is my take on it. The contacts in the gear selector mechanism can trigger this fault code. Put the key in the ignition, foot on the brake pedal, without starting the car, move the gear selector from P to L 10 or so times. This will clean the contacts. Turn key off. Start the car. On my S40, I have to drive it about 10 miles before the arrow light goes out. If it doesn't, do the procedure again to clean the contacts. It sounds crazy, but the process actually works.
This is a common problem of Volvo S40. You can try this trick to turn off the flashing arrow light.
1) Turn off Engine
2) Turn key to "On" position (Not start the engine), you will see the panel light will on
3) Step on the break paddle
4) Shift the gear from "P" to "L" 10 times
5) Turn key to " Off" position
6) Now you can start the engine.
7) If doesn't work, you can repeat the procedure.