Question about 2003 Toyota Camry

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Shift button won't push in to get out of park

Parked car this morning in lot, shifted into park. I was going to adjust my parking, and the button on the shift would not push in to move into reverse. I messed around some with shutting the car off, restarting, moving the steering wheels and it still would not push in. Had to leave to catch my bus to work. Any ideas?

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When you get back to the car, do this: Check to see if the brake lights work. If the brake lights do not work, the shifter will not come out of park. If the fuse for the brakes is blown, replace it, there are spare fuses under the hood, in the fuse box. If the fuse blows again, you have a short in the brake light circuit. The good news it this: Toyota provides an "over-ride" function to defeat the shift lock device, if you had a dead battery, and need to get it out of park. Look closely at the shifter/console area. You will see a small square piece of trim, about 1/2" square, or smaller. Pry this out with something like a small flat screwdriver or a metal nail file. Once the trim panel is removed, you will see a small button. Pressing this button will allow the car to come out of park. You will need to use this button every time until you get the cause of the problem sorted out. This should get you going. Thanks for choosing FixYa; a FixYa rating for my assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008

  • Toyota Ed Dec 20, 2008

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How to fix the shift cable





  1. Position the steering column transmission shift lever to PARK (P).
  2. Apply the parking brake.
  3. Raise the vehicle. Refer to Vehicle Lifting.




  1. Position the transmission range select lever to PARK (P). Rotate the range select lever clockwise until it reaches the full mechanical stop position.




  1. Slide the black retaining clip forward on the range select lever cable end. This will allow the white lock button to be pushed out.




  1. Push the white lock button on the range select lever cable end out. This will free the metal core adjust body which is inside the cable end. Do not push the white lock button completely out.
  2. Inspect the metal core adjust body on the cable end for dirt or debris that may restrict the travel. Remove any debris by washing the cable end, the metal core adjust body, and the white lock button with soap and water. If the travel of the metal core adjust body remains restricted after the cleaning, replace the cable assembly.
  3. Lower the vehicle.
  4. Ensure that the parking brake is applied.
  5. Turn ON the ignition switch.




  1. Move the transmission shift lever from PARK (P) to 1 and back to PARK (P) ten times.




  1. Place the steering column transmission shift lever in the Park (P) position.
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  3. Raise the vehicle. Refer to Vehicle Lifting.




  1. Position the transmission range select lever to PARK (P). Rotate the range select lever clockwise until it reaches the mechanical stop position.




  1. Push in the white lock button in order to secure the core adjuster body inside the range select lever cable end.




  1. Slide the black retainer clip rearward over the cable end until it covers the white lock button. Lock the clip over the cable end.
  2. Lower the vehicle.
  3. Turn ON the ignition switch.
  4. Ensure that all the transmission shift light positions (P. R. N. D, 3, 2, 1) engaged and illuminate. If you cannot perform this task, repeat the cable adjustment procedures.
  5. Ensure that the engine starts in PARK (P) and in NEUTRAL (N) positions only. If the engine does not start in PARK (P) and in NEUTRAL (N), the Park/Neutral Position Switch may need adjustment.
  6. Turn the ignition switch to LOCK.
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