Question about 2003 Renault 181

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My renault megane automatic is stuck in reverse and won't start

Hi everybody. I have a 2003 renault megane convertible. Last night I stopped on a small slope, put the car in park, handbrake on, got out locked it, and went away for about half an hour. When I returned the car would not start. Initially I thought there was a problem with the security system but then realised that the the car appeared to be stuck in reverse. When I attempt to start it the reverse lights come on but I cannot move the gear shift at all. Also if I take the handbrake off the car will roll so it appears to be in some sort of weird not gear space. We were able to push the car back (therefore it is able to roll) but still cannot move the gear shift at all. Does anyone have any suggestions please. thanks so much natalie I have a renault megane scenic automatic 1997 i just poped to the shop parked up put gear in park, locked the car and went in the shop, when i got back i unlocked started the car but when i put my foot on the brake to release the gears it wont move, after 2 hours of messing around reseting locks and trying over and over again it suddenly un jammed itself and moved into drive, when i got home i put it back into park and its stuck there again.

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  • tracendar May 30, 2009

    where would the cable be located?

  • Sharon Dec 28, 2011

    I've had a similar problem with my 2003 Scenic, although the automatic gear stick was in the park position, the display was reading it in reverse and the reverse lights on and I couldn't start the vehicle but it would roll backwards. My mechanic advised me to take the plastic cover off the gear stick and underneath is a small emergency release button, the size of a cent piece. Press that down and then move the gear stick into the neutral position, this will enable the car to be started. It got me out of the fix, was able to drive the vehicle, haven't yet taken it to the mechanics to see why the problem occured in the first place (spent $2000 only 6 weeks ago having a similar problem rectified, so Not Happy Jan!)



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Hi all,
I have a 2002 Renault Megane 1.6 Convertible and experienced exactly the same fault. Needed a team effort but we found a very easy quick fix to this problem. If you take the plastic cover off from under the gear shifter, you will notice a release button covered by a rubber cover. Pressing this release button allows the gear shifter to move from its locked/jammed position. (This is not the fix but it helps with the fix).
If you are fortunate enough to have a 2nd person available, have them poke their head under the bonnet to watch the Gearbox cable move....while you are shifting the gear shifter inside the vehicle. Your partner will see that a cable with a plastic locking device (right hand side of the engine cover) has popped off the shifter for the transmission. Move the shifter until you can physically put the plastic locking device back on the shifter mechanism and your all good to go. No need for that new gearbox that you might have been quoted on!! An easy fix that I am surprised no mechanically minded professional/body in the world has volunteered the solution to. I wonder why????

Good luck!

Posted on Jul 01, 2009

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  • Dan Gurr Aug 09, 2013

    This worked on a 2003 Clio! A bit fiddly but fantastic...explained really well! Should it just stay in place or is there some kind of locking catch to it?

  • tarei Aug 12, 2013

    Hi Dan, From what I remember (my Megane has since been sold) the plastic locking mechanism just becomes a little sloppy with age. It is probably something that should be replaced so that it locks onto the transmission shifter better. Obviously, a new part will fix the problem. The fix - as you have just experienced will get you back on the road easily enough but with time, I guess you may experience the same fault again. Cheers

  • Dan Gurr Dec 02, 2014

    This fix is still working over a year on, and hasn't seemed to have given any further problems. I'm surprised there is not some sort of "locking" collar to fix it better.


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When the gear stick gets stuck you can manually release it. If you have the manual there are instructions in there. Take away the trim at the base of the stick and inside there are buttons which will allow you to manually release. You must have all doors including bonnet and boot closed or the stick won't move I believe.

Posted on Dec 01, 2014

  • Dan Gurr Dec 02, 2014

    Thanks, at the end of the day, you need 2 people, one to move the stick and one to fix it under the bonnet. I don't remember having a problem with keeping the doors shut, but I'll keep it in mind.


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  • Renault Master
  • 22,219 Answers

I need help with this one because although their are lots of renaults in spain very few are automatics,its sounds like a cable is broke that disengages the the lock mechanism,and yes the car will move with the handbrake off evan in gear ,only park will lock the wheels

Posted on May 30, 2009

  • Colin Stickland
    Colin Stickland May 31, 2009

    the cable if it has one and its not electronic ?? would run from the brake pedal to the gear change ,if its electronic then make sure the stop lights are working because if the switch fails then that is operating the gearchange lock mechanism


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SOURCE: My renault megane automatic is stuck in reverse and won't start

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Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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