Question about 2008 Pontiac Vibe

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When coming down a hill to stop at a trafic light, when your foot is taken off of the accelerator and pressing the brake, the convertor stays locked and as the trans is downshifting the car is difficult to stop without putting into nuetral. The convertor still being locked up keeps pushing the car while trying to stop. Very much like a manual shift car and trying to stop it without pushing in the clutch. Pontiac says that since it has not thrown a code that there is nothing they can do. It only has 12k miles and I have been fighting this since new.

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What should we do?


Hi there,
There is a (silly) safety lock on the ignition to stop it starting in gear, or the key being removed if not in park, and a sensible safety lock on the gear shift to stop kids letting it roll down a hill. Try putting your foot firmly on the brake, press the park release button beside the gear shift, while pulling the shifter out of park and back into park.
Getting the key out: Sometimes the steering wheel is placing pressure on the steering lock and key release mechanism, so try turning the steering wheel in any direction it can go while trying to release the key. It should come only out when you are in park.

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1 Answer

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I suspect that this feature was somehow altered when your brake service was performed. It's activated via a cable that is tied to your clutch cable; the hill holder cable toggles a switch on a mechanism that applies brake fluid to one (or two, depending on model year) brake calipers. I'd start here. If you google hill holder you should find some diagrams of what I'm speaking.
I had a 1995 Legacy with this feature; I disabled when it began malfunctioning. Took 20 minutes as the bolt is in a difficult location but immediately noticed it was much easier to depress the clutch pedal.
Oh yes, my malfunction was so bad (and improperly diagnosed by the local brake 'specialists') that the brakes would lock up while driving and I couldn't move the car! I destroyed my left front brake caliper before figuring out the culprit on my own.

Hope it's an easy fix whatever it is!

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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2 Answers

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