Most neutral safety switches are combinations of a neutral safety switch and a backup lamp switch. Others have separate units for these two distinct functions. When the reverse light switch is not part of the neutral safety switch, it seldom needs adjustment, as it is directly activated by the transmission or the gear selector linkage.
Typical location of a neutral safety switch on a transaxle. Reprinted with permission of Ford Motor Company.
A neutral safety switch allows current to pass from the starter switch to the starter when the lever is placed in the P or N position. Some neutral safety switches are nonadjustable. If these prevent starting in the P or N position and the gear selector linkage is correctly adjusted, they should be replaced.
To adjust a typical neutral safety switch:
- Place the shift lever in neutral.
- Loosen the attaching bolts for the switch.
- Using the angling pin, move the switch until the pin falls into the hole in its rotor.
- Tighten the attaching bolts.
- Recheck the switch for continuity. If no voltage is present, replace the switch.
- The switch sometimes controls the operation of the back-up lights also. With the engine off and the key on, put the selector in reverse position. Check the back-up lights to see that they are on. Then, check in the drive position to see that they are out.