Question about 2001 Ford Focus

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Automatic gearshift stuck in park

Looking for info on gear lever inhibitor switch, can only release from park by removing blanking bung from centre console pressing manual release.
is release linked to stop light switch,manual or electric,?
once released from park everything works fine untill put back in park position again.

Posted by outbackautos on

  • 2 more comments 
  • outbackautos Oct 15, 2008

    yeh,thanks dude, i did check the stop lights as soon as i arrived on breakdown, they did work ok but i still did'nt know the release switch was elctric then,(i specialise in *** mpv's which release by cable). your diagnosis was spot on, once i new the switch was electic i replaced the solenoid, problem sorted, many thanks.

  • dolly lamma Oct 29, 2008

    when this happened did it lock the steering coulum and ignition? thats my problem.

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2014

    Just started not releasing when I put in gear...just hear a clicking sound by the peddle

  • Anonymous Mar 15, 2014

    Is this the inhibitor



1 Answer


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  • 85,239 Answers

The release for the shifter is tied to the brake lites, check to see if the brake lights work, if they don't then test the brake light switch at the top of the brake pedal, if it lights a test lite when you press the brake it is ok, in that case you need to check the little solenoid that pulls the cable to unlock the shifter, it is bolted to the top of the steering column, in order to get at it you will have to unbolt the column and drop it dow.

Posted on Oct 14, 2008


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There are 2 different vehicles listed on your question. One is a Chevy Blazer, the other is a 2007 Ford Focus. Don't know which is the problem.

Is this a automatic or a stick shift? I will give you the information about an automatic Ford Focus.

The gearshift is locked into Park until you press on the brake pedal. Sometimes for stick shifts, the clutch pedal has the release. Either way, the release signal unlocks the gearshift. The position of the switch on either the brake pedal lever or clutch lever can be bumped by the Drivers feet.

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For one thing, disconnect the Negative battery terminal. See if it has any effect on the mechanism in the key/switch area.

There had to be a reason for working on the vehicle in the first place.

Ford uses an Interlock system which links the Transmission position, Brake pedal, and starter/keyswitch into 1 group. The usual problem with Ford makes is the Brake pedal lever switch under the dash is prone to damage by the Drivers foot.

This is usually revealed by the lack of Brake lights. The "command" for the Interlock to work on some Models starts when the Brake pedal is pressed. This allows the starter to engage if the Gearshift is in the proper position. But what can happen is parts slip from their intended position and prevent the Interlock from realigning for the next start. (Enough that the Key can't be removed)

Now if you have the adjustable ingnition switch, there should be slots on the housing of the Ignition switch. Say you did position the Ignition switch properly, but the Ignition switch moved by itself; it probably was pulled up or down the steering column by the linkage with the Gearshift Interlock.

The Ignition switch is at the top end of the Interlock rod or cable that the Ignition switch is attached to. You may be able to move the part from the bottom of the steering column and push the ignition key back into positon to free itself topside for removal.

Another idea is the spring release on the Ignition key lock cylinder. With the lock tumblers spread out from the stuck key, there may be enough play to allow the key to release. The spring loaded tumbler release is under the steering column plastic housing, a nail or drillbit will fit in the hole to allow for triggering the release mechanism.

Also if you have a tilt steering wheel, the Geometry of the position of the steering column may lengthen or shorten the Ignition Key rod inside the column. It may be worth an attempt at repositioning the tilt feature.

I hope my solution is helpful, please rate my idea.

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Welcome to

1. Remove air cleaner and air intake hose assembly.
2. Remove center dash trim panel.
3. Remove center console cup holder assembly.
4. Remove floor console assembly.
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1. Park the vehicle on level ground and set the parking brake.
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3. Loosen the cable adjustment screw at the transaxle operating lever.
4. Pull the transaxle operating lever fully forward to the park detent position.
5. Release the park brake, then rock the vehicle to assure it is in park lock. Reset the park
6. Tighten the cable adjustment screw to 8 Nm (10 inch Ibs.J. Gearshift cable should now be
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1. Check adjustment by usinq the precedinq procedure.

Thank you for Using

Kind Regards, Lee

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