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Ask Joshua Haynes Your Own Question
Joshua Haynes
Joshua Haynes,
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 255
Experience:  Lead Technician/ Manager at Precision Tune Auto Care
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I can't shift my car out of park. The brake lights still come

Customer Question

I can't shift my car out of park. The brake lights still come on but when I put it in reverse the shifting stick moves to neutral without having to press the brake or shift button and it does the same when I shift it to park.
JA: Sometimes things that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix with Chevy. The Chevy Mechanic I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: Yes if I can
JA: Great! What have you tried so far?
Customer: I put oil in my car because it really needed it but I had a feeling that had nothing to do with it. I bought transmission fluid but there's no dipstick to check how much I have and I'm scared to add too much
JA: Is there anything else the Chevy Mechanic should be aware of about your Chevy?
Customer: I believe the shifter cables were replaced 2-3 years ago
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Chevy Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
Hi my name is***** ask a few questions about your car?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
What is the year and model
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
2003 cavalier
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
Does the shift lever feel floppy and do you have to press the brake pedal to release it or does it just move freely
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes it feela floppy. I have to press the pedal to release it but once I put it in reverse it moves freely between that and neutral and the same goes for drive. It only clicks and sticks park
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
So it sounds like your shift cable has either broken or popped off. You can pretty easily check the end of the cable on the transmission by looking under the hood near the air filter housing. If you have someone to help you, it would make it easier by having them shift back and forth while you look under the hood for a flopping cable end. The car does not need to be running for this and please make sure you have the emergency brake set for safety!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'm looking under the hood now. I know where the transmission is but not the air filter housing
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
If you have an email address I can use it will email you a picture of what the area looks like to make it easier to find
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
If you know where the transmission is you should be able to find where the cable goes
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I had someone shifting but I didn't see any movement. My email address is***@******.***
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
Ok buddy I just sent an email with several pictures. If you would like a phone call just let me know and I'd be happy to help in that way too.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
i found it
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
Was it disconnected? If it isn't broken too badly you may be able to attach it again...it pops on
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It looks connected to me
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
You may need to take off the covers on the shift lever inside the car to see if it is connected there if it is connected under the hood.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is the cover supposed to pop off or do i need tools? I was in the car earlier trying and it wasn't coming off
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
You will probably need some tools. There will most likely be some 10 mm or 8 mm bolts to remove. A philips screw driver may also be needed. I have never seen these require the use of anything else. I will try to get a diagram if possible to assist you in taking it off but I don't know if I will be able to find one.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you. Is there a possibility that the shifter knob may be the problem?
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
I don't think that is possible because the shifter knob is moving. I am fairly certain based on your description that the shifter cable is broken because the knob itself is moving but flopping around and not engaging in any gears. I know you mentioned that you replaced the cable a few years ago, but they may need to be replaced again. It is also possible, though less likely, that it just popped off and can be reattached. Did you receive the pictures I sent via email? Were they helpful? Let me know what else I can do to assist you bud, I wanna get you an answer today!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is it common for it to break so soon. I thought something like that should've lasted way longer than a few years, especially with the high price I paid for it. I received the diagrams but I won't be able to remove it myself due to lack of the correct tools
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
I am afraid it is uncommon but I have seen it before. If you remember where you got it installed and can call them, you may want to see if there is any kind of warranty on it. If it had been done at my shop I know that even though it has exceeded our standard 2 year warranty, I would warranty the part and labor for you. Also, sometimes there is a lifetime warranty on parts even if the shop you are dealing with only offers a limited labor warranty. In other words, if the cable is broken and you call the original shop that repaired it but they say it is out of warranty, ask them to check the part vendor they used to see if at least the part is under warranty still so that they can give you the part at no cost and only charge you for the labor. I really hope this helped.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It was done at a shop, I'll be contacting them first thing tomorrow since they're closed today. Thank you
Expert:  Joshua Haynes replied 7 months ago.
You are more than welcome my friend. Another piece of advise: try to find any paperwork associated with the repair and bring that with you or at least look at it before you talk to them. It is helpful not only to know the names and/or part numbers of the things that were replaced, but to know exactly when it was done and which technician worked on it. This information can be helpful to the shop as well because they work on many vehicles and may not be able to readily remember you and your vehicle from so long ago.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
will do, thanks again