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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8594
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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2003 Mitsubishi Outlander key in ignition turns vehicle on

Customer Question

Customer: ***** ***** 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander key in ignition turns vehicle on but vehicle cannot be taken out of park. The key cannot be removed and ignition cannot be turned back to 'lock' position. Unable to find a shift lock release button on panel next to shifter.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: No other details. Have not had this problem before.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mitsubishi
Expert:  Doug replied 1 year ago.


Most likely you are going to be dealing with an interlock cable that is sticking or the linkage on the shifter is sticking (usually happens if a drink has been spilled at some point in the past).
Unfortunately there is no release button on this model like there is on some cars. Instead you have to remove the console to gain access to the linkage directly. Luckily this is not too bad of a job... the upper console cover that surrounds the shifter etc just snaps into place... a good tug upward and it will pop off. You then have very slight access to the linkage on the left side of the shifter and you can fiddle with it with a screw driver, etc, to try to get it to release temporarily.
In the long term though, full removal of the console will be in order and hands on inspection to see what exactly is sticking (cable, linkage, adjustment, etc) preventing the interlock from releasing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did remove the console cover when incident occurred and tried getting the linkage to move and was unsuccessful. I wasn't able to remove part directly surrounding shifter with PNDR on it but thought if it could be removed it would be easier. Do you know what the estimated cost for repair would be. This vehicle is older with 160k miles and not sure I want to spend large amounts on repairs.
Expert:  Doug replied 1 year ago.

yeah the actual panel on the top of the shifter is snapped in very tightly, but wouldn't afford you that much more access anyway.

Repair cost would ultimately depend on what actually happened. If the cable just needed to be adjusted, figure around $100 start to finish. If the cable needed to be replaced the interlock for the key/park and for the brake/park come as a pair, and are $75. Installation would be about $200.
If however there was something binding in the shifter... which honestly happens pretty frequently... then your best approach would be hourly to pull the shifter and disassemble and clean everything. That should be able to be done inside of about 2.5 hours... around $250. If parts need replacing, then that would go up of course; only a few service parts are available for the shifter, but luckily there is almost never a failure there that can't be cleaned... its almost always something gooey from a spill 10 years ago causing issues it seems.

Either way... I don't see any realistic expectation of this going beyond $300 as worst case scenario.... most of the interlock problems I run in to on these are an hour or less to rectify, cable failures are pretty rare too.