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Ask Randall C Your Own Question
Randall C
Randall C, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 12824
Experience:  ASE Master Certified Tech, 32 Years, Foreign.Domestic, Diagnostic Specialist
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the engine is locked so car wont start. I think I turned the car off while it was s

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the engine is locked so car won't start. I think I turned the car off while it was still moving.
is it possible to start it again?
battery is fine

tracer :

Hello, I am Randall. I am not sure I follow the question. Cars can be turned off while in gear but not always the best for them but have very rarely seen any damage from this. What do you mean by engine is locked? can you send more details? Thanks

Customer:

well, the engine won't turn over. the battery is fine. I cannot move the gear shift.

tracer :

where is the shifter stuck what gear

tracer :

what do you mean by wont turn over. does the engine crank but not start OR does not crank?

tracer :

I have to step out back for a few minutes. I will be back to help after you send details. thanks:)

Customer:

was stucker in park

tracer :

Ok, so its in park, will not shift out of park but is it cranking or not cranking?

Customer:

was stuck in park but I was able to move into Neutral with screwdriver pressed into shift release lock,but it still did not crank. Am not sure if it is starter problem or something else but I have never had problem with a starter malfunction.

tracer :

headlights come on strong and dont dim when trying to crank

Customer:

have not tried but dashboard lights have stayed on with multiple trials of cranking as is the inside roof light. battery is not that old and no recent problems with it or starting so dont think that is it,andjust had drivenit for 30 min,before this problem with perhaps 10 min of car in garage with engine off. I have not yet tired to jump start [dark here]but do have cables andwas planning to try in AM.

tracer :

Does the shifter seem a little looser than it was and now when you go from park to neutral, does if feel different?

Customer:

yes, in beginning it would not move [shifter] even with manel brake depressed.that is why I had to use screwdriver to insert into the holed to depress the shift lock release,per the subaru manuel instructions. but even in Neutral position the ignition did not engage starter,not even an initial crank. nothing,just dashboard lights turning on with light click sound

tracer :

What you refer to with stuck in park is the shift interlock. safety feature. the fact engine will not crank and.. the shifter will not release leads me to think you broke a shift cable. generally they will break near the trans where it hooks up there. You can only view from under car and side of trans where shift cable hooks up. It either broke or came off the arm on the trans. the computer thinks its in gear, which it may, but you have in park as you see it.. so the solenoid to release from park will not work. hard to explain. basically shift cable problem I am near certain

tracer :

basically the trans is in a gear so.. no way it will crank and, the shifter shows park so the shift interlock will not respond to release shifter unless the car is 100% in park. Hope this makes sense

Customer:

thanks sounds logical

Customer:

so no point and prob risk to try jumper cables

tracer :

your welcome as the combo of the 2 problems? has to be shift cable/linkage problem. may? have come unhooked when you shutoff.shifted etc while moving. Unsure

Customer:

and will mandate towing to dealer.ie local garage wont be able to fix ,correct?

tracer :

they are 2 seperate things/problems and i have to point to what would cause BOTH at same time

tracer :

Depends. can you get car jacked up and under it? if so,, you then look on side of trans where cable hooks up. you will see it. it may? have just become unsnapped and snap back on

tracer :

If? it is connected at trans? then problem gets a little more involved and new shift cable would be warranted

tracer :

Most any local shop. Dont pay dealer rates if you can avoid

Customer:

have jack for tire change but no special expertise in this stuff and leery of making it worse. but if simply a reattachment problem it sounds like local garage may be able to handle it

tracer :

Local can do in either case. rather easy repair but on a lift is so... much easier than trying on the ground

Customer:

would you advise not trying to jump with cables,ie is there risk in trying

tracer :

no risk at all. Sure want to try to rule out any low battery problem as this is the ONLY thing that could be other than I mentioned. fairly confident it will not work but.. please do this step to confirm

Customer:

thanks very much

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