C6 Corvette: Why is My Corvette Stuck in Park?

Getting stuck in park is no fun, and it always seems to happen when you're on your way and have somewhere to be. There are a few steps you can take to try to resolve the problem on your own before throwing in the towel and asking your mechanic to take a look.

By William Henderson - February 20, 2015

This article applies to the C6 Corvette (2005-2013).

You're on your way out but you can't shift out of park. You gently, and maybe not-so gently, jiggle the shifter, but no luck. Shifting out of park may be as easy as turning off your car, letting it sit for a few seconds, and then trying to shift out of park while in accessory mode. It's a free fix that takes no time at all, and even the most novice of car owners can do it.Note: These materials are only needed if you are replacing the shifter.

Materials Needed

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Vise-grips (optional)
  • Spray lube (optional)
  • Liquid wrench (optional)
  • 10mm socket wrench
  • Torx screwdriver
  • Razor blade
  • Silicone RTV
  • Postcard
  • Soft mallet
  • 3/8" socket wrench

Step 1 – Can you shift out of park in accessory mode?

  • Put your car in accessory mode.
  • Depress and hold brake until end of these four steps.
  • Shift to neutral.
  • Start your car and then shift to wanted gear.

If you still can't shift out of park when you're pressing down the brake in accessory mode, try releasing the safety switch under the boot.

Step 2 – Press and release switch under boot

Most floor-mounted transmissions have a safety switch under the boot. With your engine off, you can remove the boot, press the switch, replace the boot and try shifting out of park. This could take you upward of 60-90 minutes to complete, but could save you hundreds, if not more, in the long run if you're able to resolve the problem without replacing any parts. To remove the boot:

  • Remove the shift knob.
  • Remove the center console.
  • Expose the shifter and shifter boot.
  • Lift the boot off after removing the four 10mm bolts on the rubber shift boot.
  • Press safety switch.
  • Put boot back on.
  • Replace the center console.
  • Replace the shift knob.

While you have the boot off, you also may want to wipe down your shift interlock solenoid.

Figure 1. Shift knob/boot removal.

Step 3 – Wipe down the shift interlock solenoid

The shift interlock solenoid is on the back side of the shifter. You can usually see two wires coming out of it. If the solenoid sticks, you won't be able to get shift out of park. All you may need to do is wipe it down with a wet wipe. If you haven't already removed the boot in order to press and release the safety switch, then follow these steps:

  • Remove the shift knob.
  • Remove the center console.
  • Expose the shifter and shifter boot.
  • Lift the boot off after removing the four 10mm bolts on the rubber shift boot.
  • Wipe down the solenoid.
  • Turn on engine and press your brakes.

If cleaning the solenoid solves the problem, you should be able to shift the car out of park at this point. If so:

  • Put boot back on.
  • Replace the center console.
  • Replace the shift knob.
Figure 2. Shift interlock solenoid.

Step 4 – Replace the shifter mechanism

If all other steps have failed, you may have to replace the shifter mechanism. By this point, you should have the rest of the shifter assembly removed; from there, lift the assembly and twist to remove. Having followed all of the above steps, the problem should be resolved. This covers the entirety of the shift assembly. Excluding the transmission shift module (transmission computer), there are no other items left to address.

Figure 3. Replacement shifter assembly.

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