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emergency auto fixes

Emergency and Temporary Fixes
that Every Vehicle Owner Must Know

  Posted in:
Knowledge Center, Articles
July 19, 2016

Having car problems and being stranded in a deserted parking lot or on a busy highway can turn a relatively normal day upside down in a hurry.  Besides the aggravation, time lost and the costs associated with vehicle breakdowns, personal safety is always a concern for anyone stranded on the road.  To help reduce the aggravation, time lost, costs and safety risks, we've prepared a list of EMERGENCY and TEMPORARY FIXES that every vehicle owner needs to know.

When temporary or emergency does not resolve the problem then you will need roadside assistance or a tow to the nearest repair facility.


Note: Many "Quick" or "Emergency" Fixes require you to have certain items or tools in your vehicle.  You should keep these items/tools in the trunk of your vehicle.


START HERE: Confirm or rule out dead battery: Open door or turn on headlights or interior light.

> If Lights do NOT work - Battery is Dead

QUICK FIX: and up
With a Battery Jump Starter you are not at anyone's mercy - you simply connect the cables from the Jump Starter to your battery posts and start your vehicle.  In one minute, your car will be started and you'll be on your way.

ALTERNATIVE FIX:   Cost: $15 and up.  The problem here is that you need a "jump" vehicle.  If no one is around, this option is not available.

> If Lights WORK - Battery is Good and battery cable is likely loose

QUICK FIX: With switch off, open hood and check battery cable connection.  To do this, grasp either battery cable/connection at the battery post and attempt to twist or wiggle.  Do the same with the other cable.  If either cables feels lose, this is your problem.

On a top post battery, grasp the battery cable end and push down while twisting one way and then the other until you feel the connection get tighter.  Even slightly tightened should be enough to start the vehicle and get you back on the road.

On a side post battery, try to tighten the bolt that is holding the cable end to the battery by hand.  If you cannot tighten by hand, you can use a pair of pliers, a crescent wrench or an 8 MM wrench.


Your vehicle is equipped with a safety feature that will not allow you to shift the transmission from the Park position unless you have the IGNITION SWITCH ON and the BRAKE PEDAL DEPRESSED.  The two components that make this happen are the gear shift locking device located underneath the shifter console and the electrical sensor or solenoid that detects the brake pedal being depressed and then sends a signal to the shifter locking device to unlock it.  If either of these components fail the shifter remains locked in Park.

START HERE: Check to see if your stop/brake lights are working.  To do this, turn the ignition to the "ON" position and depress the brake pedal.

> If stop/brake lights work, proceed to QUICK FIX below.

> If stop/brake lights do not work, you may have a blown fuse.  If so, replacing the fuse will likely solve the problem.  To locate and replace the fuse, following these instructions or skip this part and go to the QUICK FIX below.

Locate the vehicle's fuse panel - If you have your Owner's Manual it will tell you where the fuse box is located otherwise you will just have to look for it.  It is normally located underneath the dash on the drivers' or passenger side.  It may also be located under the hood in the engine compartment.

Remove the fuse panel cover.  The fuse box cover may have a diagram showing the names and locations of the fuses in the panel.  If it does, find and pull the Stop Light (Brake Light) fuse.  blown fuse If it is burnt, it must be replaced.

Note: If you do not have an extra fuse, pull a same amp fuse from another location to use temporarily.  It could be an "Accessories" fuse or possible a heater fan fuse, i.e., anything that the vehicle does not need to operate or that is not needed by you.

If the fuse panel cover does not show the fuse layout, you will have to pull and check each fuse or you can skip this part and go to the QUICK FIX below.

QUICK FIX: Locate the shifter lock override button or slot in the shifter console. 

It will be near the shifter lever but not necessarily in the location shown in this image.  Itshifter stuck in park may have a plastic plug type cover over the opening.  If so, remove the plastic cover.

Insert a key (but not the ignition key), a small screwdriver, a nail file or anything you have available that will slide down into the slot and push down to release the shifter locking mechanism located underneath the console.  Note: You cannot actually see the locking mechanism but you will feel it when you press down with the key, screwdriver, etc.

While continuing to push down on the locking mechanism, turn the ignition switch to the ON position and depress the brake pedal.

Now, grab the shifter lever and move it into the Neutral position and then start the vehicle.

NOTE: If the shifter lever will still not move - repeat the process again making sure to press firmly on the brake pedal as you are pushing down on the release button while attempting to move the shifter lever.


Are you parked on an incline?  If yes, your shifter may be stuck because the weight of the vehicle is resting on transmission's parking pawl. 

QUICK FIX:  The weight of the vehicle must be lifted from the transmission components.  To do this, you must push the vehicle up the incline an inch or so and them immediately set the parking (or e-brake) before it can roll back and lock up the gear again.

Ready to try again...  with the ignition switch turned to the "ON" position or you can just start the engine if you choose, depress the brake pedal and attempt to move the shifter from Park.  Be sure you are pressing the button on the shifter as well.  shift from Park.

There are no more Quick fixes for shifter stuck in Park.

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