Can’t Get My Honda CRV Out Of Park | Try This First!

Honda’s are quality vehicles known for lasting a long time, however, no vehicle is perfect. So, what if you can’t get a Honda CRV out of Park? Try this first.

Your Honda CRV is running perfectly, you are idling in your driveway and your vehicle is warming up but then when you are ready to take off, the shifter will not move. You are unable to move the shifter from Park. You pull on the shifter with great strength but you do not want to force it and potentially break something. What are you supposed to do in this situation?

Cant Get My Honda CRV Out Of Park 1 1 Can't Get My Honda CRV Out Of Park | Try This First!

Why can’t I get my Honda CRV out of Park?

There are many different causes for not being able to get a Honda CRV out of Park. The most common causes are that the Parking brake is stuck, the shift lock solenoid has failed, or the Honda CRV has a bad shift linkage. 

If your Honda CR-V is stuck in Park for one of the above-stated reasons, the Parking brake is stuck, the shift lock solenoid failed, or the shift linkage is bad, there are a few things you can do to try to temporarily fix the situation. Even if you are able to get your Honda CRV out of Park and into gear, there is a good chance that it will happen again. If you are able to get your vehicle out of Park, the best thing to do is to drive directly to a Honda technician dealership or mechanic to have the Honda CRV fully inspected by a professional.

Although it seems like an odd thing to not be able to move the shifter of your Honda CRV out of Park and into gear, it actually is not an uncommon occurrence. That is why there is quite a bit of information out there provided by Honda technicians, mechanics, and Hona owners who have had to deal with this bizarre situation. So, that is exactly who we went to in order to see what they discovered to be the core issue causing the shifter to be stuck in Park and what kinds of solutions they came up with to address the problem. 

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Common causes of a Honda CRV being stuck in Park

As the three most common causes of a Hinda CRV being stuck in Park are the Parking brake being stuck, the shift lock solenoid failing, and the shift linkage going bad, there may be some other causes as well. 

Here is a list of common causes of a Honda CRV being stuck in Park, how these causes are physically preventing the shifter from moving into gear, and some simple solutions that may be able to address the issues.

Parked on a steep incline

Sometimes if you Park on a steep incline and you forget to use the Parking brake, the force of gravity that is being applied to the vehicle due to its position on the incline could put a large amount of pressure on the Parking lock in the CRV’s transmission. 

This extra pressure on the Parking lock can make it extremely difficult to move the shift from Park and into gear. Not to worry. There may be a simple solution that could get you on your way in a few minutes. 

  1. Start up your vehicle and have the engine running. 
  2. With your foot off of the brake, begin to use your body weight to rock the Honda CRV back and forth. 
  3. Build up enough momentum that you can physically feel the car is moving a considerable amount in each direction.
  4. If you are Parked facing uphill, then you will want to wait until you are at the peak of the forward position of your rocking motion. If you are facing downhill, you will want to wait until you are at the peak of the back position of your rocking position. 
  5. Once you are in the ideal position for whichever direction of the hill you are facing, slam on and hold the brakes to lock yourself in that position. Being in the correct position and holding it should take pressure off of the Parking locking mechanism on the transmission.
  6. When the pressure has been removed, lightly try to move the shifter from Park and into gear.
  7. Do not apply too much pressure on the shifter. Doing so could break the shift linkage.
  8. Once you are free, make a mental note to always use the Parking brake whenever you are Parking on an incline.

If this does not work for you, you may need to call a tow service or contact your roadside assistance provider who may be able to send someone to help you remove the force being exerted onto the Parking lock so you can move the shifter from Park and into gear.   

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Stuck Parking brake

Sometimes if the Parking brake in a vehicle does not want to release and is stuck, it can prevent a driver from putting their vehicle into gear. When a Parking brake gets stuck, it can sometimes be the result of the brake pads, calipers, drums, or brake lines not releasing when they should. 

This could happen due to corrosion from water and salt or it could be because you pulled the Parking brake too hard. An important thing to note about this is that you may stay be able to lift and lower the Parking brake handle, however, the internal braking components are not releasing when they should. 

As there are no guaranteed ways to fix a stuck Parking brake, you can try a few things to see if you can quickly release the Parking brake, however, you may end up needing to seek professional help. Here are a few things you may want to try before calling for help.

  1. Apply and release the brakes multiple times and with some force in an attempt to jostle and free the stuck component. Are the brake lights still on?
  2. If you know which wheel is the culprit with the brakes not releasing, then try bouncing the car up and down forcibly to again hopefully jostle something loose.
  3. If you are at home and/or have access to a floor jack and/or jack stands, jack up the corner of the car where the issue is and remove the wheel. Once the wheel is removed, go ahead and take a small hammer or mallet and begin to tap the affected area until they come loose.

If none of these work, you may need to have your Honda CRV towed to a mechanic where then they can release the Parking brake for you, and hopefully, fix it so that it will not happen again. 

Another thing to note is that many people may use a Honda CRV to tow a travel trailer of up to 3,500 lbs. If this is something that you are looking to do, then you may want to make sure you are using a trailer brake control to help alleviate some of the stress on the brake system of your Honda CRV. 

Doing so can help to make sure none of the brake system components get stuck or brake in a way that may prevent you from shifting out of Park and into gear.   

Failed shift lock solenoid

The shift lock solenoid is a mechanical device that keeps a Honda CRV from shifting from Park unless there is a foot applying pressure to the brake pedal. Once the brake pedal is pushed in, then the shift lock solenoid will release to allow the shifter to move from Park and into gear. 

If you are pressing the brake pedal but you are still unable to shift from Park, then you may need to find the override button which is typically located near the shifter, although it could be different for different models and years of the Honda CRV. 

Once you have located the override button, you should be able to press it to release the shift lock and allow you to move the shifter from Park. 

Bad shift linkage

Having a bad shift linage or broken shifter cable is a troubling issue that can potentially be quite dangerous if it is not fixed immediately. The shift linkage is responsible for communicating the shift in gears, and if it gets bent, broken, or if something else is causing it to function improperly, then you may see irregular management of the gears while you are driving. 

If the shift linkage is broken, then ideally your Honda CRV will remain in Park, even if you can move your shifter into gear. Although the shifter will move from Park into drive or reverse, the shift will not actually be able to tell the transmission to change gears. 

Instead, you will remain in Park. The reason why this is the best-case scenario is that if you are able to start driving, but then you are unable to shift from 1st to 2nd or maybe from 3rd to 4th, it could put you in an unsafe situation on a public roadway as well as potentially cause more damage to your vehicle. 

If you suspect that your shift linkage or shifter cable is broken, do not drive your car. Instead, you should pay the extra money to have your vehicle towed to a mechanic right away. 

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