My Dodge is Stuck in Park. Now What?

Key Points

  • The gear shifter in many older Dodge vehicles can get stuck in PARK.
  • Dodge did issue a recall for the problem in 2010.
Red arrow points at a disassembled gear shifter
Posted on
Author
Scott McCracken
Tagged
#transmission #recall

The problem is frustratingly simple: the car is working fine, until suddenly one day when in park you can't put the car into gear. It seems to be caused by a weak design made with cheap plastic parts.

While it doesn't always work, there is something you can do to try and fix the problem to try and get going again without calling a tow truck. According to jhpatte over at answers.edmunds.com you will have to remove the interior cover of the gear shifter using a blunt object (some have suggested a butter knife); don't worry these supposedly just snap back into place. Next, press the brakes down and pull back on the hot pink tab located inside the shifter assembly as you pull the shifter into gear.

I drove to work today, went on lunch break and my car starts but will not move out of park. I call my husband, my brother and a few patients and orther people looked at car, could not get it out of park. I called about the warranty and they told me they do not think it is covered under my EXTENDED warranty plan. HOW can something that does not allow your car to shift out of gear not be covered on warranty or without warranty? I havent had car 2 years yet and it would not be an issue if they would just fix it...NO CHARGE.

2008 Avenger Owner in KY

If you can get your car in gear it might be best to drive over to a service shop. If you are still warranty you definitely should take it to the shop!.

Dodge Issued a Recall

Dodge issued a recall on August 30th, 2010. Go to this page, enter the last 8 digits from your VIN or call 1-800-853-1403. No class action lawsuits have been filed.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Dodge generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 1st Generation Avenger

    Years
    1995–2000
    Reliability
    14th of 54
    PainRank
    1.07
    Complaints
    28
    Continue
  2. 2nd Generation Avenger

    Years
    2008–2014
    Reliability
    47th of 54
    PainRank
    24.31
    Complaints
    864
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Avenger
  3. 1st Generation Caliber

    Years
    2007–2012
    Reliability
    45th of 54
    PainRank
    23.05
    Complaints
    630
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Caliber
  4. 3rd Generation Caravan

    Years
    1996–2000
    Reliability
    31st of 54
    PainRank
    13.91
    Complaints
    270
    Continue
  5. 6th Generation Charger

    Years
    2006–2010
    Reliability
    48th of 54
    PainRank
    27.35
    Complaints
    443
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Charger
  6. 7th Generation Charger

    Years
    2011–2021
    Reliability
    30th of 54
    PainRank
    12.35
    Complaints
    376
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Charger
  7. 1st Generation Dakota

    Years
    1987–1996
    Reliability
    17th of 54
    PainRank
    2.41
    Complaints
    72
    Continue
  8. 1st Generation Dart

    Years
    2013–2016
    Reliability
    50th of 54
    PainRank
    29.8
    Complaints
    598
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Dart
  9. 1st Generation Durango

    Years
    1998–2003
    Reliability
    51st of 54
    PainRank
    33.59
    Complaints
    1410
    Continue
  10. 3rd Generation Durango

    Years
    2011–2021
    Reliability
    35th of 54
    PainRank
    16.85
    Complaints
    634
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Durango
  11. 3rd Generation Grand Caravan

    Years
    1996–2000
    Reliability
    29th of 54
    PainRank
    11.8
    Complaints
    224
    Continue
  12. 5th Generation Grand Caravan

    Years
    2008–2020
    Reliability
    49th of 54
    PainRank
    28.5
    Complaints
    1836
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Grand Caravan
  13. 1st Generation Intrepid

    Years
    1993–1997
    Reliability
    23rd of 54
    PainRank
    5.44
    Complaints
    115
    Continue
  14. 2nd Generation Intrepid

    Years
    1998–2004
    Reliability
    54th of 54
    PainRank
    59.62
    Complaints
    1871
    Continue
  15. 1st Generation Journey

    Years
    2009–2020
    Reliability
    46th of 54
    PainRank
    24.02
    Complaints
    1884
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Journey
  16. 1st Generation Magnum

    Years
    2005–2008
    Reliability
    38th of 54
    PainRank
    19.1
    Complaints
    273
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Magnum
  17. 2nd Generation Neon

    Years
    2000–2005
    Reliability
    34th of 54
    PainRank
    16.38
    Complaints
    442
    Continue
  18. 3rd Generation Ram 1500

    Years
    2002–2008
    Reliability
    52nd of 54
    PainRank
    57.14
    Complaints
    3501
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Ram 1500
  19. 4th Generation Ram 1500

    Years
    2009–2011
    Reliability
    53rd of 54
    PainRank
    58.97
    Complaints
    629
    Continue
  20. 3rd Generation Ram 3500

    Years
    2003–2009
    Reliability
    39th of 54
    PainRank
    19.54
    Complaints
    358
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Ram 3500
  21. 2nd Generation Ram Van 3500

    Years
    1994–2001
    Reliability
    2nd of 54
    PainRank
    0.27
    Complaints
    6
    Continue
  22. 1st Generation Shadow

    Years
    1987–1994
    Reliability
    12th of 54
    PainRank
    0.91
    Complaints
    24
    Continue

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA