Fix a Mercedes Benz Gear Shift Stuck in Park Problem (Mercedes Shift Lock Release

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Get solution to your Mercedes Benz gear shift stuck in park problem with these few direct steps.

Have you ever started your Mercedes-Benz but discovered that the transmission gear selector refused to move out of Park (P) to Drive (D)? Or have you ever turn off the car but unable to move the shifter back to Park? Don’t get yourself worked up, this is isn’t a transmission problem. There are some troubleshooting steps that can speedily help you narrow down the issue.  

This article will show you how to manually get the car out of the park and how you can troubleshoot gear selector shifter problems without the help of a mechanic.

Mercedes Benz Gear Shift Problems (Mercedes Shifter Stuck: Problem and Solutions)

If your Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission gear selector is stuck, you can be able to move the shifter from park (P) to drive (D) manually using the shifter override feature found on almost all Mercedes-Benz models including C-Class, E-Class, CL-Class, ML-Class, SLK-Class and other models.

Mercedes Shifter Stuck in Park Problem

If your car starts fine, but you are unable to more the shifter into Drive and you notice the shifter is stuck, there may be some accompanying symptoms:

  • Mercedes stuck in Park (P) and refuse to shift to D or N.
  • It may be stuck in D, R, N and will not move back to Park (P).
  • Unable to remove keys from the ignition.
  • Unable to get Mercedes transmission into drive.
  • Mercedes gear shift stuck in park.
  • Mercedes will start, but transmission unable to into gear.
  • Shifter cannot be returned to Park (P), and you are unable to remove the key from ignition.
  • P,N,R,D gear selection indicator on dashboard not revealing correct gear.

Mercedes-Benz cars that are fortified with automatic transmission have a gear selector shifter interlock safety feature. When you turn the ignition off, this safety feature locks the shifter in Park. To move the shifter out of Park into Drive, reinsert the key into the ignition and turn it to position.

The interlock mechanism permits the shifter to move out of Park when you press the brake pedal and when you turn the ignition to Position I, II, or Run.

Common Causes Mercedes Benz Gear Shift stuck in park

The list of the most common reasons why the gear selector does not move out or Park and into Drive includes:

  1. Defective Brake Light Switch
  2. Low Voltage or Dead Battery
  3. Spilled Liquid on the shifter assembly
  4. Defective shift interlock solenoid
  5. Faulty Engine Control Unit (ECU)
  6. Defective Transmission Control Unit (TCU)
  7. Transmission Shift Cable Broken or Shift Rod Bent / Loose

Possible Solutions| Mercedes Shift Lock Release

If the shifter on your Mercedes-Benz is unable to move out of park, first check the battery. After establishing that the battery is fully charged, then check for a defective brake light switch or a damaged shifter module.

Brake Light Switch

It is a common occurrence for the Brake Light Switch to fail. It is commonly caused by the transmission stuck in Park problem. When this happens, the shifter will not be released except you press the brake pedal which is proper operation. Once the Brake Light Switch stops functioning properly the shifter will be unable to tell if you are pressing the brake pedal or not, this will cause it to get in park. Avoid checking if the brake lights are working to establish whether the brake light switch is functioning or not. This is not an ideal test to troubleshoot if the brake light switch is functioning or not.

A major symptom that you notice easily when the brake light switch fails and you are unable to get the car out of park is that the ESP, ABS or BAS lights will also turn on. This indicates that the brake light switch may require replacement.

Gear Shifter Assembly

The shifter assembly may malfunction due to wear or internal failure. The shift interlock solenoid, located inside the shifter assembly can fail. Plastic parts located inside the shifter can breakdown. If this happens, you will need to manually get the car out of park pending when you’ll get the part replaced.


You can check the gear selector on your instrument cluster. If it doesn’t display the current shifter position such as P, R, N, D, then it is probably a good sign that the shifter module is faulty.


A low battery voltage of dead battery is one common cause why the shifter may not move out of park. You should replace a dead battery before proceeding with other repairs. It is quite easy to replace the battery on your car.

Ignition Switch

The ignition switch should be in position I, II or engine running. After turning the key to any of these positions the shifter is unlocked from park, through a cable or electronic switch. If the cable or the ignition switch fails, the shifter may get stuck in park.

Mercedes Shift Lock Release | How to Manually Release Shifter Stuck in Park

Avoid forcing the shifter into gear because you can break other parts by forcing the car into drive. As an alternative, try the following steps to manually get your car out of the park. Also, you can also use the same procedure to get the shifter from Neutral or Reverse into Park position.

Steps on how to get your Mercedes out of park

  1. Press the emergency brakes on your car.
  2. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to Position, I, II or start the car. Starting the car is not compulsory but optional.
  3. While following these instructions, press the brake pedal and keep them pressed to ensure that the car does not roll away.
  4. Locate the gear shifter lock/override on the center console. It is near the shifter lever. You will notice a small plastic cap that is covering this port.
  5. Remove the small plastic cover which is used to store coins. You can use a screwdriver to lift it up.
  6. You can press on the manual release switch using a screwdriver. Push on and hold the override switch.
  7. Use the screwdriver to push the unlock tab to release the shifter.

Troubleshooting a stuck shifter that won’t go into drive

Step 1

Turn the key to position II and severally press the brake pedal, this will cause the solenoid inside the shifter to release from Park. Listen for a click sound by the shifter module, you may hear the solenoid unlock. If you hear the click sound, then this is a good sign. It means the ignition is stimulating the interlock mechanism and permitting the gear selector lever to moved out of PARK.

Step 2

Read the trouble codes by getting an advanced diagnostic scanner. Alternatively, you can get a diagnostic scanner, they are inexpensive and easy to use. Using an OBD2 scanner is simple even for a novice. see these very inexpensive ones on Amazon below.

Step 3

After step 2, remove the brake light switch and troubleshoot it using a digital multimeter. If you don’t have any knowledge of how the multimeter works, you can replace the brake light switch instead of testing it. The brake light switch is very cheap.

Step 4

If the Mercedes-Benz shifter cannot still be moved out of park position, then the shifter selector module may be faulty. This may be caused by a plastic shifter inside the shifter that has broken or drinks getting spilt on the centre console. You can open the shifter module and then proceed to replace the broken plastic.

Also, watch this video to learn on this

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Is the shifter interlock feature required?

The Shift interlock mechanism is a safety feature on the car and YES, it is required. This is because it prevents the car from accidently getting out of Park.

Do all Benz cars have a shifter unlock or override mechanism?

Yes, all older and newer models have a shifter lock feature.

Still can’t get my Mercedes-Benz out of park after trying the manual release

Use a different object to release the shifter manually.

Can I lubricate the shifter mechanism?

To need to apply caution when lubricating parts of the shifter mechanism. Avoid allowing any liquid to get into the electronic components of the shifter. You can lubricate the mobile parts as well as the ball and metal steam. Seek the services of a professional mechanic if you are not certain of which parts to lubricate.

How can I get my Mercedes-Benz out of PARK in order to tow it?

You can achieve this by using the method described above to get your Mercedes-Benz out of park.

I can’t find a shifter release on my Mercedes-Benz?

Some Mercedes-Benz models such as S-Class W220 and CL-Class don’t have a hole for you to manually release the shifter from Park. In this case, you can manually move into park. 

Final Note on Mercedes Benz Gear Shift Stuck in Park and Mercedes Shift Lock Release

If the shifter refuses to move out of park unless you step on the brakes, you should first check the brake light switch. You can get someone to watch the brake lights as you step on the pedal.  If the brake lights come on, it means this part is okay. Then you should check for a failed brake shift interlock solenoid by stepping on the brake pedal and listening for a click sound.

The sound indicates that the solenoid is fine.

If your car passed both tests listed above, the problem may be caused by a broken, plastic part inside the shifter assembly. This plastic pieces break all the time, causing a stuck shifter. Some mechanics may simply replace the shifter assembly, which costs about $1,200.00 from the dealership.

I hope this article was able to solve your Mercedes Benz gear shift problems

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