I have a 2000 Mazda Protege, automatic. I've been having a problem with
my gear shift; at least, I think that's what the problem is. Whenever
it's fairly cool (less than 60 degrees) and dark outside, my car won't
shift out of park. It's as if it doesn't realize that I have my foot on
the brake. Sometimes if I stomp on the brake, that will work, but not
always. Right now, the sun comes up over my apartment building and hits
my car between 8 and 8:30 am (depending on my parking spot). Literally
minutes later, my car will work fine. Any suggestions on what the
problem might be? Thanks!
Being a Protege it's similar to an Escort, so I won't smack your hand for
a Ford group ;)
The problem is in the shift interlock. It's a solenoid and linkage on the
that is controlled by the brake lamp switch. Usually this symptom points to a
with the brake lamp switch, BUT, I had a lot of experience with these cars some
ago. They do not like sugary drinks spilled into the shifter mechanism. It will
up the interlock linkage every time. Soda pop, coffee, sports drinks etc. runs
down into the shifter if dribbled or spilled. It mixes with the lubricant and
sticky "goo". When warm, the goo thins slightly and the interlock mechanism will
When cool, the goo prevents it from moving.
When you step lightly on the brake with the key on, you will hear a faint
from the shifter area. Put your ear right down by the console. This indicates
interlock is trying to work. To check for goo, I recall that you need to remove
center console first. I don't think the selector housing will come off first.
won't cut the sticky stuff, soap and water works best. I used to remove the
shifter and scrub it in the mop sink with a brush and Dawn dish soap. Remove the
interlock solenoid first and clean it separately so water doesn't get in.
I drink diet soda (Diet Pepsi fan since the saccharin days) for the reasons
mention, but, diet soda gets really sticky when it dries too, you should see my
computer desk... hmm... Never really thought about why, but it does.
Darn you Jeff, now I have to figure out why diet soda gets sticky when it
dries...Aarghhh... Then I'll have to buy a Protege and pour it into the shifter
if it gums up the works like regular soda... Then compare different brands of
soda for stickiness... then...
If only I had tasted the different goo from all of those Mazda shifters back
see what it was made of, I could have saved myself some work now. ;)
Well, I could see how spilling something would cause the problem, but
I've never spilt anything on it. Unless the previous owner did so, but
then wouldn't it have been a problem since I bought the car a year ago?
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