2003 toyota camry auto not shifting into gear

I have a 2003 Toyota Camry with an automatic transmision. It has 70,000 miles on it. Sometimes when you try to put it into gear (you
have to press the brake pedal) it does not want to go into gear. My wife drives this car and it has become a nuisance. Sometimes it just takes a few good kicks to the brake pedal. Sometimes you better be ready to sit there a while because if it does not want to go into gear, it ain't going, period. So, we finally had had enough and was going to bring it in, and guess what, that's right it started working ok for a while. Just our luck. So now, it works good sometimes, and sometimes it can be quiet stuborn. Has anyone else had this problem? I notice that the brake lights are working just fine when she presses the brake pedal, but sometimes it just won't go into gear. (even when the brake light is coming on) I don't want to take it to the Toyota dealer and they say "we had to replace the flux capacitor" or something crazy for $875. Or tell me like they tried to tell me the last few times "the dust accumulation is causing the problem. Apparentlly you live down a dirt road. You need to bring the car in every 3,000 miles for us to clean it for you" ( Oh, and by the way the cleaning fee is going to be $155.00 each time.) I think, strange how I have owned 13 other vehicles while living down this very same road for the past 12 years and we have never had the slightest hint of dirt build-up on any of them.
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It sounds like the shift lock solenoid is not engaging or may be mis-adjusted. When you step on the brake pedal, you should be able to hear or feel a very faint click from the shift console. To hear this, you will have to have the AC fan and radio off. If you are getting the click but still cannot shift out of park then the solenoid may be stuck or mis-adjusted. If you do not get a click then you have to see if the solenoid is getting power when the brake pedal is depressed.
There should be a little rectangular plastic button on the shift console. If you pry the button off, you can insert a key in the slot and release the shift lock solenoid manually. The procedure to do this should be outlined in your owner's manual.
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Ray O
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I, too, am the owner of a 2003 Camry, V6 SE. I recently encountered this problem, I'm on my way right now to pick it up at the dealership. The techs there said they can't find anything wrong with it. They can't get it to duplicate sticking in park. I have to pump the brakes several times to get the tail lights on and then, fianlly, the car can go into gear. I asked the service advisor to post this problem for the travelling Toyota engineer next time he visits. I thought it wasn't just coincidental that I just had my brake pads replaced, now I have this problem. Toyota takes no responsibility though... to them, it is a coincidence.
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Toyota does not have travelling engineers with regularly scheduled visits to dealerships. District Service Managers are supposed to visit the dealerships in their districts once a month, and some have a technical background and some have no technical background. Dealerships have access to service bulletins, technical hot line, and if necessary, a field technical specialist can take a look at the vehicle.
There are basically 2 components to the shift lock solenoid, the brake pedal, and the solenoid itself. If the brake lights come on when the brake pedal is depressed but you cannot shift out of park, then the shift lock solenoid may be out of position or bad. There is a shift lock override button on the shift console. Pry off the rectangular plug and insert a key or screwdriver in the slot to shift out of park when you are experiencing the problem. When you depress the brake pedal, you should hear a very soft click coming from the shift console. If you hear the click and still cannot shift out of park, then the solenoid is hanging up or perhaps out of position.
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I am the owner of a 2003 Camry four cylinder LE and I've just experienced the problem of not being able to shift out of park. Thanks for your posts. I will try the solenoid override for now. I'll let you know what my mechanic says.
Kipa.
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