Bad ignition switch locked tranny and key

05-28-2016, 11:23 AM
2005 Cavalier 2.2 OHC 120,000. Had the ignition with replaced at the dealers about 3 months ago. The car had to be towed because the tranny locked in park. The key stuck in the run position and cant be removed and the transmission is locked in park and wont move. If you turn the key to start the car will start but the key wont turn to shut it off, have to remove the fuel pump relay. Same thing that happened before. I know you have to remove the plastic covers on the steering wheel to get to the switch. Once you get to the switch to replace it how do you get the key out. And I was wondering is there a transmission shifter release button to release the transmission to put it in drive to save on a tow?:banghead:

Blue Bowtie
05-28-2016, 12:42 PM
Are you certain the problem is with the switch and not the lock cylinder? Since the switch has evidently been replaced a few months ago was it exhibiting the same symptoms with the original switch/lock, or was the replacement done on the faulty ignition switch campaign? In either case I would suspect that the repair would be warranted.

There is a shift lock solenoid on the shifter quadrant. The solenoid is powered by the 10A ERLS fuse and controlled by the BCM. The shift lock will actuate when the ignition is on, brake pedal is depressed, and park/neutral safety switch is in a specified range. When the solenoid is en energized the shifter can be moved.

If you turn the ignition switch to the RUN position and depress the brake pedal, can the shifter be moved?

However, remember that towing a FWD vehicle for any distance with the drive wheels moving (on the ground) can be detrimental to the differential planetary in the transmission since the trans oil pump will not be operating and the only lubrication for the differential will be the residual oil in the housing.

05-28-2016, 05:44 PM
Yes, this is the exact same thing I did last time. That was the ignition switch.The ignition lock cylinder was also replaced a few months before that. When the lock cylinder broke you couldn't turn the switch at all and couldn't remove the key. The key is stuck in the accessory position and will only turn to start. It will start the engine but you have to pull the fuel pump relay to stop the engine. Even if you depress the brake pedal the gear shift will not move and the key will not return to the off position to remove it. From what I've been reading this has been a problem on many small Chevys like the Cavalier and Cobalt. The dealer said this is what happens when it fails, go figure! Other cars have the same problems but some have a release tab some where to enable you to get the transmission unlocked. so you could avoid towing the car to a shop. You can start the car just cant get it out of park to drive it! I haven't been able to find out if there's one on the Cavalier, and where it would be located.

05-31-2016, 08:13 AM
I think the ignition switch came loose or wasn't adjusted properly. Sometimes the rod to the switch bends.

Tech II
05-31-2016, 11:24 AM
Is the switch in the column or in the instrument panel?

05-31-2016, 05:49 PM
The switch is located on the left side of the steering column under the air bag package. It should be covered by a warranty because it was just replaced in March at a chevy dealer. They better not recharge for labor! Had to be towed cause you cant get the shifter out of park. A very stupid design. I saw on youtube some cars have a button or a slot you can depress to release the tranny. Don't know about this one or where its at. It will start the car but wont turn to shut it off and the brake pedal wont release the shifter to drive it. The design makes no sense.

Tech II
05-31-2016, 10:33 PM
I don't think you have an ignition switch's in the lock solenoid/BTSI circuits.....have seen this with other console shifters....usually a wire harness problem.

06-01-2016, 03:30 PM
Had it towed to the dealers today. I let you know what they find. I appreciate all the help. Thank you.

06-04-2016, 01:26 PM
I don't think you have an ignition switch's in the lock solenoid/BTSI circuits.....have seen this with other console shifters....usually a wire harness problem.
You were right the dealer said its the shift interlock solenoid. He said its located in th console near the shifter. I really appreciated your help.

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