Kia Won't Come Out of Park

Kia Won’t Come Out of Park

Learn how to get your Kia out of PARK if the shifter won’t move into Reverse, Neutral, or Drive.

This method manually overrides the shifter lever and allows you to move the shifter to another gear such as Neutral and roll or load the car up on a tow truck.


  1. Set the parking brakes and keep the brake pedal pressed during this procedure, or the vehicle may include roll-off.
  2. Next to the shifter, you will notice a small cap that says: SHIFT LOCK. Remove the cap to access the shifter lock mechanism.
  3. Insert a screwdriver into the access hole and push down.
  4. As you press down on the screwdriver, at the same time, move the shifter.

Why won’t the shifter move out of Park on my Kia?

kia stuck in park how to unlock without key

First, we need to ensure that the brake pedal sends a signal to the shifter and the shifter mechanism is releasing the shifter from P.

  • Start by turning the key to the ON position.
  • All dashboard lights should be on.
  • Press the brake pedal on and off several times repeatedly.
  • You should hear a clicking noise by the shifter.

If you hear a click in the shifter but your car still doesn’t come out of Park, you likely have a defective shifter module.

Why is my Kia stuck in Park?

Here is a list of the most common problems that can cause your Kia shifter to get stuck in the park position.

  • Brake Light Switch – A defective brake light switch can stop your Kia from being able to get out of the park. This is a common problem. If your brake light switch is defective, it needs to be replaced. Kia brake light switches are very inexpensive and can be replaced at home. Replacing the brake light switch is a straightforward process. No programming is required to change the brake light switch.
  • The ignition tumbler is worn out – The ignition switch starts your car and, at the same time, locks the steering wheel. Shift interlock solenoid is part of the ignition lock. The transmission cannot be shifted out of the park when the key is removed. This is a less common problem but still a possibility.
  • Defective shifter – If the brake light switch is not the problem next, you should diagnose the shifter mechanism. Inside the shifter mechanism is many small moving parts, micro switches, and a locking motor. If any of these parts fail, you won’t be able to get your Kia out of the park. Remove the boot around the shifter and inspect for any broken parts.

Under normal operating conditions, you should be able to get the car out of Park following these steps:

  • Turn the ignition to ACC or ON position AND
  • Press the brake pedal.

If your Kia does not come out of the park under these conditions, your car has a problem. Check out this tutorial on how to read fault codes from all modules. 

We hope you find the Kia Won’t Come Out of Park guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Kia.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When i stop and set the park position p theres a movement and i heard click on shifter and its stop to moving. Its always happen when i switch to park.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My 2012 KIA Sorento has the same problem. When I was able to force it out of Park (I was freaking out in a drive thru). I could not get it back into park again. I followed
    your directions to remove the cap and override the shifter with a screwdriver. Worked like a charm. Thank you for the tip! I was in a bit of a panic.