Kia Won't Come Out of Park

Kia Won’t Come Out of Park – Shifter Stuck

You’re not alone if you’re experiencing difficulty getting your Kia vehicle out or into Park position. This is a common Kia issue that various factors, such as a faulty brake pedal switch, a malfunctioning shift interlock solenoid, or a problem with the transmission range sensor, can cause. This article will discuss the potential causes of this issue and provide information on how to release the stuck shifter and move it out or into Park.

If you can not remove a Kia key from the ignition, it may be because the shifter is not back in the park positon. You can use this method to get the shifter back in Park. Or maybe you want to 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 start the engine or 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. The 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 vehicle doesn’t come out of the park, it could be caused by several issues, such as a faulty brake pedal switch, a malfunctioning shift interlock solenoid, or a problem with the transmission range sensor.

When the brake pedal switch is malfunctioning, it may not send the proper signal to the shift interlock solenoid, preventing the shifter from being moved out of park. In this case, the brake pedal switch will need to be replaced.

The shift interlock solenoid is a safety feature that prevents the shifter from being moved out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed. If the solenoid is malfunctioning, the shifter may not be able to be moved out of park even when the brake pedal is depressed. The solenoid will need to be replaced in this case.

A problem with the transmission range sensor can also prevent the shifter from being moved out of park. The sensor sends a signal to the engine control module (ECM) to indicate the shifter’s position. If the sensor is malfunctioning, the ECM may not receive the proper signal, preventing the shifter from being moved out of park. The sensor will need to be replaced in this case.

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.  The YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can help you read and clear fault codes from every control module of your Kia vehicle.

It’s important to note that these are some common issues that could cause the vehicle to not come out of the park, but it’s not an exhaustive list. It’s recommended that you have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic to determine the exact cause of the problem.


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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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.