This guide will discuss the common problems that can prevent your Lexus shifter from moving to Reverse, Neutral, or Drive.
Your Lexus won't go in reverse for several reasons ranging from a brake light switch, low transmission fluid level, and even a dead battery.
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If you are stranded because your Lexus won't go in Reverse or come out of Park, manually override the shifter.
Next to the shifter, you will notice a small cap shaped like a rectangle. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the cap. Press the screwdriver in the exposed hole and at the same time move the shifter out of the park.
Common Problems Why Your Lexus Won't Go In Reverse
Brake Light Switch
One of the most common reasons you can't get your Lexus out of Park or from Drive to Park is a faulty brake light switch.
The brake light switch is mounted above the brake pedal. Even if your brake lights are working, the brake light switch can be faulty because it has several switches inside.
Low transmission fluid level
When the transmission fluid of your car is low, you may face problems with the transmission. A low amount of transmission fluid can cause various gear-related problems, like shifting problems, overheated gears, and gear slippage.
If your transmission is low in fluid amount, then your reverse gear may be affected. In case your vehicle has a low amount of fluid, you will face shifting problems with all gears. However, if your vehicle drives fine but does not go in reverse, you should still check the fluid level.
Faulty Position Sensor
When you use the shift lever to shift your automatic transmission car to reverse, the sensor signals the car's control module to shift the transmission into reverse.
If the sensor has malfunctioned, the vehicle doesn’t shift into reverse. The car may get into limp mode in such cases, and your car will not shift above the third gear.
Check the engine light and any trouble codes through the diagnostic tool and evaluate the sensor's fault.
The automatic transmission of your car comes with a valve body. It is a maze-like component, which directs the hydraulic fluid’s flow into the valve. And, this allows smooth shifting of the gears whenever required.
In case the valve body is faulty, you may face a problem of delay in shifting. The car may not go into reverse, or in worst cases, nothing happens when you try to shift to reverse. In this case, you will have to take the vehicle to the repair shop.
Fault in Shifter Mechanism
If you cannot reverse your car with manual transmission or feel difficulty in shifting, this is usually due to the malfunctioning of the shifter mechanism.
Sometimes you may find it difficult to shift to reverse, or you may feel that something is blocking the shifter while you try shifting in reverse. This can be due to a damaged or bent link from the shifter lever to transmission.
On high mileage Lexus vehicles, the transmission fluid may have been contaminated with enough dirt or hardened deposits that can affect the vehicle's shifting into reverse and in gears.
To fix the issue, you may have to change the transmission filter and fluid. If you face problems with the gear and transmission system, you should check the transmission fluid’s condition and see whether there is a need to replace it or not.
The main purpose of the ignition interlock in your car is to prevent accidental shifting of reverse gear while the car is moving or getting the car out of Park when the ignition is off.
Prevention of shifting is required as this could be very dangerous, and it also causes serious damage to the transmission system.
In case the ignition Interlock is misaligned or is damaged somehow, you may face problems in shifting the gear onto reverse even in standstill conditions. To fix this, you will have to get the Ignition Interlock replaced.
If the transmission is stuck and you cannot shift in reverse, you might face a problem every time it is parked. If you are stuck because your Lexus won't come out of Park, use the manual override option to get the car out of Park.
I have been working on vehicles for over 20 years. In 2016, I decided to start YOUCANIC so that I can empower vehicle owners all over the world. Currently, I hold an ASE certification on G1 Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair.