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Kia won't come out of Park

This tutorial will help owners of Kia vehicles (such as Niro, Borrego, K9, Forte, Cerato, Optima, Cadenza, Sportage, Sorento, Venga, Carens, Rondo) manually get their car out of Park by overriding the shifter.


kia stuck in park how to unlock without key

  1. Remove the cap to access the shifter lock mechanism. 
  2. Insert a screwdriver into the access hole
  3. Press down on the screwdriver and at the same time move the shifter. 

Troubleshooting tips

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

  • Start by turning the key to 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 it is very likely that you have a defective shifter module. 

If you don't hear a click, one of the following is possible:

Brake Light Switch 

A defective brake light switch can stop your Kia from being able to get out of 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. 

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. That's why the transmission cannot be shifted out of 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, there are many small moving parts, micro switches and locking motor. If any of these parts fail you won't be able to get your Kia out of park. Remove the boot around the shifter and inspect for any broken parts. 

Normal operation

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 park under these conditions that means there is a problem with your car. 

By YOUCANIC on May 6, 2019


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