How to Put a Car Into Neutral When the Battery Is Dead

by Leonardo R. GrabkowskiUpdated July 18, 2023
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Modern vehicles have electronic ignitions; most of them also have electronic shift lock, often included as a safety or anti-theft feature. This presents a problem if your battery is dead; without power, the electronic shift lock cannot disengage with the key in the ignition. All vehicles with electronic shift lock have a manual override, allowing you to bypass the feature in emergencies.

1. Set your parking brake for safety

Set your parking brake for safety. Some vehicles use a handbrake next to your gear selector; others use a pedal brake, which is usually to the left of your brake pedal.

2. Locate and engage the shift lock override

Locate and engage the shift lock override. Vehicles with electronic shift lock have manual overrides. Look for a tiny, removable panel on your shift selector. Pry this panel up with a flathead screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the hole to engage the manual shift lock override.

3. Insert your key into the ignition

Insert your key into the ignition; turn it to the "On" or "Acc" position.

4. Depress the brake pedal completely

Depress the brake pedal completely. Move the shift selector to neutral.

Tips and Warnings

If your vehicle does not have a manual shift lock override, it does not have an electronic shift lock. Follow the procedure, omitting the manual override step.

Don't forget to engage your parking brake; your vehicle could roll forward or backwards without it.

Video: Dead battery cant get your car in neutral well this will help

Helpful comments on this video:

  • You’re the man!!! My fiancé’s car died in a terrible position, was able to push it out with this trick and get it going. Thank you for the quick and to the point video!
  • we need more people like you. straight to the point, no rambling. thank you.
  • Just wanted to let you know that your video is still helping people all these past years. Thank you for posting and sharing this piece of know how, able to get the car to a mechanic down the street because of you.

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