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

by Leonardo R. Grabkowski

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. 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. 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; turn it to the "On" or "Acc" position.

4

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

Tip

  • check 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.

Warning

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

Items you will need

About the Author

Leonardo R. Grabkowski has been writing professionally for more than four years. Grabkowski attended college in Oregon. He builds websites on the side and has a slight obsession with Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images