How to Replace the Neutral Safety Switch in a Chevy Astroby Annabelle Lee
The neutral safety switch prevents the engine from starting unless the vehicle is in Park or Neutral (automatic) or the clutch pedal is depressed (manual). If it starts in any other gear or does not start in both park and neutral (automatic) or does not start when the clutch is engaged (manual) it may need to be replaced. In most models, it is located inside the vehicle at the bottom of the steering column.
Put on the parking brake, and put the car in neutral.
Disconnect the electrical connectors from the switch (found on the bottom of the steering column). If the car is a 1996 or later model, it is attached to the transmission and you must first disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the battery, raise the car on jack stands and remove the nut from the manual lever shaft, and remove the lever from the shaft.
Spread the tangs on the housing, and pull the switch out of the steering column. If the vehicle is a 1996 or newer model, instead remove the switch retaining bolts, and remove the switch from the transmission.
Position the tang on the switch with the hole in the shift tube in a 1995 or older model, and then install the switch onto the steering column, and press down until it snaps into position.
Install the special adjustment tool on the switch following the instructions on the package for a 1996 or later. Make sure that where the manual shaft is inserted through the switch, it is aligned with the two lower tabs on the tool. Rotate if necessary.
Check to be sure the shaft is free of burrs and then slide it onto the manual shaft. (If necessary, use a file to deburr).
Install the switch onto the transmission, secure with mounting bolts, remove the special adjustment tool, install the manual shift lever onto the transmission manual shaft and torque all nuts to 21 foot-lbs.
Adjust any year vehicle by putting the car in neutral, grasp the switch and rotate in a clockwise direction as far as it will go. Put the car in Park and check the switch operation; repeat with the car in Neutral.
- Barry Miller, Machine Repairman; G.A. Richards; Spring Lake, MI
- "Chevrolet Astro & GMC Safari Haynes Repair Manual for 1985 thru 1998"; Haynes; 2002
Things You'll Need
- Car jack (1996 or newer)
- 2 jack stands (1996 or newer)
- Wrench set
- Special neutral safety switch adjustment tool (1996 or newer)
- Torque wrench
- If working on a 1996 or later model that has an anti-theft auto system, disable it before disconnecting the battery or disrupting power to the stereo.
Annabelle Lee has been working in the journalism field since 1990. She was a teacher and yearbook adviser for four years and holds two associate degrees from her local community college where she currently teaches computer classes. Lee also writes for a local newspaper and was a proofreader for McGraw-Hill.