How to Replace the Neutral Safety Switch in a Jeep Wrangler

by William Boyce
woman in open jeep image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from

The neutral safety switch --- or neutral start switch --- is an important safety component in your Jeep Wrangler. It prevents the engine from starting while the transmission is in a drive gear. The neutral safety switch and backup light switch are combined in one unit. The switch is located on the transmission oil pan.

Remove Neutral Safety Switch

Step 1

Loosen and remove the negative better a cable from the battery, using a wrench.

Step 2

Lift up the vehicle with a jack and lower onto jack stands.

Step 3

Detach the wiring harness from the neutral safety switch.

Step 4

Place a container under the transmission pan to catch transmission fluid.

Use a wrench to loosen and remove the screws that hold the safety switch on the transmission. Let the transmission fluid flow into the container.

Install the Neutral Safety Switch

Step 1

Install the new switch and gasket and tighten the screws with a wrench. Tighten the screws with a torque wrench to 24 foot-pounds of pressure.

Step 2

Connect the wiring harness to the switch.

Step 3

Test the switch by putting the transmission in park, then neutral, each time attempting to start the engine. The engine should only start in these positions and is faulty if it starts in any drive gear.

Step 4

Lift the vehicle with a jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle onto the ground.

Pour the transmission fluid from the container into the filler tube in the engine compartment. Test the fluid level on the transmission dipstick with the engine running and top off as necessary.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Ohmmeter

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