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Symptoms of Dodge Durango Gear Shift Lever Lock Problems

by Jen Davis

The gear shift lever lock in your Dodge Durango is designed to prevent the vehicle from slipping in and out of gear unintentionally. Dodge has recalled a number of Durangos based on the gearshift not properly locking in place. This problem can cause a number of issues that are often mistakenly blamed on the transmission. If your Durango is experiencing any of these problems, take it to a mechanic for repair as soon as possible.

Refusing to Shift

The gear shift lever locking mechanism is designed to keep the gear shift from moving except when you intentionally move it. If the gear shift lever lock gets stuck, you will not be able to move the gear shift. The gear shift will be stuck in whatever gear the transmission is in. If the Durango's gear shift is in park, the vehicle will not be able to move. If it is in drive, you will have to turn it off in gear, which can lead to rolling and is very dangerous.

Shifting When It's Not Supposed To

This problem occurs when the gear shift lever lock stops blocking the lever from moving. Instead, the Durango can slip randomly into other gears and may roll away if parked or left on uneven ground surfaces. If your Durango seems to randomly shift gears, such as going from park to reverse without you moving the lever, the gear shift lever locking system may be malfunctioning.

In 2007, Dodge recalled over half a million vehicles, including the 2001-2002 Durango, because of problems with the gear shift locking mechanisms cause the vehicles to slip out of gear when they were not supposed to. Vehicles with automatic transmissions that were left in park slipped into drive, reverse or neutral and rolled away, causing damage and accidents.

Unable to Start

Your Durango is designed with certain safety precautions, including those that will only allow the vehicle to start if the transmission is in park. If the gear shift lever lock is not working and the Durango's transmission has somehow shifted into a different gear, the SUV will not start.

Malfunctioning Ignition Lock

In some instances, a gear shift lever lock problem can cause the ignition locking system not to function properly. If this happens, the vehicle's key may be taken in and out of the ignition without the vehicle being in park or turned off. Normally, you should not be able to remove the key from the ignition unless the vehicle is in park and turned off.

About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

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