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My Toyota 4-Runner Won't Come Out of Park

by John Cook

Having your Toyota 4runner stuck in park can be a frightening situation. It may feel like you're stranded and facing an expensive repair bill. You can avoid being stranded by following a few simple steps, and some of the causes of the problem are easy and very cheap to fix. There is an interlock between the brake pedal and the shifter that will prevent the shifter from moving out of park unless the brake pedal is pressed. The failure of this interlock is often caused by something as simple as a fuse.

Locate the fuse box on the vehicle. The location varies with the year and model of 4runner you're driving. Use the owners manual to find yours. A common location on 4runners is under the dashboard in the front seat. There is usually a second box under the hood, close to the battery.

Open the fuse box and use the diagram underneath to find the three common causes of interlock failure. Examine the fuse for the head lights, the brake lights and the dashboard lights. Their position will vary depending on the year of the 4runner you are working on, but there is a diagram on the back of the fuse box cover that will help guide you. There is also likely to be a diagram in the owners manual; look in the index under fuses.

Replace any blown fuses. You can tell a blown fuse by holding it to the light and seeing whether the filament is attached at both ends. Sometimes you will need to replace the fuse with one you know is not blown, such as a recently purchased one, before you can tell.

Turn the engine on, press the brake and try to move the transmission from park. If it still does not work or you do not have the ability to check the fuses, open the flap labeled "shift lock override." In some models the label may have worn off, so look for a small flap somewhere close to the transmission. Press the button under the flap, press the brake and move the transmission from park. You may need to use a screwdriver or ballpoint pen to reach the button because it can be buried.

Tip

  • Once you have the truck out of park you will be able to start and stop the truck in neutral. Make sure you use the parking brake to hold it still.

Warning

  • If you are using the parking brake so you don't put the truck in park again, make sure it is not sticking on or off. This is particularly important if you do not normally use the parking brake.

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About the Author

John Cook has been writing professionally since 2010 and has over 20 years of experience working with horses and animals, and over 8 years of experience in the web design and computing industry. Cook holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Maryland.

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