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Toyota Tacoma Won't Shift Out of Park

by John Cook

The Toyota Tacoma is a very comfortable truck to drive and one that comes with Toyota's legendary reliability. Like all automatic vehicles though, it can still fall victim to a small failure which will cause the transmission to become locked in park. Fortunately the problem can often be fixed by replacing a fuse. If that does not work then you can still get the truck into gear and drive it to a facility where they will be able to repair the problem.

Put the key in the ON position and press the brake pedal. Have someone check the brake lights to make sure they are working correctly. Also turn on the head lights and check they are both working. If the truck is locked in park, then the chances are that one of these systems is not functioning.

Open the fuse box and use the diagram on the back of the cover to locate the fuses for the head lights. The location of both the fuse box and the fuses will vary depending on the year and trim level of the Tacoma you are driving. Consult the owners manual for the location of your fuse box and the diagram on the fuse box itself for the location of the individual fuses.

Examine the fuse for the brake lights and replace it if it is blown. Use the diagram on the back of the fuse box cover to locate the exact fuse.

Check the headlights and brake lights again. If they are both working then start your Tacoma, put your foot on the brake and shift out of park. The interlock should work again. If the brake lights are still not working then use the emergency interlock release to move the shifter out of park. On some Tacomas the release is under a rubber cap below 1 on the shift column. Consult your owners manual if you are having trouble finding it.

Tips

  • If the brake lights are not working do not drive the truck on the road. Consult a certified repair facility to replace the brake light switch near the brake pedal.
  • You will be able to start and drive the truck if you leave the transmission in Neutral to prevent it from locking in park again. Use the parking brake to keep the truck still.

Warning

  • If you do not use the parking brake often then make sure it is operating properly before relying on it to keep the truck stationary.

Items you will need

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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  • orange pick-up truck sideview image by patrimonio designs from Fotolia.com