If your car’s battery has died and you need to move it, here are a few tricks to save both time and money on replacing it. They work regardless of its age or brand.
Locate the shift lock latch or keyhole in your center console and apply a screwdriver or key to release its hold and allow gears to shift into neutral.
1. Turn the Key
When dealing with a dead battery and need to move your car, putting it into neutral may be key in reaching its desired destination. Plus, doing this could potentially save your life in case of an accident or scrape!
Step one in placing a car with a dead battery into neutral is turning on its key – this completes a circuit that will enable the engine to start up again.
Alternately, try shifting the shift lever or dial to see if this helps reestablish electrical contact inside of the transmission range selector (commonly known as neutral safety switch). This may reestablish contact in the neutral safety switch.
Although not an ideal solution, this could help start your car. If it still won’t start after this step has been taken, the issue likely lies within its ignition switch, main relay, or fuse panels which control power to the starter motor.
Another issue that may prevent an engine from starting is a problem with the fuel pump. A fuel pump serves to prime injection systems so they run smoothly; if one malfunctions or stops working as intended, however, then priming won’t occur properly and therefore won’t allow your engine to start up successfully.
Rather than trying to start your car manually with no success, calling for a tow truck or asking someone with jumper cables for help may be best. This will allow the car to leave your yard and into professional hands who can assess and solve its issues.
Use a screwdriver to push down on the shift lever or dial and change to neutral gear. Your method may differ depending on your vehicle and make model; be sure to consult your owner’s manual to learn how to safely do this.
Notably, your car may not start up if a shift lock prevents its shifter from shifting. Some vehicles offer a shift lock release feature to bypass this mechanism and put the car into neutral.
2. Engage the Parking Brake
If your battery dies or you can’t start the engine, it is wise to put your car into neutral before trying to jump-start it. By doing so, you can push it safely towards a safer location before getting assistance from someone else to turn the key and start it.
Many cars feature a parking brake (also referred to as an emergency or handbrake) to assist in keeping their vehicle stationary during parking, particularly if parking on hills or inclines.
But while parking brakes provide excellent safety features, they may need maintenance over time due to being left unused for long stretches and leading to corrosion issues.
Shielded cables can be especially vulnerable to corrosion over time due to water and road debris getting trapped within their outer shell, potentially leading to corrosion over time.
One effective way of avoiding this situation is to engage the parking brake each time you park your car. Doing this will relieve stress placed upon the transmission and possibly lessen its likelihood of repair in the future.
Most vehicles feature a button on their dashboards for engaging or disengaging the parking brake, while others may use either a shift lever beneath the dash, or even a foot pedal, to activate it.
Newer vehicles feature automatic parking brake systems that activate and deactivate every time you park your car, which is certainly convenient; but to get more information on its inner workings it’s advisable to refer to your owner’s manual for more details on its application in your vehicle.
Utilizing your car’s parking brake to put it into neutral is not a complex process, though having someone assist is often recommended as it can be hard navigating an incline alone.
3. Release the Shift Lock
If your battery dies, to jump-start it you must put the car into neutral. Thankfully, most vehicles offer a shift lock release feature which allows you to easily move gear shift into neutral without using keys.
Modern vehicles typically utilize electronic ignition and automatic transmissions with shift locks that prohibit you from shifting gears when your battery dies; this prevents theft.
Shift lock release buttons also prevent you from accidentally switching gears while driving, potentially leading to loss of control of the vehicle. To use this feature on your car, switch the ignition to “Run” or “On”, engage the parking brake, and press the shift lock release button.
If your shift lock doesn’t work as intended, it could be due to a defective shift interlock solenoid. In such an instance, it should be replaced with a new unit as soon as possible.
Sometimes your shift lock may become stuck in park due to an issue with your brake light or stoplight switch, in which case pushing into different gears will help move it out of park mode.
Your shift lock may also be stuck in neutral due to a malfunctioning interlock solenoid, which could be caused by spilled beverage dripping onto it and sticking. To remedy this situation, Q-tips and alcohol should be used to clean both solenoids and locking mechanisms of any foreign objects in them before replacing with fresh ones.
Your vehicle’s shift lock interlock solenoid is controlled by an electronic circuit that completes and breaks when you press either the brake pedal or switch, so if this circuit breaks your shifter will become trapped in Park until either you press the brake pedal or switch your ignition on to “Run.” or “On”.
To release the shift lock release, locate a slot or latch on your center console and open it using a flathead screwdriver. There will probably be an adhesive cap covering this area; to access it you may also require using an extension cord or pop-off cap.
4. Push the Shift Lever or Dial
If you find yourself needing to put your car into neutral without using its key, there is an easy way of doing so. This technique may come in handy in situations such as dead battery replacement or transmission issues.
One of the latest innovations in cars is rotary gear shifters that replace traditional levers. While these have caused much debate among drivers about whether or not they are truly practical, most experts believe they are inferior designs compared to more straightforward shifter options.
The rotary gear selector may be unfamiliar and confusing for new drivers, making learning how to shift gears properly important before driving on your own.
There are various methods for doing this, but one common way is pushing the shift lever or dial. You can either do it on your own or with help from another individual.
Locate the shift lock override slot located on the shifter console. It may be hidden under a small plastic cover, but can usually be reached using a flathead screwdriver and some careful prying.
Remove the cover, inserting a key, small screwdriver, nail file or similar shape into the override slot. Next, push down and hold in place while simultaneously pressing down on the brake pedal to activate shift lock override mechanism.
Once this step is completed, it is time to place your vehicle into neutral. After doing this, you can begin moving it towards where it needs to go.
If you need assistance placing your car into neutral, professional help should always be sought to ensure it moves safely without damaging the vehicle in any way.
When your battery runs out and you need to move your car, the most crucial element of success is having someone help push it safely and smoothly. A friend or family member could make this task simpler and safer.