Home » My Toyota Won’t Shift Into Gear & Stuck in Park (FIXED!)

My Toyota Won’t Shift Into Gear & Stuck in Park (FIXED!)

Are you experiencing trouble with your Toyota manual or automatic gearbox not changing gear? You’re not alone.

Many Toyota owners have reported similar issues, and it can be frustrating to deal with a car that won’t shift gear properly.

In some cases, the Toyota will not shift into gear when parked. In other cases, it happens while driving especially when accelerating.

Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, a problem with shifting can be a sign of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the common causes of Toyota not shifting into gear and provide some tips on how to diagnose and fix the problem.

So, if you’re tired of struggling to get your Toyota moving, keep reading!

Why Is My Toyota Gear Shift Not Working?

When a Toyota refuses to shift into gear and probably stuck in park, it can be caused by simple issues as well more complex ones. 

Let’s take a look at these causes one after the other, starting with the automatic.

Reasons for Toyota Automatic Gearbox Not Changing Gear

1. Bad brake switch

A bad brake switch is one of the most common causes of Toyota automatic gearbox not changing gear. Your Toyota brake switch is located with your brake pedal.

When it is faulty, it causes leads to a malfunction between your Gear signal and the brake pedal that prevents you from using the gear when it is stuck in park mode.

2. Hydraulic Level

The hydraulic fluid of your Toyota is very important to the smooth operation of the vehicle.

When the hydraulic fluid is lesser than the minimum requirement or the fluid is no longer clear, it will cause your gear to get stuck on park and refuse to shift. 

3. Loose Shifter linkage actuator

The shifter actuator is located together with the lever on top of the transmission in the engine.

When the actuator is loose or fluffy with little resistance, it can be the reason why your gear is stuck in park mode without moving.

4. Bad solenoid

The solenoid is a small device that works hand in hand with the brake switch.

It is a small colored rubber pallet that has a pin connector which is triggered when a brake panel is pressed on.

If the pin is not properly connected to the brake pedal, it can also cause the issue. 

5. Fluid leakage

When fluid is leaking in a master cylinder, it can cause your Toyota gear to stuck in one place without moving to either D3, D2, D1 neutral, or Reverse mode.

Leaks can occur across the master cylinder only if they damaged the seal and needs to be replaced immediately.

6. Damaged bushing

The bushing is located in the handle of your Toyota gears, if the car is old, the bushing which is a tiny rubber can get damaged or worn out which will cause disintegration that will force the gear to get stuck in one position.

7. Rough shift

A rough shift usually occurs when a Toyota is accelerating but in an erratic way.

If you park the car for a long period, it can develop the gear shifting problem.

8. Gear cable shifter

Is the engine room which helps in moving your car gears from the park, D3, D2, D1, reverse, and neutral easily.

However, if the cable is disconnected from its actual location, or it became loose, cut, or worn out it will cause the gear moving ability of your Toyota to stop working.

9. Automatic transmission cable

The automatic transmission cable is located inside the cover automatic transmission basement and X hose manifold below the engine area of your car.

If it is loose or it does not tighten the screw as it should, the gear shifting will develop issues that will lead to total failure.

10. Broken Fuse

If the fuse which is connected to your Toyota cruise control, automatic transmission shifter, and brake lights  is broken, it can also cause your Toyota to be stuck in park and not shifting gear.

Reasons for Toyota Manual Gearbox Not Changing Gear

1. Clutch pedal

The clutch pedal of your manual Toyota is a common reason why the gear is not working properly.

If the clutch pedal is stiff or hard, it means that the clutch plate is damaged and if it is too soft, it means the cable is loose and needs to be mentioned. 

2. Release bearing

If your manual Toyota doesn’t use a cable that means it is using hydraulic fluids which can prevent your gear from moving if it is either low or murky.

3. Clutch plate

The clutch plate is located in the bale housing of the manual transmission gearbox.

If it wore the clutch plate out as a result of usage it will probably be the reason why your Toyota won’t shift into gear.

4. Slack clutch cable

Another factor that prevents Toyota hear from working is the slack clutch cable. This will result in the Failure of your gear to move and shift into different places.

How to Fix Toyota that Will Not Shift Gear

Follow the step-by-step procedures below to fix a Toyota that is stuck in park (or any other mode) and will not shift into gear.

1. Fix for a Bad Brake Switch

The first thing you need to check for is a bad brake switch.

  • Look down towards your brake pedal, and you will see a brake switch attached to it. The brake switch has a pin connector.
  • Whenever you press the brake pedal, the plunger attached to it get pops in and out.
  • Disconnect the connector bay by squeezing the tab and prying it out.
  • Next is to remove the pin connector switch by twisting it 45° degrees.

Use the AES wave test light to test whether it is performing a resistance check, if it is not working properly then you need to buy a brand new switch for the car with a new locking ring to replace the old one. Make sure that the blue stopper is intact.

Finally, put the connector back and hold the pedal.

Your gear will start working properly.

2. Fix for Hydraulic Level

If the hydraulic level of your Toyota is responsible for the gear not shifting, follow the steps below to check and fix it.

  • Check if there is a leakage. Get a new master cylinder to replace the one with the leakage problem.
  • Remove the line that holds it which is a ten-millimeter bolt with a flare ratchet to loosen it.
  • Take the note off the clutch pedal and remove it.
  • Use a ratchet that has an extension with a wiggling ability to easily access it.
  • Put the new master cylinder in the position of the old one.
  • Next, go back on the dash and tighten the bolts.
  • Filled up the master cylinder with fluids.
  • Use a giant screwdriver and stick it to the clutch pedal then push the seat forward to hold it in place.
  • Tighten the lineup to make it sealed.
  • Push the seat back to its initial position and the clutch back.
  • Press the clutch three times repeatedly to get the air out of the system.

Now, the issue should be fixed.

3. Fix for Shifter Linkage Actuator

If the linkage is loose or with little resistance, go to the hood and check the lever on top of the transmission that moves with the shifter.

If it pops the cable out, you can put it back on the retainer.

If the cable is broken, replace it with a new one.

4. Fix for Damaged Bushing

Remove the cover of your gear handle and remove the screws and plastic that covers the gear.

Remove the damaged bushing and clean the position, then put the new bushing into the location.

5. Fix for Automatic Transmission Cable Issue

Go below the Toyota engine area.

Open the cover of the automatic transmission basement and X hose manifold.

Look up at the transmission basement you will see the automatic transmission cable.

It has a bolt you need to remove with a twelve-millimeter socket.

Tighten it if the cable is loose or change it to a new one which will work better.

6. How to Fix a Bad Solenoid

If the solenoid is bad, you can easily fix it by doing the following:

  • Check the soiled to see if it can be repaired. If not, remove it and plug in the connector.
  • Measure it to a half millimeter.
  • Start the car and check the problem again.

It will work perfectly then proceed to clear the codes appearing on your dashboard.

7. Fix for Clutch Pedal

If the clutch pedal is stiff, you need to buy a new one and replace it.

On the other hand, if it is too soft, it means your clutch plate cable is disconnected and you need to open it and connected it back to its position.

Here’s a video showing how to diagnose the issue and fix it:

Is Toyota not shifting into gear expensive to repair?

It depends on the underlying cause of the issue. Some gear shifting problems are very easy and cheap to repair, while others are difficult and expensive.


If you have a Toyota automatic gearbox not changing gear, the likely causes include:

  1. Bad brake switch
  2. Hydraulic level
  3. Shifter linkage actuator
  4. Fluid leakage
  5. Damaged bushing
  6. Rough shift
  7. Gear cable shifter
  8. Automatic transmission cable
  9. Bad solenoid

If you have a manual transmission Toyota, the causes can be due to:

  1. Clutch pedal
  2. Release bearing
  3. Clutch plate
  4. Slack clutch level

By following the troubleshooting procedure discussed in this guide, you should be able to fix the issue and get back on the track.