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Four Symptoms of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch

Four Symptoms of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch

We all like to be safe when we get behind the wheel of a car. One of the things that protects us from accidents is a correctly-functioning neutral safety switch.

Developed in the late 1950s, the neutral safety switch became a standard part of automobiles in the 1980s.  Installed in vehicles with automatic transmissions, the switch is located in the transmission case on in the linkage.  Its function is to keep a car from starting if it is in either the neutral (N) or park (P) positions.  In standard transmissions, a similar function is performed by a device on the clutch.  If the safety switch is not working, the engine can be started at a bad time, possibly causing the car to lurch forward dangerously when it should remain stationary.

Four Signs of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch

How do you know if your switch isn’t working properly?  Here are four telltale signs that something is wrong with it:

  1. The engine won’t start in P, but it will start in N, possibly because there is a battery problem or a malfunction in the starter.
  1. The engine won’t start in N, but it will start in P, a sign that there is may be a problem with a loose switch, or failure of some other part that will allow it to engage in the P gear;
  1. The engine won’t start in any position, which may mean there is no power getting to the starter, among other possible causes; and
  1. The engine will start in any gear, which it is clearly not supposed to do. This could be an indication that there is a short circuit somewhere in the transmission system.

Also, in some models, a bad neutral safety switch may be signaled by a “check engine” notification lighting up on the dash, sometimes with a specific message; this usually points to some type of electrical problem.   Of course, any time a message light appears on your car, you should check it out immediately.

If you have a bad neutral safety switch, Sun Transmission has what you need to fix it. Specialists in automatic transmissions, Sun Transmissions has a full inventory of overhaul and re-build kits, assembly lubes, power steering accessories, frictions and steels, automatic transmission additivestransmission bushing kitstransmission connectors, and other things your car may need to function properly. Check out our store today.


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