What To Do About The Bad Neutral Safety Switch Symptoms?

Few people think about the neutral safety switch during their car maintenance plans. Still, contrary to popular belief, this device plays a critical role in ensuring your car’s engine starts safely.

When the current flows anywhere rather than the neutral or park gear, it will immediately cut off the power source to save you from accidents or electric shocks.

Hence, you can imagine all the disasters that might ensue if you decide to ignore all the bad neutral safety switch symptoms.

This article will gladly delve into details regarding these signals – and provide wonderful tips for instant treatments.

What Are The Bad Neutral Safety Switch Symptoms?

Neutral Safety Switch Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch

The most transparent signals lie in how your engine starts: it might either not start at all or does so at all the wrong places.

Check engine lights being turned on without reason is another common signal, too.

1. The Check Engine Light

Is your engine light on without reason – and you happen to have OBD scanners nearby?

Then it’s time to check the indicated code in your car using these scanners! (check quick usage guides here!) The code P084F clearly implies that your safety switches are malfunctioning.

To prevent irreversible effects in the future, you should always pay close attention to the warning signs on the car dashboard.

That way, it’s easy to spot bad neutral safety switch symptoms and take action before things are too late.

For further tips on intermittent flashing accidents, click this link.

2. The Car Engine Does Not Start in Parks but At Neutral Modes Instead

Once you insert the ignition switch and put the transmission in the parking modes, your car should rumble and start the engine.

And what if the engine stays still? Then it’s clear that your safety switch is suffering from technical issues.

Aside from that, several automobile compartments might also be the culprit; cases in point include battery problems and damaged starters.

Pinpointing the exact dilemma might be difficult, which is why we believe you should consult an expert for further investigations into these signs of a bad neutral safety switch.

3. The Car Engine Does Not Start In Neutral but In Park Modes Instead

Another potential signal of a faulty neutral safety switch is that your engine refuses to start neutral but is in parking mode instead.

Under such circumstances, there are two scenarios: your switch might either be facing internal failure (where there’s only 1 gear engaged) or electrical failure.

For the latter, things are much simpler; you only need to adjust the loose switch.

4. The Car Engine Refuses to Start Entirely

Regardless of whether the car is in gears or not, its refusal to start means there are possible electrical malfunctions within the neutral switch.

In that case, no power will flow to and fro the switch and starter relay, rendering your car powerless.

The root causes might boil down to open electrical circuits, which stem from broken relays, blown fuses, or electric issues within the switches themselves.

Your best bet now is no other than to replace the entire switch.

5. The Car Engine Operates in Random Gears

Things might not look good here if your car starts operating even when it’s in gear. Chances are the switch is suffering from internal misalignments (ex: short circuits).

Keep in mind that this situation is far more serious than all the symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch listed above; you can even compare it to having no safety switch set up on the car at all.

To sidestep serious injuries or accidents, replace the switches as soon as possible.

How To Adjust The Neutral Safety Switch

How to Adjust The Neutral Safety Switch

If the problem requires nothing except a few tweaks here and there, then you probably should not waste a fortune by replacing the entire switch.

Just follow our steps detailed here to adjust them back into their right places: 

A. On Automatic Transmission

Step 1. Locate The Neutral Safety Switch

Your automatic transmission safety switch (also known as neutral position/park switch in some models) is often mounted to a shit level close to the bottom and around the bases.

Rarer cases have them attached to the transmission’s left side, operated by moving the shift linkages.

Step 2. Access The Neutral Safety Switch

If your switch is placed right at the shift levers, unscrew the console assemblies and lift the lids at the lever base to gain deeper access into your car’s switch.

This step might call for a ratchet and some standard Phillips screwdrivers.

For cars whose switches are built directly on the automobile transmission, follow the steps below:

  • Park the car on level surfaces.
  • Raise its front a little using floor jacks.
  • Push the jack stand on both car sides, aligning them under the frames.
  • Lower your car till it properly rests on the stand.
  • Apply the park brakes.
  • Use one wooden block or two to block the car’s rear wheels.

Step 3. Adjust The Neutral Safety Switch

Once you have accessed the switch successfully, confirm its transmission has already been returned to Park. Here are some adjusting methods recommended by experts:

a. Adjust By Gliding The Switches:

Loosen the mounting bolts – not too much, just enough to slide the unit a bit sideways. Remember to use sockets (correct sizes) and ratchets for this task.

Ask someone to hold the car’s ignition key at Start – as if you would fire the engine. Once the motor starts turning, tell him to release it.

Slide the automobile switches toward the Neutral or Park position. Hear the grinding sounds from your engine? Secure the switch firmly in the spot before tightening the mounting screw.

After the switch has been seized, start your engine using the Park’s shift lever. Then repeat that step – but this time with Neutral – to ensure proper switch operations.

Finally, replace your console assemblies or lower the vehicle off the stands.

b. Adjust by Realigning the Marks:

  • Once the switch has been loosened, spot the basic line/mark to the switch’s center or right side – depending on the car model.
  • Put your shift selectors in Neutral.
  • Navigate to the switch’s bottom. Align the lines using the lug’s groove/gap. When both of the lines are properly aligned lengthwise, tighten your switch to secure its current position.
  • Start the car engine in both Park and Neutral. If it works, secure the mounting bolts to the automatic’s torque specification mentioned in the repair manual (often [5 Nm], 48 in-lbs). Otherwise, readjust the switch again.

If your vehicle doesn’t start, it’s either because your switch has failed or the starting circuits encounter troubles.

Look through the wiring diagrams to confirm the location of your voltage wires and switch connectors, and contact the manufacturer for more help.

Step 4. Test The Switch

  • Unplug your electrical connector. Then use a jumper wire (small size) to jump the connector’s terminal that has battery power. Do the same with the connector’s terminal that links to starter solenoids.
  • Position gear selectors in Neutral or Park and operate the engine.

B. On Manual Transmission

Step 1. Identify where the switch is. Depending on vehicle models and makes, it’s either on the pedal arm or serves as a small compartment in the push rods that link your cylinder and the pedals.

Step 2. Unplug the car’s electrical connector and count how many wires it has. Is the answer 2?
Then use small jumper wires to connect the connector’s two terminals. And if there is only one, link the connector’s terminal to the ground.

Step 3. Turn the transmission to Neutral and start your engine. Adjust the connectors again if needed.


1. How Much Does It Cost to Replace A Bad Neutral Safety Switch?

Replacement costs for neutral safety switches often run from $95 to $150. Parts costs are around $50, while labor prices fluctuate from $45 to $100.

As we can see, these charges are pretty affordable for most car models. Even their part costs are not demanding, and the time required to complete the replacement is just a matter of days.

2. Can A Vehicle Run Without Neutral Safety Switches?

Technically, you can – if you are prepared for surprises, sudden movements, and accidents that might happen on the road.

But trust us, predicting them is by no means easy! There are reasons certain regions consider safety switches a compulsory part of the vehicle, after all.

3. How Long Do Neutral Safety Switches Last?

They are expected to last throughout the vehicle’s lifespan.

But, of course, there’s no guarantee that it can survive intact until then, so always remember to check for signs of bad neutral safety switch and replace it if needed.


This insightful article has discussed what constitutes bad neutral safety switch symptoms and how to treat them efficiently.

Further inquiries and extra tips about other relevant issues are also covered in the FAQs section, guaranteeing you do not miss anything significant,

We trust that your car will encounter no safety switch issues from now on.

To strengthen its performance and lifespan, do not forget to bring your vehicle to monthly maintenance services and check its operation every few weeks.

For more questions, clarifications, or support about the common symptoms of bad neutral safety switch, feel free to drop into Bryan Garage’s inbox – which is always open 24/7!

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