Ford Transmission Not In Park: Causes & Fixes

Ford transmission not in park warning messages can be triggered by many things. Not shifting the transmission before opening the door will trigger the warning. Even not wearing a seat belt while not driving could also cause a warning message. 

However, there are more serious causes of the  “Ford transmission not in park” warning message. Issues with internal components of the transmission, especially the electric shifter, are more serious causes.

What is Ford Transmission Not In Park? 

The Ford Transmission No In Park is a warning message that comes up when there is a problem with the shifter or other internal transmission components.’

Most recent Ford vehicles have a feature called the transmission in park or the automatic transmission position (P-Park). It will lock the car’s transmission so the vehicle cannot move. 

This position is most useful when parked on a hill where the vehicle has the potential to reverse down. Before this feature can be activated, you must come to a complete stop and then shift the transmission to the park. 

Sometimes, the automatic transmission position (P-park) may refuse to activate if there is something wrong with some internal component in the transmission. One internal component that may cause this is the transmission electronic shift.

Causes of Ford Transmission Not In Park

1. Damaged electronic shift

The electronic shift allows the driver to shift gears with a button. It replaces the traditional shift stick. When the electronic shift is damaged, there will be a problem with the transmission shift. 

In this case, when you shift to park, due to the damaged shifter, your transmission does not properly shift to park or does not at all. The message transmission not in the park will come because the transmission is not actually in the park, and the transmission cannot be locked to prevent movement in the wheels. 

2. Interlock switch issue

The interlock switch is a safety feature that is activated once the car is put in park. Once the transmission is shifted to park, the starter is locked, preventing it from turning. 

In addition, the only way the interlock will be disengaged is when the brake pedal is pressed down.  

When the interlock switch is damaged, you may be unable to shift from the park. Sometimes, a bad interlock switch may not allow the transmission to lock properly when shifted to the park.   

3. Issues with the transmission module

Another factor that could trigger the Ford Transmission No In Park warning message is a malfunctioning transmission module. The module monitors and controls the working condition of the entire transmission system. 

When the module is bad, it could cause the whole transmission system to stop functioning properly. It could also send false warning messages even when the transmission components work fine. 

4. Wiring issue

Modern transmission systems rely on the electric current to work properly. Factors like electric shifting will not work properly if the electric current does not flow. 

Wiring issues can also prevent proper interaction between the module and other necessary components like sensors and the ECU. 

When issues with the wires related to the transmission system come up, it could trigger the Ford Transmission No In Park warning message. 

5. Opening the door without shifting gear to park 

A less concerning cause of the warning message is opening the door when your vehicle is not in park. The message serves as a warning to drivers to leave their cars without shifting the transmission to park. 

If the door switch is damaged, it triggers a warning message when driving. The door switch detects if the door is open or closed. If the switch is damaged, it may signal that the door is open while it is closed. 

Other factors could cause the Ford Transmission No In Park warning message to come. Majorly any factor affecting the transmission system could trigger the warning.

How to fix a Ford Transmission Not In Park

A proper fix starts with discovering the cause of the Ford transmission not in park warning message. The warning message has to do with the transmission system. Properly inspecting all components in the transmission system will be a good place to start. 

1. Fix the electronic shift 

It is quite easy to know if the electronic shift is easy. Start the vehicle and press down the brakes. Try to shift from park to driving; if there is no response from the transmission or it takes several tries, the electronic shift is damaged. 

Also, do not attempt to drive a vehicle with a damaged electronic shift. Rather have the problem fixed. 

Fixing an electronic shift could be tricky; a professional handling the fix would be best. Although it will cost more, a professional touch guarantees a better fix. 

2. Check and Interlock switch issue

You can easily diagnose an interlock switch issue using a diagnostic scan tool. All you have to do is scan for the error code and any code related to the interlock switch then it may be damaged.  

A transmission stuck on a particular gear could damage the interlock switch. 

Just like the electronic shift, issues with the interlock should be given to a professional for a proper fix. 

3. Check and fix the transmission module 

The module can also be diagnosed using a scan tool. However, it is tricky to try and diagnose a faulty transmission module from symptoms. Sometimes, the module’s problem could be a simple malfunction. Resetting the module would bring it back to function properly. 

If resetting the module does not fix the problem, then there is a more serious issue. It might require reprogramming or a complete change of the damaged module. 

4. Inspect and fix the wiring issue

First, the wires related to the transmission system need to be found. The vehicle manual is a great way to find the wire, providing a detailed diagram of all the wiring connections. 

Once the wires are found, inspect them for damage like corrosion, broken connection, and exposed wires. I any damage is found, the wire needs to be changed. 

Final Thoughts 

Once you notice the “Ford transmission not in park” warning message, drive straight to the mechanic to fix the problem. Ignoring this problem could be dangerous, especially if a more serious issue causes the problem. You could get stuck on the highway because the vehicle will not shift gear or switch to limp mode.

  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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