People normally don’t think of the neutral safety switch when they own a car. Some may not even know what this is. If you’re not very familiar with the neutral safety switch, you most likely don’t know if there’s a fuse for it. Rest assured today you will find out.
What is a Neutral Safety Switch?
When starting your vehicle, in order to start, your car must be set to either neutral or park. Generally, people start a car from park. All automatic and manual transmission systems are manufactured with a safety element that prevents the car from starting if it is not in either park or neutral. This component is known as the neutral safety switch. These switches have been a component of cars since the 1950s. Since the ‘80s, these have been installed in every automatic transmission.
The neutral safety switch can be found on the inside of the transmission on automatic transmission systems. In manual transmissions, the safety switch can be found on the clutch pedal. This allows the car to only be started if the pedal is depressed.
It is a common problem to have a worn out neutral safety switch or one that has become misaligned.
Symptoms of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch
Various things can cause a bad neutral safety switch to go bad in your vehicle. The following are some of the most common ones.
No Crank in Park
When your car is in park, and you turn the ignition key, the engine should crank. If it does not, the neutral safety switch could be the issue. However, this is also the symptom of a bad starter motor or battery.
No Crank in Neutral
There are times when a car will crank in park but not neutral. Often, this will be a sign that there is a problem with the neutral safety switch. While the switch could be bad, it could also be an issue with an electrical problem that is not giving power to the switch. Or it could also simply be that the switch is loose in the transmission.
Cranks in Any Gear
You most certainly do not want your car to be able to crank in any gear. Should this occurs, a serious accident could happen as it means your car could crank as you are driving.
No Crank in Park and Neutral
If you can not crank the car in either park or neutral, there are serious issues with your car’s neutral safety switch. The starter motor will not be able to receive any power as the switch is responsible for this.
If the neutral safety switch is bad, your backup lights may not come in when you put the car in reverse.
Is There a Fuse for the Neutral Safety Switch?
Many times when an issue happens in your car, you can simply change a fuse to alleviate the issue. Fuses are used to power the radio and cigarette lighter, as well as many other aspects of the car. These fuses are designed to protect the electrical components of your vehicle from surges of power. Each fuse will have its own amperage rating. They vary in sizes and colors. The correct fuse size should be utilized at all times as having too much power could cause more electrical or circuit issues. It is normal to have a fuse blow. Once a fuse has blown, you must switch it out as they are a one time use.
Neutral safety switches do have a fuse in both automatic and manual transmissions.
How to Test a Neutral Safety Switch
You may simply need to adjust the neutral safety switch if you are having issues with it. But, before you try this, you should test the switch first.
On an automatic transmission, follow these steps to test the neutral safety switch:
● Press down on the brake pedal, leaving it like this for the entire test.
● Turn the key in the ignition as if you were going to start the car. Hold the key in this position for the entire test.
● You can now move the shift selector through all positions.
● If the car starts while the shifter is in anything other than park or neutral, the neutral safety switch most likely needs to be adjusted.
● If the only position the car starts from is neutral, you will probably have to replace the switch.
If you are unable to start the car this way, place the shifter in park or neutral. Turn the key like you are starting it, then jiggle the shifter, but do not move it out of park or neutral. If it still will not start, hold the shifter in park and try starting the car once again. If you are still unable to start the car, you will need to look into adjusting the neutral safety switch.
To test the neutral safety switch on a manual transmission, you will need to do the following:
● Unplug the electrical connector
● If there are two wires in the connector, you can connect both terminals with a small jumper wire.
● If there is only one wire, use the jumper wire to connect the terminal to a good ground.
● Move the shifter to neutral and try to start the car.
Should the engine start, you may need to look into replacing or adjusting the switch. If it will not start, you could have an issue with your starting circuit or one of the elements of this.
The neutral safety switch is needed to start both an automatic and manual vehicle. It is not uncommon to have one that needs to be replaced. If you are lucky enough, it may just be a fuse causing the issue. Should this be the case, you simply need to change the fuse and you will be good to go. You may find that yours is having issues and it is not the fuse. If you are uncertain how to fix it, contact a professional mechanic and they can assist you in the matter.