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1998 forester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I LOVE my Forester...however last night when I parked, turned off the key, the car began to roll backwards when I took my foot off the brake. Yes...it was in park.
I thought maybe it was missing the gear (somehow) so tried to start the car/put it in neutral to start...anything....
Lights all came on, interior lights/radio working fine...no start, wouldn't let me shift from PARK..not even a "click"...

Had to get towed...any ideas?
Thought this was REALLY strange!

NO problems beforehand at all....
 

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2000 Impreza, 2003 Bugeye Sport, 2010 Base, 2014 Base, 2015 Premium, 2017 Limited, 2020 Touring
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1,020 Posts
I LOVE my Forester...however last night when I parked, turned off the key, the car began to roll backwards when I took my foot off the brake. Yes...it was in park.
I thought maybe it was missing the gear (somehow) so tried to start the car/put it in neutral to start...anything....
Lights all came on, interior lights/radio working fine...no start, wouldn't let me shift from PARK..not even a "click"...

Had to get towed...any ideas?
Thought this was REALLY strange!

NO problems beforehand at all....
What year Forester?

It sounds like it entered the "can't get out of Park" mode, it's covered in the manual. I think a little plastic square has to be taken out of the shifter plate, and then a small screwdriver or such is used to reach in to release the lever. I don't have my manual with me at work, but remember reading this.

It has something to do with the key, brake, shifter interlock system.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,824 Posts
There is a shifter release that can be used if the car is stuck in Park. I had a 99 that did this under similar conditions.

You can try this, it requires taking off the parking brake cover and lifting or removing the shifter cover.

First remove the two screws under the arm rest that secures the parking brake cover, then remove the cover. Gently remove the shifter cover, pulling up and back if I remember correctly.

Once the shifter is exposed you will see a small hole at the top of the shifter closest to the driver, that is a shifter release, put a screwdriver and push down while moving the selector lever from Park to Neutral, press the brakes and see if it starts in neutral.
While the cover is off find some level ground and put the car in Park, then see if you can start the car and move the lever. If it does, possibly the shifter interlock had too much pressure when it rolled back to release.

Hopefully that is all it is, although there is a switch there that allows the car to be started in Neutral as well as in Park, but I can't remember if it was visible.

Good Luck and let us know what the results were.
 
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