2000 Mercedes-Benz ML320 stuck in Park

Backyard Mechanic

The owner of a 2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320 asked for help with his SUV on an the MBWorld Forum. Without warning, his vehicle stopped allowing him to shift out of Park. Ever had that happen to you? This is how he explained the problem:

I need your help. My gearbox is stuck in PARK…..also BAS/ESP light was on. Had the ML320 towed to a shop….and left it there. Any ideas what’s causing it to stay in PARK? This might be a protective mechanism like Limp Mode imo.

My first instinct was that some vehicles have a shift-lock release button that allows you to circumvent this problem. I could not find such a device in the 2002 model currently in our inventory. So, there must be a difference solution to this owner’s problem.

shift-lockWhat year is your model? If it is 2002 or older, my bet is the brake pedal switch. That does not mean there could not be other causes but the brake pedal switch is often the cause. You have to depress the brake pedal in order to shift out of park. With a bad pedal switch, the system cannot tell if the pedal is depressed so you cannot shift out of park. Also the bad pedal switch will also cause the warning lights for BAS/EPS, etc.

You can shift it into gear by sticking a pen into the opening on the shifter. See pic. Your shifter may look slightly different but the opening is there for all shifters.

So, there you have it. Not only can you get it out of park, you also know one of the primary causes of the problem. If you would like to read more of the conversation and see the pictures, click on the link below:


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