Help: Gear Lever in Mazda Tribute Got Stuck

Maybe someone has had a similar problem before.
We drive an 2002 Mazda Tribute. It’s got an automatic transmission with the “US-Style” lever behind the steering wheel. The Lever is in the P position while the indicator on the dashboard shows the 2 gear as selected.

While running, I could move the lever into the respective positions without the indicator moving. After turning off the engine, the lever can’t be moved anymore and the engine won’t turn on.

This is all together a bit of a nuisance, since it means that we’re stuck on a mountain in Nantou.

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I cannot promise anything, and I don’t have experience with this specific problem, but… try to get a contacts cleaner can and spray the shit out of it (also literally :D).

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So it’s one of those electronic doodads?

Is it possible to find a service manual for this car? It should tell you how everything goes together so you can figure out how it works.

Or take it to a competent mechanic.

If you can’t move the lever once the engine is off, it means something locks it to prevent it from moving. But it’s weird that you can’t even start the engine at all. Normally you start in P and you stick the key in, and the engine should start. Actually you can’t even take the key out of the ignition unless your transmission is in P.

Is there any weird sound in the transmission? for example if someone at some point never bothered to set the parking brake and broke the parking pawl in the transmission… don’t do that by the way. Assuming your car survives the roll and didn’t kill anyone or cause any damage, it will just about destroy your transmission.

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Check your insurance policy, if it’s anything over the legal minimum it liking includes a towing service in the case of breakdown.


looks like the gear position indicator and the gear shift lever have come out of synch. the car won’t start unless its in Park, and now it thinks it is in 2 (even if actually in Park).

can you dismantle the steering wheel cover and have a poke around at the base of the gear shift, and see if you have a loose position sensor? maybe can move it back so it makes sense again.

otherwise, you’re SOOL at the moment. and No, you absolutely cannot start the car by rolling downhill, and without the engine running, you’ll have no steering and no brakes. so don’t do that.

call for a tow. sorry to hear that.


Was it actually going into a different gear when you moved the lever? If not then;

Could be spot on!


You can’t even roll your car downhill unless you can put it in Neutral, and since the shifter don’t work, you can’t.

Or you can try to force it and destroy your transmission.

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Disconnect the battery, than reconnect. Maybe it resets your indicator?

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careful, that may bring on a whole host of other unintended issues.

cars don’t really need a reset like a phone or a computer does, they get basically reset when you turn the ignition off .


Not really, your clock keeps going and some other electric stuff. Disconnecting a battery is not disrupting.

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If you wait long enough @Marco will see this and generously provide the Business Card of his local mechanic that provides telephone diagnosis and the fix that is necessary. :grinning:


Already been to this topic, but know nothing about cars.



Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape shifter issue quick fix

Shift Indicator Repair. This video will show you how to align the PRND indicator for an automatic car, specifically a Ford, Mazda

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The problem was indeed the same one as in the video @SuperS54 posted. I fixed it with a ziptie and get the cable changed as soon as I’m off the mountains.
Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions!


Who needs to pay for Road Service when it comes free from Forumosa !!

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Always have a set of screwdrivers, spanners, zipties, duct tape and WD40 in your car. Really helpful in these kinds of situations.

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