Why My Car Only Starts In Neutral? (Find out Why!)

Last Updated on December 31, 2022 by Leepu Da Maxim

There are many reasons, your car might only start in neutral. If your vehicle has a clutch interlock switch then it prevents the engine from starting unless the transmission is in neutral. A faulty transmission range sensor is another very common reason for this problem. Also, the ignition switch can create this type of problem.

Key Takeaways

  • If you want to replace a neutral safety switch with a new one then it could cost you $80 – $230
  • If the neutral safety switch is not working properly then the car might not start, or it might start in a gear other than park or neutral
  • A faulty neutral safety switch can cause the transmission to shift erratically or not shift at all
  • Usually, the neutral safety switch is located on the transmission of a vehicle

Driving In Neutral Gear – Pros & Cons

It allows for saving a good amount of fuel when this is done many times in each use
In some cars, you can take care of the clutch life
It may make driving easier when using neutral gear in your vehicle
It’s a great way for people to learn to drive
In this case, it is really necessary to learn to use the neutral gear correctly to avoid damage to the vehicle
It is not advisable to use neutral gear if the vehicle has a certain speed
Here, you get a lower level of a reaction during driving
When using the neutral gear incorrectly, then it is not possible to save fuel with it 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Neutral Safety Switch?

As with any type of vehicle, some parts need to be replaced when they are no longer useful. A large number of vehicles have a neutral safety switch. These switches are really useful when starting a vehicle.

When this device simply doesn’t work anymore, the user will need a few dollars to get the replacement part. It is ideal to consider both the labor and cost of the safety-neutral switch itself.

When you only purchase this part, then you will need approximately $100 for a new part. In turn, you will also need to calculate the labor to install this component in your vehicle.

In these cases, you will probably need about $350 for this entire procedure. This is because you will need a certain specialist who can get excellent results on your vehicle.

Also, it is necessary to keep in mind that this is an important component that will allow you to start your vehicle. That’s why it’s not likely to get good results and you decide to install this component.

In this case, it is also necessary to take into account that the final cost could vary depending on the make and model of your car. For larger vehicles, the cost may be higher since the design of these vehicles is different from cars. It could also happen that the safety neutral switch works in a somewhat limited way.

In these cases, it is also necessary to purchase a completely new part since the damage could leave you without your vehicle in a dangerous location. It is not the same to be left without a vehicle in your own home as it is in the middle of a long journey. In these cases, it will be much more difficult to change this component and hire the best specialist to do so.

Can A Bad Neutral Safety Switch Cause Shift Problems?

It is advisable to take into account that a damaged component in a vehicle could damage other important parts of the same unit. Problems that occur in the form of a waterfall are quite common, and the main reason that increases the amount of money needed to repair a vehicle.

In this case, the neutral safety switch fulfills a certain important function in a car. This particular component prevents your vehicle from starting if it is not in neutral gear. This is why a malfunction of this switch can cause great inconvenience to people.

Even among all these inconveniences, a malfunction of this part can easily prevent you from using your vehicle in a normal manner. One of the most common problems is that your vehicle can stop when you want to use any type of gear.

Thus, your vehicle could be running only in neutral gear. Of course, this prevents you from using your vehicle to travel even a few meters.

That’s why it’s really important to replace this part the moment it starts to malfunction. In some cases, users suffer from this type of problem very occasionally. These users wait until the situation gets worse before they can change this component.

Of course, this is not recommended at all since the switch could worsen its operation at any time. If you are on a long trip, this component could stop working completely in the middle of the trip.

In this way, it will be much more difficult to replace and purchase the corresponding new part. A specialist is needed since a beginner without mechanical knowledge will not be able to perform the installation.

So, in this case, you will have a real problem if you wait too long to replace the corresponding component. Of course, the neutral safety switch does not usually fail randomly.

In this case, it is a component that is designed to offer an extended service life. One of the most common malfunctions is that the vehicle suffers a major accident or impact. 

Where Is The Neutral Switch Located?

This type of switch is usually located on one side of the lever, at the top of the vehicle’s transmission. Of course, this design can vary depending on the specific make and model of the vehicle.

This is why other vehicle models usually locate this switch to the left of the gear lever. However, people who need to replace the neutral safety switch should have all the proper knowledge to do so. In particular, this type of component is not available to every user.

As mentioned, this is a really important component of the proper functioning of a vehicle. Therefore, it really must be kept out of the reach of people.

Otherwise, this component could be damaged more quickly, causing many problems. A large number of machine tools are required to access this switch.

This is why people who need to replace the Neutral Safety Switch cannot install it themselves. Here, hiring a specialist with all the necessary knowledge is necessary here.

You will make the change if you can access the Safety Neutral Switch. Also, if errors persist, your vehicle cannot be operated normally.

To understand this, it is important to note that a neutral safety switch prevents a vehicle from starting in any gear other than neutral. Of course, this is an excellent safety measure to avoid errors and mistakes by people.

In other words, when the switch is not working then the person will not be able to change gears in their vehicle once it is on. This means that the vehicle cannot move forward since the only gear that can be used is the neutral gear.

In conclusion, this is a single small component that can disable an entire vehicle. So it is really important to change this switch at the time the malfunction begins. 

How Do I Know If I Have A Bad Ignition Switch?

Some symptoms are very revealing and let you know if the power switch is in bad condition. This will allow you to detect the symptoms more efficiently and make the necessary repairs in less time. As repairs are made in less time, then the cost required will be less and less.

1. Vehicle Won’t Start: Of course, when you turn the key and the vehicle won’t start, this is the most common symptom of an ignition switch malfunction. So, this is an excellent time to apply maintenance and repairs to your car completely.

2. The Key Won’t Turn: Another ignition problem is simply that the key can’t turn due to some obstacle. Here again, the ignition switch may be damaged in some way and prevents the key from turning to start the vehicle.

3. The Vehicle Stops: It could be that the vehicle is running but stops at some point along the way. In particular, this is another of the most annoying problems that users will have to suffer in this case. Here, it is advisable to replace the ignition switch as soon as possible to avoid problems or even accidents.  

4. The Starter Motor Does Not Produce Noise: When you start a vehicle, a series of noises must be produced before and during the ignition. So, if any of these sounds do not occur, then they could be another symptom of ignition switch failure.

5. Flashing Dashboard Lights: Finally, another very common symptom is that the dashboard lights start flashing at any time. If this happens one of the main recommendations will be to check that the power switch is working properly.