What is the Neutral Safety Switch all about?
The neutral safety switch keeps the vehicle from starting when in any gear position other than Park or Neutral. In some vehicles, the switch also monitors gear selection and reverse light feedback data for the vehicle’s computer. Most often mounted to the left-hand side of the transmission, the switch is equipped in vehicles with a transaxle or automatic transmission. Some vehicle neutral safety switches are attached to the shifter mechanism.
Keep in mind:
- Connected to the starter solenoid, the neutral safety switch completes the starter circuit, allowing the power from the battery to reach the starter only while the gearshift remains in Park or Neutral.
- The mechanic will check the other systems in your vehicle’s ignition system, such as the starter, battery, and alternator, to make sure those parts are not causing the problem.
- As a vehicle ages, the neutral safety switch deteriorates.
How it’s done:
- The vehicle is raised and supported on jack stands. The transmission shift lever and cable are removed. The electrical connector is removed from the switch.
- The neutral safety switch is removed from the transmission. The transmission shaft seal is checked for leaks and replaced as needed.
- The new neutral safety switch is installed on to the selector shaft and secured while aligning for proper installation alignment.
- The shift lever and shift cable are reinstalled. The vehicle is checked for proper neutral safety switch operation before the vehicle is lowered off the jack stands.
- The vehicle is scanned for codes and proper switch indication of gear ranges and road tested for proper operation.
Replace a faulty neutral safety switch as soon as possible; otherwise, the vehicle will stop working or suffer engine damage. When the switch does not work properly, the vehicle might jump into gear upon startup. This not only causes damage to the engine itself, but poses a great physical threat to surrounding objects and people. Our expert mechanics will diagnose the neutral safety switch to see if it needs adjustment.
Transmissions that exhibit excessive vibrations cause the switch to go out of alignment over time, which makes vehicle ignition more difficult. When inspecting the neutral safety switch, our expert mechanics check for dirt and grease build-up, moisture, and corrosion. They will also use a test light to confirm a connection through the switch to the starter solenoid.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Neutral Safety Switch?
- Engine turns over in any gear, indicating that the neutral safety switch does not work properly and needs replacement
- Vehicle doesn’t turn over when in Park or Neutral
- Check Engine Light turns on after ignition
How important is this service?
Replace a faulty neutral safety switch promptly, as driving without a functional switch presents a danger to other drivers, passengers, and those around the vehicle. A faulty neutral safety switch damages the engine, as the vehicle jerks into gear upon startup. The reverse lights could stop working on some vehicles, which creates a safety hazard especially during inclement weather or nighttime.