2007 Dodge Charger SRT8: Stuck in Park
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on May 12, 2016
I got into our long-term 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 today, started it up and it would not shift out of park. A quick search online reassured me that I wasn't the only one with this problem. But fortunately for me, the combination of having Internet access on my phone and some screwdrivers I keep in my computer bag bailed me out.
YouTube videographers walked me through the emergency fix, which was really easy.
Step 1: Pop off the bezel surrounding the shifter with a screwdriver or similar prying tool as pictured above.
Step 2: Locate the metal cable near the top left (driver-side) corner. I highlighted it with arrows but note that my camera focused on the top shifter plate, not the cable below.
Step 3: Use a long screwdriver or similar poking tool to stuff into the gap. Catch the right side of the cable and pull it left with one hand while shifting the lever out of park with the other hand. All fixed, sort of.
Keep in mind that the park lockout mechanism will still snap right into place if you shift back into park. So every time we fire up our Charger we either need keep the screwdriver handy to do this procedure or just leave the tranny in neutral after turning the ignition off and set the parking brake.
As for the root of the problem, it might be this hot pink guy, there between the layers of gross (that's nine years worth of in-car Dorito snacks, dry skin flakes and who knows what else). But that's just based on a small amount of research I've done so far. That's the shifter interlock lever. It's plastic, which obviously isn't durable enough for this application.
We'll do a little more research and get this thing fixed.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 79,515 miles