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5 Symptoms of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch: All You Need to Know

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Here are the five most common symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch column

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  1. Difficulty starting your car
  2. Check engine light illuminating
  3. Vehicle stalling or hesitating
  4. Transmission not shifting properly
  5. Engine starts on Park

Your vehicle contains lots of interacting components. You might be familiar with the major ones like the engine or the transmission, but are you familiar with minor things like the neutral safety switch? Some people might, but many people might not.

Understanding and learning about one or two minor things in your car helps you get a general familiarity with your vehicle and learn about what could go wrong and what type of problems you might have when one of the major components goes bad.

The neutral safety switch is one of the most critical switches in your vehicle. It has to do with your safety, and if it goes bad, it can easily trigger a major car accident in some situations.

This article walks you through all you need to know and understand about the neutral safety switch. It highlights the five most common symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch so you can detect the issue as early as possible to prevent dealing with major complications.

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What is the neutral safety switch, and what is it do?

Before we dive into the details about the five symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch, you must get a general understanding of what that switch is in the first place?

The neutral safety switch is a very simple component in your car, but it plays a critical role that could impact your safety if it's not working properly. This switch is responsible for preventing your car from moving and your engine from starting if your vehicle is set in park or neutral modes.

Imagine what could happen if the engine started and the car moved when you think the vehicle is set to neutral or park?! Most automotive experts describe a bad neutral safety switch as a basis for major car accidents.

Thus, it is essential for you as a driver to maintain this switch and confirm it's working all the time properly.

How long does the neutral safety switch last?

The neutral safety switch is designed from very durable material, making it last as long as your vehicle lasts. However, you might deal with internal or external troubles that could damage this switch prematurely.

Therefore, the best recommendation is to keep an eye on any potential symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch. Once you realize these symptoms, you'll be able to narrow down the list of potential culprits and fix this switch immediately before you get major complications that will cost you your life.

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Five symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch

As we mentioned earlier, you need to understand I need potential symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch. Once you detect these symptoms, you can easily replace them before sacrificing your life and vehicle.

Luckily, automotive experts were able to narrow down the list and put together a list of five common symptoms of bad neutral safety switch, there are summarized below:

1.    Difficulty starting your car

The first and most common symptom of a bad neutral safety switch is when your vehicle does not start properly or when you have a hard time starting your car. The first thing that might come to your mind when you can't start your car is the battery or probably the alternator if you have advanced experience.

However, it's not very rare to deal with situations where your neutral safety switch is the potential culprit here; therefore, as you're checking the list of potential culprits for your vehicle's starting problem, consider looking at this safety switch and confirm that it's working properly.

2.    Check engine light illuminating

Did you know that your vehicle relies on many warning lights to grab your attention to internal problems? The check engine light is one of the most common ones, and it does not always mean a significant problem, but it's something to keep an eye on because it could mean a major failure.

When your check engine light is illuminating, it could reveal many potential problems, and it can be very hard to determine what exactly is going on. For example, a faulty or a bad neutral switch might trigger a check engine light pairing paragraph. The only way for you to confirm is by relying on some scanning tools.

There are the OBDII scanners you can connect to your computer and scan the error code. Then, after getting the error code, you can easily Google this code and translate it into more intuitive sentences that tell you exactly what is going on wrong.

Once you have this code, if it's saying that you're having trouble with the neutral safety switch, then you're 100% sure that this is your problem, and you could easily go ahead and replace or fix this switch depending on your mechanic recommends.

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3.    Vehicle stalling or hesitating

In addition to the previously mentioned two symptoms, when your neutral safety switch fails, you'll have a very hard time driving your car. The vehicle will act up and notice that it's stalling or probably hesitating every time you hit the gas pedal or try to slow down your car.

Again, this is a very general situation that could be linked to various potential culprits. You cannot immediately go ahead and replace or fix the neutral safety switch just because you're dealing with vehicles stalling here. You don't have to perform a more detailed inspection, and your mechanic has to take a closer look to determine the actual root culprit of the problem before going ahead and replacing any component.

4.    Transmission not shifting properly

New vehicle works together as one system, and when the neutral safety switch does not work, you might realize that your transmission is not shifting gears properly. Therefore, as you're checking the list of essential parts for your transmission problem, don't forget to look at the neutral safety switch because if it's the one that's going on wrong cannot that you're in a serious situation.

5.    Engine starts on park

What's even more dangerous than all previously mentioned symptoms is when your engine starts on park. Again, this is a very critical situation, and it's guaranteed to get involved in major car accidents. Therefore, if it happens once and you realize that your car starts just fine as your vehicle is set to park, that's not good, and you should consult your mechanic immediately.

Before you involve yourself in major car accidents, having a conversation with your mechanic and performing a quick inspection helps you save a ton of potential major complications that will cost you the entire vehicle, not your life.

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How much does it cost to fix a bad neutral safety switch?

When you confirm that the neutral safety switch is causing all the trouble, you'll have to go ahead and replace it. Replacing the neutral safety switch should cost between $100 and $350. This differs significantly depending on your vehicle type and the location where you get the job done.

No matter how much it will cost you to replace this switch, you must go ahead because, as we mentioned earlier, if the switch is not working properly, you can deal with all sorts of extremely dangerous complications.

How long does it take to replace a neutral safety switch?

About an hour. Replacing the neutral safety switch is not a complicated job, and if you go to the right mechanic without considering the waiting time, you should get it done within one hour.

You must communicate with your mechanic or dealership and consider booking an appointment. This way, you don't have to worry about the waiting time not included in the repair itself.

Can you jump-start a car with a bad neutral safety switch?

You can bypass the neutral safety switch and get your vehicle going, including jump-starting your car. However, we typically recommend not relying on these methods and not continuing to drive your car with a bad neutral safety switch.

If all you're trying to do is get your vehicle started to get to the nearest repair shop, you should drive your car to save on tilling service.

The longer you wait on a bad neutral safety switch, the more troubles you're going to get in and the riskier situations you might be involved in carrot

Can you drive a car without a neutral safety switch?

You should never! It's never a good idea to continue driving your car if it has a bad neutral safety switch. If the switch goes bad, you'll deal with all sorts of concerning and safety situations that we mentioned earlier.

Furthermore, some automotive experts claim that driving with a bad neutral safety switch can damage major components like the transmission. The transmission might switch to the wrong gears and get you involved in major car accidents while causing troubles to the different internal components.

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How do you fix a bad neutral safety switch?

Typically, a neutral safety switch does not contain lots of internal components. Therefore, in most scenarios, your mechanic needs to replace the whole thing to get it repaired.

Some people might rely on YouTube videos to do some DIYs and replace their neutral safety switch. However, we always recommend leaving it to professionals, although the whole process will not take you a lot of time.

However, you need to consider that most DIYs do not work the first time, and since you're playing with a sensitive component, it's very easy to cause problems to the surrounding components and require higher costs to fix your vehicle.

Will a bad neutral safety switch cause transmission problems?

Yes, as we mentioned earlier, there is a high chance that your transmission might go bad because of a bad neutral safety switch. In addition, since this switch might cause your transmission to shift erratically, there is a very high chance that the internal components might get damaged, and you might deal with several complications with your transmission.

Why won't my car start in park but starts in neutral?

The whole problem sounds like you're dealing with a bad neutral safety switch. First, however, your mechanic needs to perform a more thorough inspection to confirm that nothing is going wrong.

Once your mechanic performs a detailed inspection, then that's when you decide on the repair options and go ahead with parts replacements.

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Final thoughts

The neutral safety switch is responsible for preventing your car from starting when the vehicle is set to park or neutral modes. Therefore, you must fix this switch as soon as possible whenever it goes bad.

It's a little tricky to determine when this switch is not working properly, but this article provided you with the five most common symptoms of a bad neutral safety switch. Once you notice any of these symptoms, you must consult your mechanic and confirm that your switch is not working properly so you can replace it.

If your mechanic realizes that there are other major complications and your vehicle requires thousands of dollars for repair, you might want to step back and evaluate without it's worth the repair or not. If you confirm that you don't want to go ahead and fix the vehicle, you can always sell it to Cash Cars Buyer, who would be more than happy to buy a car today!

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  • Describe your car's type and condition
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