Neutral Safety Switch
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Neutral Safety Switch at 1A Auto
What is a neutral safety switch and where is it located?
The neutral safety switch is a safety feature in automobiles with automatic transmissions. It prevents you from starting the car if the vehicle is in gear. Manual transmissions use a clutch safety switch to achieve the same end. You won’t be able to start the engine unless the clutch is depressed.
When your shifter is in park or neutral, the neutral safety switch completes the starter circuit. Electricity can then flow to the starter when you turn your key in the ignition. If the shifter is in drive or reverse, the switch is off, the circuit is broken, and the starter won’t run. This prevents you from starting the car or truck in drive and unexpectedly starting to move, which would be quite dangerous as you can imagine.
The position of the neutral safety switch depends on the position of your shifter. If the shifter is on your steering column, then the switch will be located underneath the shifter. If your shifter is on the floor or the console, the switch will be under the shifter, or mounted to the transmission. In many cases, the neutral safety switch and the reverse light switch, which turns on your back-up lights when you put the car or truck in reverse, are part of the same assembly.
How do I know if my neutral safety switch needs to be replaced?
While the neutral safety switch is supposed to prevent you from starting the car or truck in gear, a faulty one might prevent you from starting the car at all. The switch may wear out or corrode or become stuck in an always-off position. Then it won’t be able to close the starter circuit. In some cases the switch may work in one position. You may be able to start the engine with your shifter in neutral but not in park.
Sometimes the switch becomes misaligned. You may be able to wiggle your shifter until it closes the circuit and the engine starts. Once you get sick of doing that, it will be time to replace your neutral safety switch.
In some cases, the switch can become stuck in an always-on position, and you’ll be able to start the car in gear. Since this poses a potential hazard, you’ll probably want to replace the neutral safety switch right away.
Can I replace a neutral safety switch myself?
Although it will certainly take some work, you can replace your own neutral safety switch. You will have to open up the steering column or remove the shifter to access it, depending on where it is located. Before you remove the switch, you’ll want to make note—or better yet, take pictures—of how the switch is installed. This will help you get the new switch installed with the proper alignment. Replacing the switch is just a matter of unbolting it, disconnecting the wiring, and connecting the new one. After replacing it, you’ll want to check that your engine starts with the shifter in park or neutral but not in drive or reverse.
Need a neutral safety switch replacement?
What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to the neutral safety switch, the names says it all – safety. A properly functioning neutral safety switch ensures that your vehicle does not start unless the transmission is in neutral or park. So, if the vehicle is in gear and your neutral safety switch is working properly, it will prevent you from starting the vehicle in drive or reverse and have it unexpectedly starting to move. In order to keep yourself, your vehicle, and others around you while you drive, safe, you need to make sure that this part is functioning as it should. If it isn’t, you need to seek out and install a neutral safety switch replacement as soon as possible. At 1A Auto, we carry a large selection of aftermarket neutral safety switches for many makes and models, and at great prices. If your vehicle is having problems starting because of a defective neutral safety switch, then a replacement from 1A Auto is the part for you!