Any vehicle with automatic transmission has a neutral safety switch. It is an electronic component that stops the starter from working while the car is still in gear. The neutral safety switch is the reason why you can only start your car once you place the gear in ‘Park’. Essentially, it keeps the engine from starting accidentally. It goes without saying that it is essential for you to test the switch and ensure that it is not showing any signs of problems.
When there is something wrong with your neutral safety switch, you will notice the following things
- If your car starting in other gears apart from Park or Neutral.
- If your car’s backlights not coming on when you are in reverse mode.
- When the gear selection on the dashboard not corresponding with the shift lever selection.
- The car starting in Neutral only.
- The car not starting at all.
When you see these signs, you must perform a series of tests and perform a neutral safety switch bypass, if necessary. The worst-case scenario is replacing the component. You may have to test your neutral safety switch with a test light, a small jumper wire, or a digital multimeter (DMM). Make sure you follow the steps carefully to ensure that your car’s neutral safety switch remains intact.
Locate the Neutral Safety Switch
If you do not know where it is, your best bet is to consult your service manual. It is worth noting that its position varies depending on the vehicle model. Typically, it is located by the shift mechanism. If you have a column switch car, you should look near the gear shifter. It should be threaded onto the side of the transmission.
Check the Wiring
Now, the next step you need to do is check the wiring. It has wires that connect it to the starter solenoid. When your car’s transmission is in gear, the switch will remain ‘open’. Once you move the ignition switch to the Start position, the current will flow to the starter.
Just make sure that the transmission is still in Park or Neutral. Also, remember to consult your service manual to get information about the wiring layout of your vehicle. After that, disconnect the switch from the wiring connector.
Test the Neutral Safety Switch for Power
Arrange the gear in Reverse position, then put the key in the ignition switch. Do not turn the engine on yet. You need to check whether the wiring harness has any power. To do this, you must use a 12-volt test light. You will know that there is power when the test light shows an illuminated bulb. This will also tell you that the circuit is functioning properly.
Now, you need to connect the wiring connector back to the neutral switch. If you do not see the test light illuminating, you must test all the wires to see if there are damaged or loose connections. If you still do not get any power, then it is time to change your neutral safety switch.
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