2007 Mercury Milan

At first the key was stuck in the ignition. Now it wont shift out of park.

Are these 2 issues related?

Will installing a new shifter kit fix both issues?


The two could be related. In the US, the key can't be removed from the ignition unless the car is in Park as a safety requirement and most cars won't let you take it out of park until the key is inserted and turned.

This is normally accomplished with a few switches and actuators in the ignition cylinder and the shift mechanism. This could be as simple as a bad wiring connection, but it could also be a broken switch in the ignition or a broken actuator in the shift mechanism. Another possibility is that the actuator is in a bind. You might try wiggling the shift lever or pressing the button on the shift knob while turning the car key on and off to see if you can jostle it loose.

If you can partially disassemble the shifter or get access to the electrical connector you should be able to check for the proper voltage signals when the key is in the ignition. This will require some basic mechanical knowledge and possibly a wiring diagram.


Yes, there is an interlock between the ignition and the shifter, as well as an interlock between the shifter and the brake pedal. Something could have gotten messed up somewhere. There is a procedure to move the shifter, if stepping on the brake and the key system don't allow it. Check your owners guide. Generally there is a small removable plastic cover near the shift lever on the floor. Normally that is used to aid in getting the car moved for repair as necessary (its not use daily type of procedure.)

I would NOT think installing a new shifter kit will fix this. Much better off to find the specific root cause for the defect and fix that. I'm thinking the interlock is based on electrical signals. Perhaps you've got a frayed wire, bad sensor or small bits of metal or other contamination in the wrong place.

If it were me, I'd pick up the Chilton or Haynes $30 manual, start the troubleshooting procedure there, check ALL the connections between brake, ignition and shifter system to ensure everything is working as intended.

What was the cause of the key getting stuck? Sometimes if you park on a slight hill, with the wheels at an angle, there is a pressure from the car on the steering wheel that creates a lockup condition when you go to remove the key. The fix is to gently turn the wheel in both directions when trying to insert and turn (or remove) the key. What caused the key to get stuck and what did you do to fix that?

Do note, that the brake pedal may have one or two switches on it. The brake lights, cruise control and shifter interlock systems all need to know if the brake pedal is pushed in. I'm not positive about your car (I think it only has one switch) but Ford has used both one and two switch designs in the past. I've seen intermittent Ford brake switches. They are doggone difficult to troubleshoot. The good news is they are pretty inexpensive parts to replace.

  • really nice answer, good info. +1 – DucatiKiller Apr 21 '16 at 20:59

On the shifter, there is the button you push in to put it in gear. Around that button is an outer ring. You can pull that partially out or all the way out. That could fix the issue with key getting stuck. That outer ring has extended tabs which are used to activate the sensor which tells the ignition the car is in park. Therefore it is safe to pull the key out of the switch. If that doesn't work, I found disconnecting the battery did.


I replaced the shifter assembly and that fixed both issues.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.