On my '98 Malibu, the safety button (what you have to press to get out of park in conjunction with the break) on the gear shifter sticks. It it sticking so bad that it sometimes takes me minutes of trying to break it free. In summer, it is hard to press, but I usually don't have problems. In winter, it sticks and takes many tries of squeezing as hard as I can to break it free. The problem is the worst in the morning and isn't usually very bad during the day. My guess is that it either needs some lubrication or there is a bit of liquid in there. Any thoughts on how to improve this? It is getting pretty bad and extremely annoying when in a rush to get to work in the morning.

I park in an unheated shed and I live in MN.

  • 1
    Have you tried spraying some WD-40 between the button and shifter assembly? There should be a little space where you can stuff the red straw that comes with a WD-40 bottle. Spray it and just work the switch to see if you can free it.
    – cinelli
    Mar 22, 2013 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


try a squirt of penetrine.As with all components wear and tear could be an issue.Putting a car in park on a hill before applying h/brake usually involves a lot of force to get out of park which can cause damage

  • I have since sold the car. So I couldn't tell you if that worked or not. Thanks for the answer though.
    – Mike Wills
    Apr 9, 2014 at 13:49

A repair facility removed the upper piece of the shift. Now I have no problems. It shifts good no ignition problems. It may not be pretty but it works

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