Why Your Chevy Cruze Won’t Shift to Park? (Solved)

In this article, I will cover all the problems a shift lever could have and its possible solutions.

So, every other person will be able to solve it with a bit of effort. Because otherwise, your car battery will go to heaven. 

Both automatic and manual Chevy Cruzes have electrical and mechanical components involved with the shifter mechanism. If one or two components are not working, the car won’t shift properly, i.e., it won’t be able to shift to “park” or in other gears. 

Let’s see what these problems are and how we can solve them

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Chevy Cruze Won’t Shift to Park — if It Is Automatic 

If you can’t shift to park, try the following steps. 

  • Keep turning the wheel. 
  • Press the brake 10-15 times.
  • Press and hold the brake for a few minutes.
  • Make sure the cay key is not flipped off.
  • Keep pressing and releasing the small button on the sifter.

It should get to park; if not, follow the next procedure.   

If Chevy Cruze Shows the Sign “Shift to Park”

The shifter mechanism has this tiny metal strip that would trigger the car into park. If this metal strip is worn out, you won’t be able to shift it to park since the ECU does not get the proper input. 

Most dealerships would resort to the complete replacement of the shifter assembly. However, you can improvise and fiddle around with the metal strip and make it stick to the top a little more. 

For this improvised procedure, you would have to remove the top covering of the shifter assembly. 

  • Put the shifter in drive mode.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Take two sided screwdriver or a prying tool and open the cover when the shifter is in drive mode.

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  • Twitter the shifter back and forth and then pull it out 
  • Remove the rest of the cover with the prying tool or two-sided screwdriver. 
  • Remove the clips that are attached to the trim. 
  • Now there would be a small cover on the side of the shifter’s lower end — remove that cover. 
  • When you press the shifter button on top, the bottom should move up and down while displacing a small metal strip (micro switch). This switch is your culprit. 

The switch can get deformed after some time. You can flatten the bent/deformed metal strip, and the problem should go away. 

  • You can put a tiny rubber hose on the end of the shifter pin, which will give an extra push to that micro switch, ensuring that it triggers the toggle switch on its furthest movement. 

If you want to replace the whole shifter assembly, you would have to take the whole center console out. The detailed video is linked at the end of this article. 

2011-2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Free Play in Shift and Not Sticking at One Place — if It Is Automatic

  • Open the car bonnet. 
  • Look at the shifter linkage in the engine. 
  • If it’s noticeable that rubber is missing at the left side of the shifter, you have found your culprit.
  • Get the rubber — it will probably be $5–$10.
  • Put the rubber on it, and you are good to go. 

Free Play in Shift and The Gear Is Not Working Properly — if It Is Manual 

In Manual, two types of mechanisms are involved; one is for vertical and horizontal movement — moves the lever, and the other pushes and pulls the cable.

Chevy Cruze gear wire/cable could be why your gear lever is acting up, so you should go to your mechanic and change it as soon as possible.

A blocked shifter is also a common problem — which is the reason the gear won’t shift into the proper gear.  

Chevy Cruze, Transmission Hard Shifts and Slipping Failure

The most common reasons are:

Transmission Fluid

Because in the chevy Cruze the transmission oil gets extremely dirty after just 35,000-37,000 miles.

Solenoid Body with The TCM (Transmission Control Module)

It has seven solenoids, which get dirty and sticky after some time. Moreover, they are not so much expensive. So, it’s recommended to have them replaced.

Valve Body of The Transmission

It is one of the most important parts of the automatic transmission. If its piston is not getting enough oil and it’s getting worn out, then you will experience hard shifting.

A Worn-Out or Smoked Clutch

I hope that shouldn’t be the case; otherwise, if it is, the whole transmission needs to be changed.

Worn-Out Ignition Cylinder

The Worn-out ignition cylinder found in many cars where the key is used to start the car — gives power to the engine and requires replacement after some time. 

Transmission Cables

If it’s broken or damaged, it leads to hard shifting, make it harder to turn the engine off, and shifts failure like you put your car in reverse mode, but it stays in drive.

Damaged Shifter

The Chevy Cruze won’t shift to park if anything is loose. The gear light might also not work, and it would feel like the shifter is not in any gear even when putting it into one.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Do Cruze Transmissions Last?

The Cruze transmission can last 150,000-200,000 miles, depending on the maintenance. If you have carried out all the maintenance checks in time, your transmission can even see a million miles, and of course, driving habits play a vital role as well.

Your transmission can last way less if you constantly floor it at every green light and ignore regular maintenance. 

Is It Better to Replace or Rebuild Cruze Transmissions?  

Repairing the transmission is much better than changing the whole transmission because it could cost you a lot of money, around 3,000$-7,000$, depending on your car’s model.

However, if the repair job hasn’t been carried out properly, you will be dealing with another transmission failure, and all that money spent on rebuilding will go to waste.    

What Are the Most Common Problems with Chevy Cruze?

There are three common problems in Chevy Cruze

  • Engine problems, i.e., Misfires.
  • Coolant leaks.
  • Power staring issues.


Even if the diver is skillful, the car can only work properly if its maintenance is done in time.

Transmission failure makes the car drive harder, which further damages related components. 

So make sure to get your car in shape before it leads to a total failure of your transmission.

If you get a message to shift to park, don’t leave it there as it would drain the 12V battery of your Chevy Cruze, and it won’t start later. 

Make sure to follow the steps mentioned here to avoid more problems that will occur later on.

Related: 6 Reasons Why the Fan Keeps Running on A Chevy Cruze