How to Tow a Car Stuck in Park

Ever find yourself in a pickle with your car stuck in park? It’s not an uncommon scenario and can be quite a pain. Don’t fret, though! We’ve got a handy guide that’ll teach you how to safely tow a car stuck in park.

From understanding the mechanics, gathering necessary tools to common mistakes to avoid, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get that car moving, shall we?

Understanding the Mechanics of a Car Stuck in Park

Before we dive into towing, it’s crucial to understand why a car might get stuck in park in the first place. Cars usually have a safety mechanism known as the parking pawl which engages when the vehicle is put into park. This prevents the car from rolling away.

However, if the parking pawl or the transmission linkage that controls it breaks or malfunctions, the car may become stuck in park.

Additionally, if the brake light switch fails, it can also prevent the car from moving out of park. Understanding this is essential as it highlights the need for professional assistance in some cases.

Necessary Tools for Towing a Car Stuck in Park

You’ll need certain equipment to handle a vehicle that won’t shift out of its place. The first thing you need is a tow strap. This durable and heavy-duty strap will connect the stuck vehicle to the one doing the pulling.

Along with this, you will require a set of wheel chocks to prevent your car from moving unexpectedly. A pair of gloves will protect your hands during the process.

Additionally, a towing hitch for the rescue vehicle is crucial. It’ll provide a secure connection point for the tow strap. Also, consider having a winch that can help add pulling power if the car is heavily stuck.

Lastly, always carry a basic toolkit, which includes a jack, a lug wrench, and other essential tools for minor adjustments. With these tools, you can safely move a car stuck in park.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unsticking a Parked Car

First, ensure your car is on a flat surface to avoid any unwanted movement. Next, locate your car’s shift lock override slot, usually near the gear shifter. Insert a small screwdriver into the slot and press down. While doing this, try to shift the gear out of park.

Once successful, immediately apply the brake. You can now start the vehicle and it should be out of park. If the car remains stuck, it is time to call a professional to avoid damaging your car further.

Remember, safety is paramount. Always wear gloves and use tools properly to prevent injuries. Follow these steps with caution to smoothly get your car unstuck.

Safety Measures When Towing a Car Stuck in Park

It’s crucial to consider safety precautions when pulling a vehicle that won’t shift out of its spot. Ensure you have the correct towing equipment.

A tow dolly, tow bar, or a flatbed tow truck could be necessary, depending on the vehicle’s condition. Always check the vehicle’s weight and the towing capacity of your equipment.

Beyond that, make sure to engage the parking brake to prevent any undesired movement while setting up the tow. Use wheel chocks if available.

Always connect the towing straps or chains securely to the vehicle’s towing points. For visibility, attach a warning sign or flag on the towed vehicle. Lastly, remember that safety always comes first. Never rush the process and if you’re unsure, consider professional help.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Towing a Car Stuck in Park

Avoiding common mistakes during the extraction process can help you ensure no damage is done to the vehicle. One common error is failing to use the correct towing equipment.

Depending on the vehicle’s weight and size, different towing equipment may be needed. Another mistake is not properly securing the vehicle to the towing device. If the vehicle is not secured, it could become dislodged during transport, leading to significant damage.

A third common mistake is forgetting to disengage the parking brake. This mistake can cause severe damage to the car’s brake system. Lastly, not checking local laws regarding towing can result in fines or penalties. Always consult local regulations before towing a vehicle.

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What Are Some Potential Causes for a Car Getting Stuck in Park?

Potential causes for a car getting stuck in park include a malfunctioning brake light switch, a damaged parking pawl, or issues with the transmission shift interlock solenoid. Breakdown in shift lock control can also cause this.

Is It Possible to Tow a Car Stuck in Park Without Professional Help?

Yes, it’s possible to tow a car stuck in park without professional help. However, it’s strongly advised to seek professional assistance to avoid damaging the vehicle’s transmission or other key components.

What Potential Damages Can Occur to My Car if I Attempt to Tow It While It’s Stuck in Park?

Towing your car while it’s in park can cause significant damage. It may harm the transmission, differential, or drivetrain components. Unwanted friction can lead to expensive repairs. Always engage a professional for such tasks.

How Often Should I Get My Car’s Transmission System Checked to Prevent It From Getting Stuck in Park?

To maintain your vehicle’s health and prevent issues such as the transmission getting stuck in park, it is recommended to have your car’s transmission system checked at least once a year.

Can I Use the Same Procedure for Towing a Truck or SUV Stuck in Park as a Regular Car?

Yes, the procedure for towing a truck or SUV stuck in park is generally the same as a regular car. However, bear in mind that larger vehicles may require more powerful towing equipment.


In summary, towing a car stuck in park needs understanding, carefulness, and the right tools. It’s not a simple task and requires careful steps to avoid damaging the vehicle.

Always prioritize safety, avoid common mistakes, and if in doubt, seek professional help. Towing a car stuck in park can be done successfully with patience and the right knowledge

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