Neutral Safety Switch Replacement Cost in 2024.

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What is a neutral safety switch and how does it work?

A neutral safety switch is a device that prevents your vehicle’s engine from starting unless the transmission is in Park or Neutral. The switch is a vehicle safety feature on all vehicles with both automatic and manual transmissions, although the device works a bit differently with each type.

If your engine was able to start with the transmission in gear, your vehicle would move suddenly and unintentionally, making for an extremely dangerous condition. Knowing this, vehicle makers include a neutral safety switch to prevent the engine from starting at all.

In the case of an automatic transmission, the neutral safety switch is usually mounted on the side of the transmission housing. The switch itself is connected to the starter solenoid, breaking the starter electrical circuit anytime the shift lever is out of position (out of Park or Neutral). With a manual transmission, the switch is commonly connected to the clutch pedal assembly. The engine will not start until the clutch pedal is depressed and the transmission is disengaged from the engine.


How is a a Neutral Safety Switch Replacement done?

The process that a technician will use to replace a neutral safety switch depends on whether your vehicle has an automatic or manual transmission. It also depends on the mounting location of the switch.

For a vehicle with a manual transmission, the technician will access the inside of your vehicle on the driver’s side. The switch is mounted on or near the clutch pedal assembly. A wire connector attached to the switch must be disconnected. The switch is detached from its mount and removed from the vehicle. A new switch is installed, and the wire is plugged back into the switch.

The process is a bit more complicated with an automatic transmission. First, the technician must safely lift and support your vehicle in the air for access to the transmission and switch. From there, the following general steps are taken:

  • Unplug the wiring connector from the switch
  • Unfasten the switch from the transmission housing and remove the switch
  • Insert the new switch and plug in the harness connector before lowering the vehicle The neutral safety switch on some vehicles is not located on the transmission at all. Rather, it is mounted to the shift lever mechanism inside the vehicle. When this is the case, either the steering column trim or the center console (depending on the type of shifter) must be removed or disassembled for access.

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National average cost of a a Neutral Safety Switch Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a neutral safety switch replacement?

When the neutral safety switch goes bad, a number of symptoms might occur. Some can be an indication of a different starting and charging problem, such as a bad battery, failing alternator, or other electrical issue. But, if you notice one or more of the following signs, your neutral safety switch could be the culprit:

Your engine will turn over and start when the shift lever is in Park, but not in Neutral

Your engine will turn over and start when the shift lever is in Neutral, but not in Park

Your engine will turn over and start when you turn the key while the shift lever is in any gear

Your engine will not turn over or start at all

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Other questions customers ask

What happens when a neutral safety switch fails?
When a neutral safety switch fails, it typically blocks electrical flow through the switch. This means that even if the vehicle is in "Park" or "Neutral" it still will not start, as power is not allowed to flow through the switch and to the starter circuit. In some cases, the switch might allow the circuit to close improperly and allow your engine to start when it should not.
Can you drive with a broken neutral safety switch?
The neutral safety switch typically does not affect driving operation, however it can certainly hinder getting your engine started. If the neutral safety switch is beginning to malfunction intermittently, it is only a matter of time before it fails completely. This means that the sooner you take the vehicle to a qualified professional for repairs, the less likely you'll be stranded with an engine that refuses to start.
Where is the neutral safety switch located?
The neutral safety switch can be located in one of several areas, depending on vehicle make, model, and type of transmission, whether automatic or manual. It may be mounted directly to the transmission, under the steering column, inside the center console, or underneath the dashboard attached to the clutch pedal assembly.

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