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Happened to me 2-3 times each summer. I usually had to press really hard on the brake pedal and jimmy the lever for it to let me shift out of park.

I also noticed when I bought the car, I had to push on the brake pedal a good distance before the rear brake lights turn on (which is a pain when you want to tap the brake lights to signal to other people behind me).

It looks like the shift release and rear brake light use the same switch at two different stages ? (half released activates brake lights, full release activates shift release) There is a 13mm bolt near the brake pedal that can be turned to adjust the travel of the brake pedal. I adjusted mine all the way so that I don't have to press the pedal as far for it to release the switch.



Haven't had any problems for last 2 summers.

-Nik
 

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Once again... this time my AMB temp gauge read 106... THia time instead of jamming on the brake pedal a few times like last couple of times, I kept my foot on the brake and just moved the shifter side to side a few times rapidly not trying to bring it out of park until about the 6th time then she slide outta part... (shrugs shoulders) Wondering if that cable is expanding just enough to keep the locking mechanism up at the shifter just over center. I too will try to cool the solenoid with some cold spray, just have to remember to keep some handy...
 

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Las Vegas here, used to live in CT no problem. Now big problem, I think it is heat related, never an issue leaving my garage, but when I leave it out at a walmart parking lot. I just have to turn on the AC and cool the shift stick area down for 5 minutes and go, that is my best solution so far.
 

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So I've been having this 'stuck in park' problem few the past few years. I live in Texas and every summer when the temperature gets into the upper 90's, I start to have problems with the car stuck in park after it sits in my work parking lot all day. I'm giving this car to my son and I didn't want him to have to deal with the issue, so I finally fixed it. There's a lot of misinformation regarding this problem and here's what I did to find the problem on my 2004 Mazda 6i 2.3L.

To start, you'll have to remove the center console and expose the shift interlock cable and transmission shift cable. Removing the center console can be found elsewhere on this site. I left the center console removed for a few weeks so that I could test for this problem multiple times because it kept going away as the car cooled down.

Next time it won't shift out of park, test that the shift interlock cable is working properly by popping it off the shaft on the shifter. It's the cable that's closer to the passenger side and it's pretty easy to move it up and off the shaft that it's connected to. When you put your foot on the brake and the car is running, you should be able to pull on the cable and ensure that it's moving freely. If you take your foot off the brake, it should keep the cable from extending. If that works, the shift interlock mechanism is fine.

Next make sure the transmission is shifting correctly. When the shift interlock cable is removed from the shaft it slips onto, the transmission should be free to shift out of park, since there's no cable holding it back any more.

In my case both these things worked separately, but not when the shift interlock cable was connected to the shifter. The spring mechanism that pulls the shift interlock cable starts getting sluggish when it gets hot. I tested this by taking a blow dryer to the mechanism to act as a heat source like those 100 degree days. And I found it wouldn't pull the shift interlock cable after it got hot, but worked better as it cooled.

The fix was to replace the shifter and that turned out to be a relatively easy fix that cost less than $60.
 

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Thanks bignMazda. I have tried all the suggested remedies I could find to no avail. I did not test as thoroughly as you but came to the same conclusion that is was a malfunction with the shifter assembly. I have one ordered and am hoping it does the trick.
 

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So I've been having this 'stuck in park' problem few the past few years. I live in Texas and every summer when the temperature gets into the upper 90's, I start to have problems with the car stuck in park after it sits in my work parking lot all day. I'm giving this car to my son and I didn't want him to have to deal with the issue, so I finally fixed it. There's a lot of misinformation regarding this problem and here's what I did to find the problem on my 2004 Mazda 6i 2.3L.

To start, you'll have to remove the center console and expose the shift interlock cable and transmission shift cable. Removing the center console can be found elsewhere on this site. I left the center console removed for a few weeks so that I could test for this problem multiple times because it kept going away as the car cooled down.

Next time it won't shift out of park, test that the shift interlock cable is working properly by popping it off the shaft on the shifter. It's the cable that's closer to the passenger side and it's pretty easy to move it up and off the shaft that it's connected to. When you put your foot on the brake and the car is running, you should be able to pull on the cable and ensure that it's moving freely. If you take your foot off the brake, it should keep the cable from extending. If that works, the shift interlock mechanism is fine.

Next make sure the transmission is shifting correctly. When the shift interlock cable is removed from the shaft it slips onto, the transmission should be free to shift out of park, since there's no cable holding it back any more.

In my case both these things worked separately, but not when the shift interlock cable was connected to the shifter. The spring mechanism that pulls the shift interlock cable starts getting sluggish when it gets hot. I tested this by taking a blow dryer to the mechanism to act as a heat source like those 100 degree days. And I found it wouldn't pull the shift interlock cable after it got hot, but worked better as it cooled.

The fix was to replace the shifter and that turned out to be a relatively easy fix that cost less than $60.

Greetings, I am thrilled you went to the lengths you did to diagnose why the vehicle will not shift out of park; especially, the experiment with the hair dryer to check if heat was indeed the culprit. I am confused though, in the specific part you purchased to remedy the situation. You mention replacing the shifter. Does this mean you only bought the shift rod w/handle to fix the issue or do you mean you bought the assembly it rides in under the console or both? I would like to know the name of the part I need to replace, please. My daughter has a 2004 Mazda Wagon. She is pleased with her vehicle but never knowing when it might strand her somewhere unnerves her. We just picked it up from the mechanic, today, nothing repaired, as the car didn't cooperate by showing off. Would like to put this quirk behind us. Thanks for your time and patience.
 
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