ALERT: 2017 Chevrolet Volt Shift-To-Park Defect

If you own a 2017 Chevy Volt you are no-doubt pleased with your car.   In fact, it really is a great car and one of the better values in the automotive world.  General Motors customer service is, on the other hand, no 2017 Volt.   It has been aware for quite a while about a defect in its car but it has yet to issue a recall for the problem.   The problem is generally referred to as a “Shift to Park” issue.   After you power off your car, you’ll get an alert on your dashboard that looks like this:

 

 

The car will effectively not turn off.   You’ll be unable to lock the car and the lights will stay on for a few minutes.   Worse yet, it is intermittent although it generally gets worse over time.  For some drivers, jiggling the shift handle just the right way could get it to recognize the car was indeed in park.  Others report that if can squeeze the shifter button and release it a few times and it will trigger.   And you might try just turning the car on and off  (depressing the power button) until the message goes away.   One enterprising YouTuber showed a fix that involved moving the shifter to low and back to Park.

This “shift to park” seems like a signature issue of the Generation 2 Volt models, like the bad bearing cage or the hung bluetooth connection were for some Gen 1’s.  If GM has issued a technical service bulletin on it, it has kept it off the Internet because we’ve not been able to find it.  Moreover, despite the fact that there are a number of shift-to-park complaints filed with the NHTSA,  the agency has not compelled GM to issue a recall. Apparently the fix for this problem is to replace the shifter assembly.  However, the defect may well be in the shifter assembly itself.

Some Volt owners report that there are two service bulletins out for this issue. One requires the drive motor unit (transmission) to be replaced and the other is just a software update for the power inverter module. The technician will know which one is the issue depending on the DTCs set if any. Ultimately, if you are experiencing the problem, you must bring the car to a Chevy dealer and tell them that you have a “shift-to-park” issue.  In most cases, the part will need to be ordered, so it may take a week or so before they can replace the shifter.  You might want to call in advance to see if they have the part in stock.

While GM has kept this defect on the hush-hush, the service techs pretty much know what to do.   If you have about 10 minutes or so, you might want to submit a complaint with the NHTSA so that this federal watchdog agency might force GM to recall the 2nd Gen Volts.

 

12 replies
  1. Jon J.
    Jon J. says:

    2018 Chevy Volt “Shift to Park” error message.
    After numerous messages to “Shift To Park” I kept clicking the shift knob and moving the shifter back and forth
    To correct the issue. This when on for a few months, off and on until it just won’t shut off the car any longer.
    There is no way to shut the car off without pushing the little micro switch button in the shift console. So
    I popped the shifter boot up with a small screwdriver took the knob off and lifted the console off.
    There is a small plastic pin on the shifter that engages the micro switch lever which pushes the micro switch button and in turn tells the car you’re in Park.
    This Micro switch is normally the problem but GM is replacing the entire shifter mechanism which comes with the new micro switch.
    When I got to the switch I noticed that the lever was completely missing and fell off so I pulled the switch out and ran it under the shifter boot
    So I could push it manually which didn’t always work due to the switch being defective. Sometimes I had to touch the two terminals
    With a small screwdriver to make the connection which would shut the Shift To Park off. I only did this for a few days until I got a new switch from
    Digi-Key which took a couple of days to arrive and they were only $3-$4 each. They were out of the normal P/N switch used so I ordered three different ones just to make sure I had one that would work and matched correctly. It needs to have a longer lever on the switch body to engage the pin on the shifter. MFG P/N # D2HW-BL221H everything is the same other than the lever is mounted on the outside of the body and not in the end of the switch. Works just fine if you’re ok with doing a little soldering. There is a small plastic cover over the switch so be careful removing it, mine shot off someplace in the console. No issues for the last few months.

    Reply
  2. James Wendte
    James Wendte says:

    My car stopped on me, getting on the freeway to go to a job. I got a shift to park error. I was able to get it going and back home. Kind of scary.

    Reply
  3. Mac5u
    Mac5u says:

    I had the problem with my 2017 Volt in 2020. I took it in and the dealer repaired at no cost. The Chevy-Volt GM forum said this =may or not not work but it held for about a year. Problem resurfaced about a week ago and it is worse this time. None of the tricks I used before will work. Now, I let the car just run for a few minutes and it finally turns off. Back to the dealer for me.

    Reply
  4. Jesp
    Jesp says:

    Have this same issue on my 2017 Volt for about a year now. Getting worse. Finally took it in today and dealership is fixing it. They say it is being covered by warranty. You may not have to try and fix this yourself.

    Reply
  5. Paul H Martinez
    Paul H Martinez says:

    I have the same problem with a 2017. Complaint registered with NTHSA and Chevy.I attempt to fix it myself.I won’t go to a dealer because of the expense.This is wrong. The part is obviously defective. Don’t count on GM to do the right thing. They don’t see as a safety concern. If nobody dies, it’s not a problem.

    Reply
  6. Tim
    Tim says:

    Hey same issue here in SC. I’m at 46k miles and this started intermittently and appears to be getting worse. I’m taking my car in next week.

    Thanks for the tip / trick, it worked this time out.

    One update I was able to lock the doors with the car on, just cant be away from it for too long. Mine is a 2018 Volt.

    Reply
  7. REGEN2
    REGEN2 says:

    WAIT !!! Don’t spend $400 at the dealer, Fix it yourself. Its not the switch, the switch can take over 1 million cycles. Its the central main shaft is not making it home in the park position due to lack of lubrication only. Only remove the boot and shift knob and use petroleum jelly to lubricate the shaft top and shaft inner sides.Lube internal mechanism in the shift knob. Put it back together and actuate it a couple times and your all set. Also when in park just before you turn off snap the button on the front of the knob to make actuator shaft make it home to hit the park switch. My 2017 is just like ne again. Good luck

    Reply

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