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Old 09-03-2010, 10:08 AM   #1
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Default Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

2005 Malibu Maxx.

I would shift the car to park, key would not come out. Would have wiggle the key excessively until it would click over further counter clockwise and then release. WD 40 into the cylinder did not help at all.

Also the button you squeeze to pull the shifter out of park was very sticky.

I found a TSB on the issue which required pulling out the center console and adjusting the park lock cable mechanism, which is cable that goes into the side of the ignition cylinder. It looked like a lot of work. Also, that turned out not to be the issue.

Instead I pulled out the little coin (pen?) tray directly infront of the shifter. This reveals the cable in question. The raw cable is exposed before going into the outer cable.

I could see that the cable was getting hung up and not releasing smoothly.

Put a little WD 40 where the cable/ wire goes into the outer cable. Now the key releases perfectly, and the release for the gear shifter is much better. I could also swear that my MPG's and horsepower increased, j/k!

I hope this helps anyone else with this infuriating problem.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

Now there's an unusual post! Problem AND solution in one!

Thanks for the input and hope you stick around.

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Old 09-03-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

Really useful information. I'd like to point out that WD-40 is good for the water displament application but is a poor substitite for a lube (I should know, I use it to dry out wet skate bearings in a pinch).
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

There used to be a Teflon(tm) spray that worked great for cables, but I don't know where to get any anymore (back in the 80's I used to buy it at the Black & Decker repair depot in town.)

Since I can't find that, I usually use a silicone spray (silicon? Not sure which variant). Latest purchase was a can from Liquid Wrench.

Don't like WD40 when used as a lubricant. Up until recently, they didn't even CLAIM it was a lubricant, but the cans now claim lubrication capabilities.

See, it's mostly the carrier that's lubricating - any long term is probably due to washing crud out of the way.

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Old 06-23-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

Thank you so much for your solution. This worked perfectly!!!

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Old 11-15-2014, 01:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stuck key/ sticky shifter release - solution!

I have an '09 Malibu and I had a similar issue. My solution was a bit different though. I had to take off the plastic bit that goes around the shifter, the first piece of plastic he removes here:

Then if you look to the drivers right of the shifter there is a cable tension adjust knob. I had to release (turn clockwise) this knob a few times. This lets the pin that release the shift button all the way out rise all the way to the top. This pin can be seen from the passenger side if you take off the side panel to this center dash area. I also sprayed everything around these mechanisms with WD40 (I didn't have silicon spray) to make sure nothing is getting hung up. This seems to have fixed this really annoying problem and didn't take long even with me needing to figure out my own problem.
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