A neutral safety switch is a safety component built into automatic transmission vehicles. It prevents your car from starting when in gear.
Can I Bypass Neutral Safety Switch?
You can bypass the neutral safety switch but it is unsafe if it is for too long since it prevents your vehicle from being started any other way without pressing the clutch. As a result, it forces the vehicle to lurch forward once you turn on the ignition and the car is left in gear.
Therefore, I recommend you do this temporarily for testing purposes only.
Reasons to Bypass the Neutral Safety Switch
Like most vehicle components, neutral safety switches age over time and fail. Since the neutral safety switch is located in your vehicle’s transmission case, it is exposed to elements including moisture, heat, dirt, and corrosion.
One of the efficient ways to prevent your neutral safety switch from deteriorating is by cleaning the undercarriage. However, regardless of how much you clean the switch, it will still deteriorate.
The following are some common reasons why drivers choose to bypass the neutral safety switch:
The service engine light comes on.
Once your neutral safety switch weakens, the service engine light will appear on your dashboard. This light is solid and will stay on until the switch is fixed or replaced.
However, if the engine light is flashing, it may indicate a more serious underlying problem. Therefore, ensure that you take your car to a professional mechanic for inspection and repairs.
Your car starts in any gear.
The primary purpose of neutral safety is to prevent your vehicle from starting over in gear. When your neutral safety switch is in excellent working condition, the car should only move when in neutral or park.
If your vehicle’s engine can crank in any gear, this is a clear indication that the neutral safety switch is inefficient, and you should consider bypassing it until you find a replacement.
Your vehicle is struggling to change gears.
If the neutral safety switch is deteriorating, you may struggle to change gears. Sometimes your vehicle may even slip gears.
One of the best solutions to this problem is to bypass the neutral safety switch until you replace it with a new one. It is also important to have the vehicle’s transmission inspected for any damaged gears.
Your vehicle won’t start when in neutral.
If your vehicle starts when in a park and not in neutral, it indicates a faulty neutral safety switch. As mentioned earlier, your vehicle is supposed to start on both neutral and park. Therefore, if this is not happening, it is due to a bad component within the neutral safety switch.
This may also happen due to an electric failure or a loose switch end. Consider bypassing the neutral switch until a professional mechanic inspects your vehicle and fixes the problem.
Your vehicle won’t start when in the park.
Sometimes you may discover that your vehicle is starting when in neutral and not in park. It is a sign of a failing neutral safety switch or a battery problem. Additionally, broken starters and other issues could also cause the problem. You can temporarily fix this issue by bypassing the neutral safety switch.
How to Bypass the Neutral Safety Switch?
You can bypass the neutral safety switch by connecting the plain purple wire with the purple wire with a white stripe on it.
Follow these steps to bypass a damaged or failing neutral safety switch:
Jack up the vehicle
Before bypassing the neutral safety switch, ensure that your vehicle is parked on level ground. Put the vehicle in neutral before you jack it up.
And ensure that you place the jack stands under the front. This way, it will be easy to crawl from underneath the vehicle when you’re done.
Locate the switch
Even after driving for years, many drivers do not know where the neutral safety switch is located. Review the service manual if you’re not sure about your vehicle’s neutral safety switch location.
For some vehicles, the switch is located in the transmission housing, and others have it in the shifter linkage, while others are located on the side of the transmission.
Disconnect the battery
Once you’ve located the neutral safety switch, it’s time to disconnect the battery. Locate the positive and negative terminal and then unbolt the battery using the appropriate wrenches. You need to remove the hold-down clamp before lifting the battery. Ensure you have a socket wrench for this task.
Remove the driveshaft
Start by removing the dust boot using a pair of pliers. Proceed to loosen the bolts surrounding the yoke’s fork driveshaft. You should use a socket wrench to loosen the bolts and remove the u-joint strap. Once you are done, you will now have enough room to remove the driveshaft.
Remove the failing neutral safety switch.
The neutral safety switch should be visible once you’ve removed the driveshaft. Proceed to unplug the connectors from the switch. You will be left with a cable that you have to remove using a pair of pliers.
After successfully removing the cable, use a pair of grips, a clamp, and a ratchet to remove the retaining nut and the arm connecting to the selector shaft. Next, remove all the bolts securing the neutral safety switch and plate. You can now proceed to pull out the failing neutral safety switch.
Install the new neutral safety switch
Before installing the new safety switch, you need to clean the selector shaft. After, you can install the new switch in place and tighten it using bolts.
After tightening down the new switch, install the selector level by connecting the cable eyelet and then putting the electrical connectors back in place.
Once that is done, it’s time to reinstall the driveshaft, the strap, and the bolts. Ensure that the driveshaft is fully rotated so that you can have enough room to install all the remaining bolts. Then, you can put the clamp back in place.
After installing the new neutral safety switch, you need to replace all the necessary wires and bolts and then proceed to test the switch.
The best way to tell if the installation was successful is if your vehicle starts only when in the park.
If your car starts in any other gear, that is a sign of an anomaly in the functions of the new neutral safety switch. You may have to undo the wiring to identify where the problem is coming from and fix it.
While saving a few bucks on this process is good, you can hire an experienced mechanic to conduct this process. The mechanic can do it faster and get it right the first time.
Is Neutral Safety Switch Bypass the Same in All Other Brands Of Vehicle?
Bypassing the neutral safety switch is the same on vehicle models. The only difference is the location of the switch and how it is fastened.
How Much Does It Cost to Bypass The Neutral Safety Switch?
In most cases, expect to pay about $150. That is $50 for the switch and $100 for labor.
However, the cost of bypassing the neutral safety switch depends on your location and the professional mechanic you hire for the job.
Can I Drive Without a Neutral Safety Switch?
You can drive without a neutral safety switch, but it is not advisable since it may result in an accident. Below are some of the things that may happen if you drive without a neutral safety switch:
- The gears may slip, making it dangerous to continue driving.
- You will damage the engine.
- The vehicle may not start.