How To Free Honda Civic’s Automatic Gear If You Get Stuck In ‘D’ Somehow

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Today while sitting in the PakWheels office, I heard my colleagues talking about Honda Civic’s automatic transmission, which died on an acquaintance because of dead battery in the middle of the road. The car was in D. And they were saying that it is not possible to remove that car from D to N unless the engine is running. This intrigued me to dig a little about the issue and on inquiring, they said new Civic doesn’t have any way to put the car in neutral so you can move it. I just couldn’t believe it.

A shift lock is a safety feature; it could be a button or a small slot where you put your car key to free the gear so you can put it in N or another gear. How is it possible that a car, specially a new one, doesn’t have something like this? What if your engine dies due to some unforeseen reason on a main busy road? Are you just gonna sit there in the middle of the road with your dead car or try to move it to safety?

I have no experience of new Civic or Corolla so I had to ask a couple of friends who either have them or know a thing or two about them. I called a close friend who owns the new Civic and asked him the same. He said Civic does have a shift lock. It’s a tiny window like slot and is covered with the same dashboard colored tiny plastic flap. You pry the flap open and insert your car key inside the slot to free the gear lever.

And this is a totally manual procedure, so regardless of your ignition works or not, this is a fail-safe just for that very reason. Also, do not try to toe your car if its dead and engaged in D. I will burn the transmission.

I am pretty sure many of you already know about it, but there are many who don’t, and something like this is very important to know in case of an emergency. So if you didn’t know about it before and you have one of these new auto cars, you should locate them and try them beforehand, instead of not knowing during an emergency.

Honda Civic 8th Generation:


Honda Civic 9th Generation:

new civic shift lock slot




Google App Store App Store
  1. Samir says

    Both 8th Generation and 9th Generation civics have shift lock buttons behind their gears, meaning the black knob. Its a big button and I’m surprised the person who was having a conversation drove the civic and doesn’t know it exists. A picture with an example of a 9th generation civic is attached as I can’t find a picture for the 8th generation civic on the web.

  2. Aqeel Zia says

    it works with break light man! when the break switch is not working you cannot get out of the P position. i had experienced it myself.

  3. Umar says

    Shift Lock button wont work when battery is dead or u lost the key or need to tow car due to any other unexpected situations.

  4. Samir says

    Worked perfectly well for me when the battery of my honda 8th generation was dead and needed to put it into N for the tow truck to pull it up the ramp. You do however need the brake pedal depressed for the shift lock to work and for some reason if the brakes fail or aren’t working or the pedal is broken, then the key insert method can be used. So the shift lock release is a fail safe.

    However, the article above mentions about the shift lock RELEASE (where the key in entered) and not the shift lock itself which is the button behind the gear.

  5. Samir says

    Shift lock RELEASE info from the honda user manual.

  6. Hasan says

    How to put the key as key would be stuck in ignition as its in D mode. Unless its at P the key doesnt come out.

  7. Muhammad Usman says

    have a duplicate one :p

  8. Zubair Ahmed Khan says

    That’s great info, i was myself wondering why wouldn’t there be a manual override shift lock… thanks for the info…

  9. Chaudhary Bilal says

    What about vitz?

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