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Automatic transmission "lever" broke off ('03 Ford Explorer).. Help? Answered

Okay, so here's the rundown. I drive an old '03 Ford Explorer. Seeing as I'm 16 and yet live in the humble abode of my parents, I get the chance to share a driveway (and oh what an experience!). One day, I park behind my mother's vehicle, and she needed to get out. I was out with a friend at the time, so she decides to attempt to move it herself -- without the keys. She attempts to jam the car into neutral to roll it out, and lo and behold, the lever for the transmission breaks! I'm in absence of the ability to tow, nor have I had time to call a local mechanic for an estimate. Albeit it's an older car, but I'd love to have it repaired. The lever itself is hanging from a couple cords, and I do have a spare wheel that I can have installed, so I decided to come here with my question. Does anybody have a clue on what I should do, and if possible, a bottom-line price that they could shoot over? Anything will help.. Thanks! (Images will be added VERY soon.)


automatic transmissions have a shift lock button, you can mash it or pull the tab and it will cause the shifter to move in absence of key.


4 years ago

Since there are no pictures yet, I'm going to assume that it is the shift lever bracket inside the steering column that is actually broken letting the lever fall loose. It doesn't require a lot of technical skills and knowledge to repair, but man, it is tedious work in a very tight space. Its a little like building a ship in a bottle while standing on your head and a cat clawing your butt.
You'll need a good pair of snap ring pliers, a flashlight and a small mirror, along with a few standard tools. The repair method varies some, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, so you will need to read a good repair manual for the specifics beforehand.
A good repairman can do the job in about an hour, but they'll probably charge you for three hours labor plus a 150% to 200% mark up on the price of the new bracket.
If you do it yourself, the new part will probably run from $50 to $100 U.S.

I would say to your mom you break you fix and watch how fast she kicks your but out the door.

Now for the useless hind sight, leave spare keys at home.

Sounds like the mounting bracket what did she use a sledgehammer; remind me not to mess with your mom.

What all is broken, if it is just the bracket maybe $150 to have a mechanic fix it but add interior panels and you could be looking at $500 to $600 if you go to the auto recyclers it could be as little as $50.

A Pic of the damage would be a help.


Yes we need a picture.
It is probably not hard to fix, but a lot might be interconnected. If you need to move it you can probably do so by disconnecting the linkage and moving the shift lever on the transmission.
Parts from the junk yard is the way to go. An 2003 is pretty new but old enough that parts should be available.
Amazing what adrenaline can do. Good thing the door wasn't locked.
My kids and I always have spare keys to each others vehicles. When we take trips together we pass out spares to the riders so if the driver locks themselves out there are other keys available.

They don’t call them junk yards now they are called auto recyclers.

And I am still not going to mess with his mom.

I always had a spare in the house, my wife had a key and she doesn’t drive, and a hide a key on the truck, all were used at one time or another.