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Toyota RAV4 Shift Lock Release Guide
How to manually change the gear selector from "P" (Park) to "N" (Neutral) in a 2019 to 2023 Toyota RAV4.

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2019 RAV4 Gear Selector
Small Plastic Cover
Insert Screwdriver
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and the updated 2023 model year) Toyota RAV4 SUV in activating the shift lock mechanism in order to manually change the gear selector from "P" (Park) to "N" (Neutral). This may be necessary to move the vehicle or have it towed by a tow truck if the 12V car battery is weak or dead.

Owners of other Toyota and Lexus vehicles such as the Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Prius, Avalon, C-HR, GR86, Venza, Sienna, Sequoia, 4Runner, IS 250, IS 300, IS 350, ES 350, GS 350 and GX 460 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The only tool needed to access and engage the shift lock release mechanism is a small flat head screwdriver such as from a precision screwdriver set.

Before you begin, please be sure to engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the tires to help prevent the vehicle from moving unexpectedly.

Locate the small plastic access cap for the shift lock release mechanism situated in front of the gear selector closer to the passenger side of the vehicle.

Insert the blade of your small flat head screwdriver into the small notch on the left (driver) side of the access cover.


Pry Out Access Cover
Plastic Cap Removed
Underside of Cover
Very gently pry out the access cover.

Try to avoid using excessive force. The cap should pop out relatively easily.

Set the access cover aside in a safe place.

Shift Lock Release Button
Push Down Release Button
Change From P To N
Once the cover has been removed, you'll be able to see the white plastic shift lock release button.

Make sure you place your foot firmly on the brake pedal and have any other people move away from the vehicle just in case it moves unexpectedly.

Push down the shift lock release button and hold it down in place.

Then with your other hand, move the gear selector back from "P" (Park) to "N" (Neutral).

Have your assistants manually push the vehicle into position or load the SUV on to a tow truck.

Gear Selector Neutral
Shift Back To Park
Line Up Access Cover
When you are done moving the vehicle, place your foot firmly on the brake pedal and shift the transmission back into "P" (Park).

Line up the access cap with the opening.

2019-2023-Toyota-RAV4-Automatic-Transmission-Shift-Lock-Release-Guide-013 2019-2023-Toyota-RAV4-Automatic-Transmission-Shift-Lock-Release-Guide-014
Pop In Plastic Cover
Access Cover Replaced
Gently pop the access cover back into place.

(Note - If you find that you frequently can not move the gear selector out of "Park", you may need to replace the shift lock solenoid or the brake pedal switch.)

For more, please check out all of my 2019-2023 Toyota RAV4 DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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