this seems to be a growing concern to "smarties", this mysterious shifter failure that disables the vehicle. i have had my smart for over 5 months without any problems (knock on plastic!) i am curious when your smart was made that has this failure.
it seems that penski/mercedes/smart should issue a "recall" to fix this problem, rather than wait until we are found on the road or in a parking lot DEAD! i have heard this occurring as early as 350km (canada). i have logged over 3800 miles with no problems, but i have no second vehicle and i'd rather have smart fix it now before it fails and i'm stranded god knows where.
actually, my failures were with the temperature at -4F, the brake pedal easily "floored" and the brake warning light came on. i'm going to my smart center next tuesday. it appears that this is a temperature issue. the first failure cleared itself, it took 12 hours for the tow truck driver to arrive, the temp warmed up 8 degrees and the driver drove the car onto the tow truck.
the funny part is the dealership said the shifter mechanism was broken and replaced it twice. i've had my smart over a year, and the only time this happened was when the temperature was well below 0F. i talked to dave schembri and some smart tech and they say it's the brake circuit, for i could operate the shifter button.
it is not an "operator error", if the operator depresses the brake pedal and the shifter will not move, it is a car error.
Hi, I've been "busy" avoiding floods in the wet season, so haven't been driving far this year.
Interconnect with the brake sensors and temperature sensitivity I can sort of understand. The USA gear shifter is peculiar to North America... the rest of us don't get it. Yet may be similar to ours...
What happens with ours is the "immobilser" is activated by putting the shift into R before turning off and removing the key. Get back into the car and put in the key in and the car will not start until the shift in is N. The lever will not shift into N until the brake pedal is pressed and held in. The ignition must be turned on, brake pressed in, before the lever will shift... it stays locked in R otherwise. Once in N the engine can be started. It's all a bit devious and not only is the car immobiised, it would need a novice (aka teenager in the house) to be shown the procedure before they could use the car... I'm wondering how many new owners have been confused by this and thought the car had broken.
The dependency upon the brake being depressed is the part that I can understand being temperature dependent. The sensor is probably the same used for applied force on the disc or drum brakes that the ESP hooks into. If frozen, the sensors may be "slow" to respond and the shifter stays locked up.... silly question but: if it happens again: will heavily applying the foot brake and releasing it a few times clear the problem??
(I'm wondering if an MHD demonstrator is at the local dealers... that will be a bit weird to get used to.)
No it's not the shifter problem as the smart in universal say's it's the clutch assembly that had use deferent lubricant they change this to a deferent type made by MBZ but they are there anyways they just replace the clutch assembly.
Yeah, I wondered when it would happen to me, then it did. Sometimes I'd have to rock the car to get it to go into park so I could get my key out. Even left the key in one night. Got progressively worse. I assumed it was lack of lubrication in the linkage. Made an appointment at the dealer. Didn't really want to drive down so I grabbed the silicone spray and shot some lubricant in the space around the finger trigger on the gearshift. When I worked the trigger a little, it started going down farther than I remembered and the "problem" went entirely away, never to return. Ha, ha. Silly me. Gonna have to start eating those jelly donuts with my left hand!
I have a 451 that has 27000 miles on it, it was delivered on 08/14/09. I'm wondering if most of the lock up are on cars where people do not use the parking brake? I've noticed that if the car moves at all after being put in park it can be very difficult to get it out of park, but it will come out easily if you rock the car a little back and forth with your foot (fred flintstone style!) I always use my parking brake as my previous 2 cars were manual transmission cars. I usually put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, and then put it in park. Also, don't release the parking brake until you are out of park. (that way it won't move on you before you get it out of park)
Also, try to be careful not to try to select reverse from drive while the car is moving, this is because the brake interlock that's been mentioned in other posts also prevents you from selecting reverse until the car has almost completely stopped moving. (B.T.W. you may have noticed, a subtle clicking or 'thunking" noise coming from the shifter when you slow the car, I think that's the "interlock" doing it's thing - listen or feel for it with the radio off, it's pretty noticable). remember to get in the habit of using the parking brake - (this advise is only for the US and Canada model 451's the the PRND shifters)
has anyone had this problem with the 2009 model??? or is this mainly an issue with 2008s?? sorry if this was answered already, i didn't really have to time to read through 8 pages of answers :) thanks!
i'm not sure, i had the shifter replaced twice in a month, then after talking to dave schembri and a top smart tech, they said it was the brake switch, seeing that i could depress the trigger/switch, this only happened below 0F. i'm hoping it's now fixed. i got my tranny upgraded to the 2.0 program 2 days ago, the car isn't trying to break free from being stopped. you might have noticed this if you test drove a 2008 before taking delivery of your 2009.
I conduct a car reliability survey in which many smart owners have been participating, and shifter problems are definitely the most commonly reported problems for the car. All repairs reported can be found here:
I just got a notice from Wipers123.com where I got my blades that there's a choice of two rebates right now $10 & $15 so you can get a pair of the new-style, frameless beam blades for under $20 for the pair after rebate. Its pretty close to a buy one get one deal. Basically an FYI
Kraig, i'm not sure about your problem, if you can depress the shifter button and the car refuses to get out of P, i would have a person look to see if your brake lights go on when you depress the brake pedal. it was below 0F the 2 times i had this failure, early in the morning, so i had noone around to see if the brake lights were coming on.
hopefully that was "the fix", i've gone 14 months trouble-free after they replaced the brake light switch now. my warranty ended 3 months ago, next year i may purchase an aftermarket warranty, outside of the brake/tranny problem, my smart has been trouble-free for 20K miles and 27 months.
if the smart had regular manual trans (i would have bought a smart with a clutch pedal, i've been driving manual cars since '79) i think the smart has so many circuits and sensors and computers that can go wrong, for the silliest reasons, my first car was a '65 beetle, that would run as long as all the wires were connected and gas was flowing to the carb, and the coil didn't fall out onto the road! (the ignition coil was loose and fell onto the road one time, and got squished!)
dave schembri was a help, i was bitching on smartusainsider.com, the official smart site, and dave was pres of smart USA then, he contacted me directly and got me fixed. some lady is in charge now, i suggest you join www.smartusainsider.com and contact "janet" i think, she took david's place. smart usa is responsive, once you knock on the right doors, or shake the right trees... 800 smart will only do you good if you're stranded under warranty somewhere.
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