This morning, my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee <5.2L> (left out over night in 15 degrees F / -10C) could not get out of park. The button on the left side of the transmission selector would not press in.

I started the engine and warmed up the inside for 15 minutes or so with the heater, as I assume the engine will help warm up things under the hood a bit.

After more than an hour of trying to move the gear selector, I gave up and took a different vehicle to go to a restaurant for lunch and do other stuff. Shut the Jeep Engine off.

Around two hours latter, I get home and back to the Jeep. Now, the shiftier works perfectly and I am able to drive it again.

Any ideas on what caused this problem? Anybody here know how this stuff works? Is it all mechanical or is it electrical too?

It's normal for the brake pedal having to be pressed in to be able to shift out of park. I checked the brake lights when it was NOT working and the brake lights worked normally (I checked this in case it works electrical from the brake).

But another unusual thing was when it was still stuck in park, I could fully steer the car from full left to full right and and back with the ignition key completely out. The steering lock wasn't working.

So how does this stuff work? No problem now, but I know it can happen again at any time, perhaps from the cold.

-Don- Reno, NV