Is there anyway this isn't gross incompetence by Chevrolet of GM engineers?

I a have a 2002 Sebring automatic. Up until owning it, every automatic I’ve driven, including many old rust buckets from the 80s, is if the car isn’t in park, it won’t let you take the key out of the ignition.

However, this car seems to lack that feature. WHY?
Today I came home, and my cat was outside laying right behind where I park in a odd position like road kill, and looking really flat. I panicked and thought I ran over my kitty.:eek::frowning:

Well I stop the car, think I put it in park, yank the key out, rush over, and find my cat’s just being a butt. She’s fine, just got out some how, and trying to deal with the heat. Relieved, I take her inside, pet her a bit, and all of a sudden THUD!

I rush out to see that: my car, instead of remaining parked, had silently started rolling; apparently it wasn’t quite in park. In the slight incline between the driveway and the house it picked up enough speed, while silent rolling through where I was just standing with my cat, and my back turned to it, to mangle a pair of post hole cutters propped up against the house it struck.

Now the bumper is all scratched up, the post hole cutters are trashed and I’m pretty shaken up!
IT COULD HAVE RAN RIGHT OVER ME, AND MY CAT, AND I WOULD HAVE NEVER HEARD IT COMING. Why the FUCK would you make a car like that when such a simple piece of safety equipment can prevent that?! WHAT POSSIBLE REASON COULD THEY HAVE FOR THIS?.

There has to be something. They really don’t give engineering jobs to people so stupid, do they? If it had been parked around a hill’s edge it could have killed somebody. Hell from the post hole diggers, it could have taken me out if I’d have lingered bent over a bit.

Just so we’re clear. The GQ is why wouldn’t you make extracting the key from the ignition dependent on having the automatic transmission in park?

Yes it’s gross incompetence on the engineer’s part that your 10 old year car allows you to take your key out without getting the transmission lever all the way into the Park position so that you don’t have to act responsibly and make sure the lever is all the way in the Park position because of the huge amount of effort required for you to push a little harder and look at it. Shame on them.

What do you think the parking brake is for?

Jesus fuck, I thought it was in park. Show me your cite that you never make mistakes, because humans make mistakes, that a simple mechanical safety device, that most other automatics have could have alerted me to.

I’ve driven cars from the 80s, and they fucking had this.

This was conscious decision to leave off, why?

Aside from the fact that Chrysler makes the Sebring? Probably not.

OKAY I attempted to manslaughter myself, and my cat slaughter my cat. I admit it.

Still given how common this safety device is, why would you go against the trend, and give man slaughtering sick fucks like me our tools of our sick self felio-manslaughtering trade? That is the GQ.

Well other than the fact is has developed a taste for human and feline blood, I like my car. I’m just shaken up and confused. What were they thinking? Do engineers not know about Murphy’s law?

Lesson learned about always putting it in park, btw runner pat. It just never seemed like an issue before because every automatic I’ve driven has the safety feature that this car is missing. I’ve driven cars from the mid 80s that had this safety feature. It seems ubiquitous, until now.

Someone must have decided against this safety feature.

How do you KNOW that your car lacks that feature?

Based on my experience, it’s far more likely that something is broken or worn out.

My family has a '75 Chevy. Once upon a time, I found out that I could take the key out while in gear. Not too long after that, the ignition switch had to be replaced. Afterward, the car once again had to be in park in order to take out the key.

I’ve known a couple other people who had similar experiences.

Operator error. Why didn’t you apply the parking brake?

I could take the key out of my old Saturn no matter what gear it was in, so that part of the story doesn’t seem so weird to me. My new car doesn’t even have a key.

The part that’s weird to me is the car being in “almost” park. I’ve never seen that before. you’re definitely lucky the car didn’t run you over!

That is a really good question. I should look into this, you might have saved me from getting stranded, thank you!

It’s one of those pseudo-manual stile nob where a stick shift nob style deals. However the actual gear selection display is in the dash. It’s electronic, so if the car is off, you can’t see what gear is selected. It was half pushed between reverse and park when I found it. I must have moved it far enough it felt like park, but didn’t notice the missing ‘clicking’ feeling in my upset state.

Ok, let’s try this again. First of all, where was the transmission lever? Almost in Park? Or in Reverse, Neutral, Drive, etc.? The interlocks on some these are pretty shoddy and can break. They can also have some wiggle room so the transmission may not be locked in Park, but you can still take your key out. Also manual transmissions (the only kind in a real car) don’t have this feature.

Did you ever learn anything about driver safety? I haven’t read every book on the subject, or taken every course, but I don’t recall any that said the way to tell if you are in Park is to try taking the key out.

Historically, I think these features arose when several types of automatic transmissions tended to pop out of Park on their own. There were some Fords that did that with the shifter on the wheel, and a bunch of models with console shifter that had that problem. The early fix for the console shifters was to add the plastic maze thing that you had to navigate the shift lever through to change gears. The key interlock? I don’t know. I’ve had several cars over the years where you could take your key out at any time. I’m not used to the interlock, so I got caught on this with my Mustang (sadly not a real Mustang because it’s an automatic), I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get the key out, it was just still in drive.

I don’t know why the push button or lever to remove key interlock was added at all. It locks the steering wheel, so maybe it’s just an anti-theft device.

There seems to be this stupid belief among owners of cars with auto transmissions that they don’t need to use the parking brake and that the lever in the middle of the front seats is an “emergency brake”. :rolleyes:

Yeah, we had a thread about this a few months ago.

The detent button serves the same purpose as gate-type automatic transmission patterns: it’s to keep you from accidentally putting the car in reverse or park.

I’m just curious. A 2002 Sebring was a Chrysler offering wasn’t it?

Yes. See post #5.

Jesus fuck, was that pot shot really necessary?

Morgenstern, I’m a little shaken up, okay? I almost got ran over. Yes it is in fact a Chrysler. I am not a car brand guy, clearly.

Could a mod please change the title? Maybe to something a bit more descriptive like “Why wouldn’t you require the transmission to be in park, to take the key out?” Or at least change it to Chrysler in the title?

You didn’t almost get run over. You’re way overreacting to answers that are given to you. Calm down.

I had a Chrysler LeBaron (which the Sebring replaced), and the car had to be in park to remove the key. I looked up the 2004 User manual for the Sebring sedan here (the earliest year available), and it says

I think Flyer is right, that the ignition is worn, allowing it to be removed.

ETA: It also warns

I’m guessing you won’t have this problem, though.

Okay, took a breather.

It was kind of between park and reverse when I found it. I don’t know if I left it closer to park or reverse. It seems like it could have been knocked forward from the impact, or maybe it could have not quite been in park, but popped lose.

When I don’t think I ran over my cat, I put it in park, check the dash to confirm, take my foot off the break, let the transmission settle in to a locked position, and then turn off the car, and take the key out.

In this case, I stopped in the middle of the drive way, thought I put it in park, grabbed the key and ran over to where my possom butt of a cat who was sleeping in the drive way.
Now that I’m a bit calmer I think the lesson isn’t to find the [del]Chevy[/del] Chrysler engineer for this, but to get in the habit of putting the parking brake on, and get the interlock checked.

See this is interesting. I remember the maze thing. It was spring loaded, so you’d have to make a conscious effort to balance it between gears, if you could at all. I’ve been in lots of cars that have that.

So moral of thread, apparently my car isn’t defectively designed, it is broken. They actually went to design time lengths to warn me if this safety feature was broken, but that alert is broken too. Also I’ve been parking wrong for the last 10 years. That’s pretty scary in hindsight. It’s just one of those things everyone seems to do, and it is completely wrong and unsafe.

Much ignorance fought!

Thanks everyone!