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Toyota Tacoma Shift Lock Release Guide
How to manually move the transmission to "Neutral" in a 3rd generation 2016 to 2020 Toyota Tacoma truck.

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2020 - Gear Selector
Small Plastic Cover
Pry Out With Screwdriver
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and probably also the 2022 and 2023 model years) Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in releasing the automatic transmission's shift lock mechanism to change the gear selector from "P" (Park) to "N" (Neutral) in order to manually move a disabled vehicle due to running out of gasoline, a dead 12V battery or to be towed because of some other mechanical issue.

Owners of other Toyota or Lexus vehicles such as the Tundra, 4Runner, Hilux, Highlander, C-HR, Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Supra, Land Cruiser, Prius, RAV4, Mirai, Sequoia, Sienna, Yaris, CT 200h, ES 300h, RX 350, GX 460, LX 570, NX 300, RX 450h, UX 200 and UX 250h may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The only tool needed to complete this procedure is a small flat head screwdriver such as from a Jeweler's Screwdriver Set.

The first two steps are to engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the tires to prevent the truck from moving unexpectedly.

Locate the small rectangular plastic access cover just in front of the boot surrounding the gear selector.

Insert the blade of the small flat head screwdriver into the notch in the cover.

Gently pry out the access cover and set it aside in a safe place.

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


Plastic Cover Removed
Engage Parking Brake
Push Down Release Button
Set the plastic cover aside in a safe place.

Please be sure to engage the emergency / parking brake to prevent the truck from moving unexpectedly.

Place your foot on the brake pedal to make sure the truck doesn't move unexpectedly!

Insert the screwdriver into the opening in the gear selector housing and push down the shift lock release button.

Move Shifter To "Neutral"
Push Forward To "Park"
Line Up Plastic Cover
Hold the shift lock release button down and move the gear selector back from "Park" to "Neutral".

Carefully have your assistants manually move the vehicle after you release the emergency / parking brake.

Keep your foot on the brake pedal so that you can quickly stop the vehicle if necessary.

Once you are done manually moving the truck, push the gear selector knob forward from "Neutral" to "Park".

Pop In Access Cover
2016-2021-Toyota-Tacoma-Transmission-Shift-Lock-Release-Guide-011 2016-2021-Toyota-Tacoma-Transmission-Shift-Lock-Release-Guide-012
Manual Move Complete
Line up the plastic cover and snap it back into place.

Double check that the access cover is flush with the plastic gear selector housing.

Please check out all of the 2016-2021 Toyota Tacoma DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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