BMW Automatic Transmission Warning 420106 – Fix

If you’ve got a modern BMW or Mini with the steptronic auto box you might well be greeted by the “Secure vehicle with parking brake when stationary. Have the problem checked by your Service Partner.” error message.

If you check diagnostics it will show code “420106” and code error look up suggests “Shiftlock solenoid: Selector lever wrongly not locked in P”

This comes up on BMW 2 series, X1 (F48), X-drive 2 series, Mini Countryman (F60) and many other with the same steptronic box.

For me it occurred on a 2016 BMW 220d Gran Tourer at about 95k miles.

Yeah ignore the dust – car needed a clean.

Cue lots of panic and internet research.

Essentially it comes down to the car no longer being able to confirm the lever is in ‘park’ so throws up an error asking you to stick the parking break on. The gearbox is still fine, the selector is fine, the engine works as before, everything will continue to work, but you’ll get the error until fixed and I’m not sure it would pass an MOT with this error up.

The problem is with the selector mechanism and as I found the part isn’t cheap. You’re in need of “BMW Gearshift Steptronic – Genuine BMW Part 25168483098” – the cheapest I could find new was £600+VAT. Add in labour and you’re looking at circa £1k. Saw one driver quoted £1170 from a BMW main dealer. Great. As the cars age this could start to be majority of the cars value.

Fortunately a very helpful chap has done a full video (see below) on this and the issue is a tiny torsion spring that has snapped within the selector so it no longer pushes a magnet as you engage ‘P’ and can’t trigger the reed switch (a small encased hinged metal piece that is pulled down and closes the circuit to confirm position).

This is the spring. It’s pathetically small in real life.

The spring is available from eBay for as little as £4. Yep the car is throwing up errors and potentially costing you £1170 for a repair due to a £4 spring. Aren’t modern cars great?

See the broken ‘leg’? It’s held on by sheer will at this point and should be straight.

On eBay search for “Torsion Spring for Gearshift Steptronic Repair” and part numbers will typically be 25168483097, 25168612145, 25168638224, 25168666164. The one I purchased was here

I won’t try and recreate the video as he does a great job – even listing the tools. I’d recommend watching it through a couple of times first and having it loaded on your phone ready to pause at each step. The trim removal tools and the torx/star bits are probably the only items you’ll need to buy.

Image taken from M.Ovidiu video

As well as the tools he lists I’d get some decent torches/worklight and a number of trays to keep the fixings in. Another trick from working on old cars is get some carboard and push the screws through and label up with where each set came from.

One way of storing bolts – example only

The work is actually very simple but it does initially seem daunting and by the time you have it all out you may start to panic about how much is removed and how you’re ever going to get the car to the garage for them to fix if it all goes wrong. Keep the faith! Work slowly, remove the cables carefully and don’t rush yourself.

The only area I struggled with was making sure the selector was in the right position when trying to disengage the selector cable pin (7:33 in the video).

If the video below doesn’t work then search Youtube for “BMW 2 series f45 F46 ”secure vehicle with parking brake” Problem FIX”

Once done, assemble as shown and reset the computer as he shows and it will all be fixed.

This took me about 3 hours all in, including searching for the tools and trying to find a torch. I reckon 2 hours would be possible next time, probably under an hour for a mechanic. It’s entirely possible for a competent DIYer to do yourself and save £1170. Even if it took a full day that’s a decent saving and potentially keeps the car out the scrapyard.

Once these cars become cheaper it might be an idea to buy a second hand selector from a scrapped car, replace the spring at the comfort of your desk and then do the swap of the selectors, allowing you to upgrade the removed selector and sell on for the next sufferer of the problem.

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