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Discussion Starter #1
Happened to my wife last week and I explained on the phone that the
shifter had to be in N or P but that some of those symbols
bulbs had blown and were impossible to get at. But it wasnt that
she didnt have it in N or P because the same thing happened to me today.
Turned the key and nothing. Fumed for a few minutes, jiggled the shifter and
tried again and it started fine.
It'll probably happen again - I just want to know if
its a common problem. I didnt find anything similar in a search here.
An electrical problem ?
 

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sounds like a problem in the starter interlock circuit somewhere. (Ign switch, starter or range switch)
Because it started after "wiggling the shifter" my first thought would be checking the P - N start switch on the transmission, (sometimes called the "range selector" switch. These can and do fail and can sometimes be repaired by cleaning, but being exposed to the elements they do fail with age, They can be adjusted, and yours may have moved slightly but this usually shows up as being able to be started when the lever is just out of the P or N positions.
Next time it does it, try pushing the lever against the stop at each end of the P and N positions to see if either one works as the tracks in the switch may be worn and a slight movement might be all it needs. It could also be a corroded or broken wire in the wiring to the switch or in the connector. Simply unplugging and plugging it back in may solve the issue.
They can be bypassed, but its dangerous and means the car can be started in gear. Time to get the multimeter out and start tracing the circuit or take it to an auto electrician for proper diagnosis.

And yes, it is a common (ish) issue on any automatic as they get older and parts start to fail.

It could also be a faulty ignition switch, or a failing starter solenoid. Diagnosis is the best course of action here.
 
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