“EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated” Message Explained (Toyota)

Seeing this message on your Toyota?

“EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated”

Many people have seen this message pop up on their dashboard, so what’s going on?

In this guide, I discuss the reasons why you would see this message. I also provide some tips showing you how to fix it if there’s a problem.

EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated Message

What Does It Mean?

The “EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated” can show up during normal operations on some Toyota vehicles. In this situation, there’s nothing wrong with your Toyota.

The message relates to the electronic parking. On many Toyota vehicles, it simply means that the brake will automatically engage and disengage when shifting in and out of Park.

In most cases, you can activate the system by pulling up on the parking brake button and holding it. Once that’s done, the message appears on the screen to confirm that the mode is either activated or deactivated.

However, if you see this message randomly, keep reading further. There could be something wrong with the Toyota.

What Causes the Message?

If this message appears randomly, something is wrong. Most frequently, the message appears randomly because of a problem with the battery.

You may see the “EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated” message during startup when your car battery is beginning to fail.

However, there are other possible causes. Because this system is electrical, unexpected problems occur. Here are some more common culprits.

  1. Open or shorted connection
  2. Malfunctioning gear shifter selector switch
  3. Defective parking brake cable
  4. Failing parking brake motor (keeping the car from going into Park)

It’s not difficult to diagnose a failing battery. However, these other issues can be more difficult to troubleshoot. You may require help from a mechanic.


Is It Safe to Drive?

Most warning lights indicate a fault that requires immediate attention. In normal conditions, this isn’t one of those messages.

If the message appears because the parking brake was activated, you can continue driving.

On the flip side, if the message appears when it shouldn’t, a diagnosis is required. In most conditions, it would still be safe to drive the car, but the only way to know for sure is to have it looked at.

If the battery is failing, which is normally the case, it could leave you stranded. There may not be enough power in the battery to restart the engine once you turn it off.

What’s more concerning is if something is wrong with the electronic parking brake. To be safe, you should have it looked at as soon as you can.

How to Fix

There’s nothing to fix if you turn on the “EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated” message through normal operations. However, if the message arrives randomly as a result of a system fault, follow these tips to ensure a quick fix.

    1. Have the battery tested. If you don’t know how to do this yourself with a multimeter, you can take it to a local auto parts store for a free check.
    2. If the battery is dead, have it replaced.
    3. If the battery isn’t the issue, it’s best to visit a professional for diagnostic testing. Visit your local mechanic or go to a Toyota dealership for more support.

Unless you have professional mechanical experience, I don’t recommend trying to fix these problems on your own. Dealing with electrical system issues can be dangerous and advanced equipment is often needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

The electronic parking brake (EPB) secures the vehicle when it is in Park. It’s activated when the driver shifts into Park. With this activation, the brake pads apply securely to the rear wheels.

The EPB switch is to the left of the gear shifter on most Toyota models. It’s marked with a “P” for Park. To find more information, read the corresponding section in your owner’s manual.

The EBP shift interlock enables when the shifter has been moved into the Park position. When the shift interlock is on, an EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated message appears on the dash display.

Fixing Only What’s Broken

You don’t need to panic over the EPB Shift Interlock Function Activated message on your RAV4 dashboard, but it should be investigated as soon as possible.

Visit a local mechanic to ensure your RAV4 continues operating as it should.

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