Car started but confused on 1998 Ford Contour

When I turn the key in the ignition the dash lights come on, the fuel pump works but the engine do not turn over nor does the starter. So I turn the key in the on position and slowly shift through the gears then the car started. How is this possible

by in Riceboro, GA on November 13, 2009
2 answers 2 comments
ANSWER by on November 13, 2009
It sounds like the neutral safety switch (also called the inhibitor switch) is bad. The neutral safety switch prevents an automatic transmission car starting "in gear". By moving the shift lever position you may just make sufficient contact across the electrical switch to get the car to start. The neutral safety switch passes power to the starter from the ignition switch only when the transmission is in Park or Neutral.
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COMMENT by on November 13, 2009
where this switch located and how to replace it
COMMENT by on February 05, 2011
I have same problem and I changed starter,neutral safety switch,starter relay and battery. What now???????Maybe ignition switch???????
ANSWER by on January 10, 2011
You car is automatic transmition and there is a switch to control the starting while in gear so you need to change that
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