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There's a electrical solenoid which releases the shifter when the engine is running. Sounds like its failed or blown a fuse.

The tiny hole is described in the manual, as I recall. It's been fitted on every automatic I've had, and allows you to get the car out of 'P' if the engine doesn't run (eg. you have a flat battery, and the repair chap wants to winch it onto a recovery vehicle).

So ... it's not a gearbox fault as such (as least not anything to do with the expensive gearbox mechanicals). But that leaves the question of why the solenoid isn't working. Worst case is probably that mice have attacked the wiring. More likely, just the solenoid gummed up because the car's been sitting there a while.

On the warranty - make absolutely sure that you've checked out the service history. THese cars have a service every year or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Make sure that they've been done - ideally by a Kia dealer. If done by an independent you need some proof that the right oil and filters have been used - Kia will ask for these if you ever have an engine problem.
 

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Just been mulling on this a bit more. The solenoid is powered via the brake light switch - I bet that's what's gone faulty.
 
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