My Car Won't Go in Reverse

Written by jen n
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My Car Won't Go in Reverse
A manual gear lever of a car. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

One of the more costly things to repair in your car is the transmission, and usually, diagnosing the problem involves taking out the entire transmission and disassembling it. When your car is unable to go into reverse, internal damage might be causing the problem. But before you take your car to a mechanic, you can look at various possible causes.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • 20-piece socket and ratchet set
  • Hydraulic floor jack
  • Flash light
  • Work gloves

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Look at your car's transmission selector switch. Since 2001, car manufacturers have installed on-board computers, which have control over various car parts and functions, like the engine and transmission shifting. If you notice that the switch isn't working, then the computer isn't receiving the signal that the car should be shifting into reverse. The switches do become work over time because of corrosion. As a quick fix, go from Park to Low very quickly, repeating the action several times. This can dislodge any corrosion or rust in the system, which will then make it possible for the computer signal to be properly read and make the switch move again. If this does not solve the problem, have a mechanic look at your car.

  2. 2

    Replace the transmission fluid and the filter. It doesn't cost much money to change the fluid and filter, and this can be the solution to your problem, potentially saving you money you otherwise would have spent to have a mechanic look at your transmission. It's possible for hardened particles and lubricants to get stuck in the discs, which prevents the car from shifting into reverse. See if you can find the draining bolt under the transmission pan. Use a funnel to pour in the fluid to eliminate mess, and refill the neck where you can find the dipstick. If your car was made after 2001, it most likely has a transmission filter. Take out the filter and replace it with a new one.

  3. 3

    Pump the clutch a few times if your car has a manual transmission system. You can also try to partially release the clutch while shifting into reverse. If the transmission doesn't engage, switch off your car's engine, then shift into First, then Neutral. If your vehicle shifts into reverse with the engine turned off, then your clutch is the problem, not your transmission.

  4. 4

    Inspect both the seals and the link under the engine. It is important to instantly attend to any worn gaskets or a bad connection because they keep your vehicle's transmission from shifting properly. You may need some special tools to replace the rubber seals. If you can't do this on your own, seek help from an experienced mechanic.

  5. 5

    Inspect both the seals and the link under the engine. It is important to instantly attend to any worn gaskets or a bad connection, because they keep your vehicle's transmission from shifting properly. You may need some special tools to replace the rubber seals. If you can't do this on your own, seek help from an experienced mechanic.

  6. 6

    Have a mechanic assess your transmission in order to find out what could be causing the problem. Take your car to an auto repair shop if you are concerned about the state of your transmission system.

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