What to Do When Your Car Doesn’t Go in Reverse

It is only natural to panic or to get frustrated when your car is stuck in drive and it won’t go in reverse. In general, this is typically a sign of transmission problems. However, it does not necessarily mean that you have to replace the entire system. In some cases, you just need to replace the transmission fluid and filter. On the other hand, it is possible to fix the issue by adjusting the automatic transmission linkage. Of course, your last resort would be to rebuild the part completely.

So, how do you identify the problem and find the appropriate solution? In this article, we will discuss that and more. Whether you prefer driving brand new or used Japanese cars, you will find some useful information in this blog post.

What to Check When your Car Won’t Go in Reverse

The first thing you have to check is the transmission fluid level. You have to ensure that it reaches the full line. Keep in mind that most vehicles need the engine running and at a normal operating temperature when you check the transmission fluid level. You might find the specific instructions on the transmission dipstick itself. If you notice that the RPMS increases but your car is not moving, then it is likely that you have an internal transmission issue.

If you’re working on a manual transmission, it is possible that there is an internal problem with the transmission itself or the clutch. However, it is worth noting that most manual transmissions are hydraulic, which means then need fluid to operate. You will typically find the clutch master cylinder next to the brake master cylinder. Moreover, most vehicles—including used Japanese cars—use brake fluid as the ‘clutch’ fluid.

What You Can Do to Fix This

The easiest workaround is to quickly go from Park to Low, repeating the action multiple times. Doing so will dislodge the rust or corrosion in the system. Consequently, it allows the computer signal to be correctly read, allowing the switch to move again. If this solution does not work, then it is best to have an experienced mechanic look at your car.

On the other hand, you can also try replacing the transmission fluid and filter and see if that solves the problem. This solution does not cost too much and it can save you a trip to the car service center. After all, the problem could be caused by hardened lubricants and particles getting stuck in the discs. This prevents the vehicle from shifting into reverse.

If your car has a manual transmission system, try pumping the clutch a couple of times. While you shift into reverse, try releasing the clutch. If you notice that the transmission does not engage, switch your car’s engine off. After that, shift into First, and then to Neutral. If you see that your vehicle starts to shift into reverse when the engine is switched off, then it is possible that there’s something wrong with your clutch, and not your transmission.

Check the seals and make sure you look under the engine and inspect the link. If there is a bad connection or there are worn gaskets, make sure you address them promptly. Keep in mind that they keep the transmission of your vehicle from shifting smoothly or properly. Keep in mind that when you are replacing the rubber seals, you might need to use some special tools. As always, if you are not sure how to do this, ask a skilled and knowledgeable mechanic to do it for you.

When it comes to assessing the condition of brand-new or used Japanese cars, it is always best to consult a professional.

Did you learn something new from this article?

Make sure you check our post about what to avoid when driving a manual car to keep your vehicle in good condition!

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