Transmission Slipping


I have a 1988 Ford Crown Victoria Cop car that I recently purchased. I knew when I bought it that the transmission slipped between 1st and 2nd gear but it’s a classic and it was drivable. I took it to be inspected and he was pretty rough on her, and now she will not reverse.

Forward, she does just fine. But she will not go backwards unless the car is off and in neutral. When it is on and in neutral she shoots forward when you take your foot off the brake. What should I do?

Thanks for your help!


Hi there LM,

Unfortunately if you have checked the transmission fluid level and it’s full of fluid there is not much more you can do without removing the transmission or dropping the transmission pan and looking inside. I would suspect you have an internal wear issue and some form of “overhaul” is going to be needed.

Reverse gear is usually the first gear to go out followed by the forward gears soon after. Be prepared to overhaul the whole transmission if the shop wants to remove it for inspection. πŸ™

13 Comments on "Transmission Slipping"

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  1. Art F. says:

    Austin, I thought I knew more than you and went ahead and changed my transmission fluid, trans was slipping badly. Yep, I was wrong, made things much worse. Damn.

    • Austin Davis says:

      Ya Art, you take a chance in doing so….and you lost, but sounds like it was already too late to do anything anyway. New transmission time for Art. πŸ™‚

  2. Arnold C. says:

    Austin you are correct, guys do not service your transmission if you are having a problem. It will just get much worse, trust me.

  3. Jeff says:

    Just changed my transmission filter because transmission was slipping now it is REALLY slipping. Is there an additive that might help? Should have read this post first.

  4. Donnie says:

    I have to agree with Austin, I would not change the fluid or the filter on a car with high mileage that has not have routine transmission service. Seem it happen in my shop as well, not good.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

  6. Jay says:

    Definately check your shift linkage before you teardown the trans. it wont fix the slip but may give you back reverse and fix the nuetral thing. have a buddy shifting thru all the gears while you are under looking at the linkage (use wheel chocks,car turned off)start down at the side of the trans. inspect and adjust if nec.every car owner should have a repair manual, its a must,like chilton or haynes and read it, (its like 15 bucks) they make these books pretty idiot proof, good luck.

  7. Debbie says:

    Whatever you decide to do, please…please…PLEASE don’t take your car to AAMCO! They have built themselves a very nasty reputation of mis-diagnosing, over-charging, and not doing the job correctly. Google them to see what I mean. On the other hand, I used to live in Vancouver, WA and there was a charity garage there that charged according to your income. I was on a pension so I qualified for half-price labor charges, which was a life saver many times over. Check your area to see if there is something similar.

  8. Elfen says:

    Sounds to me that the mechanic messed up on your shifter linkages. This is a much more easier fix than having your transmission overhauled and repaired.

    Changes are this: You reverse gear is somewhere near Park, and you have a ‘3’ low gear, you cant shift to it. Furthermore, your reverse is Nuetral.

    Only bad thing is this is a very dirty job if you do it yourself. And it can be done in 1/2 hour, but taking it to a garage will cost you an arm and a leg even if they only fix the linkages. Get the repair manual for that car and study it, especially the steering column, transmission and linkages area before doing it.

  9. Ronnie says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, I found you doing a Google search because my transmission will not go in reverse… I know why. Sigh πŸ™

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