My Car Won’t go in Reverse – Is This Transmission Problem

car will not reverseI checked your website and I couldn’t find my answer so I decided to email you. My problem is that my car won’t go in reverse. I just finishing paying off to fix my rear differential and got a 14 oil change at ez lube. when I went
home my car will not go in reverse. my father in law says that it might be my transmission but I would like to ask you.

thank you



I would first look at the automatic transmission fluid level and make sure it is to the full line.

Most cars require that the engine be running and at normal operating temperature when you check the transmission fluid level. It might tell you how to do it on the transmission dipstick itself.

If the engine races (the RPMS) increase but the car does not move….you probably do have an internal transmission problem…….OR there could be something wrong in the new rear end, which does sound suspicious since you recently had work done on it.

If this is a manual transmission you might have an internal problem with the clutch or the transmission itself, although most manual transmissions are hydraulic, meaning they require fluid to operate. The clutch master cylinder is usually next to the brake master cylinder, and most cars use brake fluid as “clutch” fluid.

Keep me posted,

Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

85 Comments on "My Car Won’t go in Reverse – Is This Transmission Problem"

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  1. gordon says:

    my feit bravo 1.4 t jet the problem is it gose in to 4th gear but once u put your foot on the gas it pops out u can get the bite in 4th

    • Austin Davis says:

      Im not familiar with this vehicle, but sounds like a clutch pressure plate type of problem, which means you would need to remove the transmission and replace the clutch.

  2. Ana Yanez says:

    My jetta 1999 automatic wont reverse it drive up wont reverse can i fix this problem

    • Austin Davis says:

      Sorry for my delay, had a family emergency. I would assume you need to have this transmission overhauled, but make sure the transmission fluid is FULL first. If full, probably overhaul time.

  3. Jesse says:


    How you doing? Hopefully all is well.
    I have a quick question in regards to my 1989 automatic Toyota Camry 4 cylinder. When I turn it on for the first time of the day and I go reverse it works perfectly fine but after driving it for a few miles if I try to go reverse it completely stalls out. It seems like it only has reverse when it is cold. Any ideas what I can be dealing with.

    I checked the transmission fluid it looks and smell right not low and the all the other gears go in just fine.

    please help


    • Austin Davis says:

      sorry for my delay Jesse. I am assuming that when you select reverse when the engine is hot that the engine races up but the car does not reverse or move…or not as quickly as it should? If this is the case, then I can only suspect that you have some internal wear inside the transmission and the clutches are not getting enough friction to move the vehicle. An overhaul is probably in your immediate future.

      If the engine DIES when you select reverse. I would first try cleaning the throttle body and idle speed control motor and look for a vacuum leak under the hood somewhere. Sometimes the engine mounts break and cause the engine to move up and down too much thus pulling on the fresh air duct going to the air cleaner. This will cause a vacuum leak and can kill the engine.

      Here is a video of me cleaning my throttle body

  4. Sabrina Clark says:

    Hello I have a Chevrolet Blazer and it want go it to reverse but wen I put it in drive it takes a long time to change gear but then after that Iit drives fine. Can u
    Tell me what u think is the problem

    • Austin Davis says:

      Check the transmission fluid level, and top off as needed. There is not much else externally you can do at this point. So if the fluid is full, then the mechanic will need to remove the transmission pan from the bottom and look inside or remove the transmission from the vehicle for inspection.

  5. Shavaleir says:

    Hello. My fiancee has a 1999 Dodge Caravan Automatic and we recently had new tires installed and a new fuel filter put in. I went to leave today and the car started to sound like I hit something but when I got out and looked I didn’t see anything but when I got back in and started to reverse it would rev but not go backwards so when I put it in drive it went forward but I tried to reverse it wouldn’t go. Please help me.

    • Austin Davis says:

      First thing, check the automatic transmission fluid level and top off as needed. If you are really low on fluid you must have a leak somewhere that needs to be repaired. If the fluid is full, then you probably have an internal problem and will need to see a transmission shop for investigation.

    • josephine says:

      Omg wow I have a pt cruiser and driver side tire I got new and a.leak fix aswell as sensor and described is exactly what happen to mine.i thought I hit something and no my car is not reversing this sucks I think the.mechanic didnt do something right honestly .

  6. byron chan says:

    I have 2002 BMW 325i. the titronic auto. trans. only go foreward but can’t go reverse,and I did check the ATF it’s level is ok.

    • Austin Davis says:

      Unfortunately everything is inside the transmission. So if the fluid is full and the linkage to the transmission from the shifter inside the vehicle is in tact the only thing you can really do next is remove the transmission pan for inspection.

      But, removing the transmission from the vehicle and doing an overhaul is what is likely to happen next. So be prepared for that. You might call a few junk yards and see what is available used.

      You are taking a big gamble that you are buying someone else’s 11 year old worn out transmission but I have bought many used transmissions with success. I would consider this a short term fix and would be thinking of selling the vehicle pretty soon after.

  7. tracy eccles says:

    I have a tiptronic fto and suddenly it stopped reversing I had a gearbox rebuild 4 years ago.

    • Austin Davis says:

      reverse gear is usually the first gear to show signs of excessive internal wear. If the fluid is full, there is not much you can do without taking it out of the car and inspecting inside.

  8. Tekisha says:

    Hi I have 96 cougar and just the other day it was taking off a lil sluggish I check the transmission fluted and it was low I added some in I got about 2 miles from where I was my car wouldn’t drive unless I reved the engine and even then it was only going 2 mile I had the filter changed yesterday and it wouldn’t go in reverse after that I tried driving it this morning to get to work it took off fine i got about 10 blocks from my house it wont drive again only going 2miles per hour but when I put in reverse in goes in reverse now pls can u tell me what it is or could be before I junk it

    • Austin Davis says:

      Is there a transmission fluid leak??? Is it low on fluid again? If the fluid is full, then this is an internal problem and will need a transmission shop and most likely an overhaul. Changing the filter on a transmission that is slipping usually just makes the problem worse.

      Not much else can be done externally all parts are internal to the transmission and will have to be taken out of the vehicle for inspection.

      On a 1996 vehicle, would not surprise me to need a complete overhaul just due to age.

  9. Hardy says:

    My car was slow to reverse, then I changed the transmission filter and made things worse. Guess I will have to bite the bullet and overhaul it.

  10. TYRONE says:

    I have a 98 jetta (shift stick) I drive it in my driveway lasting then I put in reverse and it kept on going forward when I gave it gas I done it multiple times and i also changed my clutch last week with a 3stage street performance clutch.. check the fluid .(full). do you think the linkage is broken? Despite I’ve been hearing noise fm fan belt for past month which I change the belt but the noise is still there and my mech said he even change the tensioner.

    • By Austin Davis says:

      Yes, I would inspect the linkage first to make sure they are hooked up and moving freely at the transmission. You could have an internal transmission problem if all linkage is good…or a problem with your new clutch pressure plate.

      The belt noise, I would remove the belt and spin all accessories by hand (a/c clutch pulley, waterpump, alternator etc. etc. until you find the pulley with the noise. Also make sure the fan belt is running straight on all pulleys and not wobbling from side to side.

  11. travis says:

    I have a 2002 ford focus zx5. Manual Trans. Every gear works except for reverse, about a week ago I was driving and I went to back up and I could not get the stick to go into reverse, was working just fine earlier that day but ever since it will not go into reverse. Any suggestions?

    • By Austin Davis says:

      This is probably a hydraulic clutch system, meaning there should be a small reservoir under the hood..usually next to the brake master cylinder fluid reservoir. If the fluid is low with the clutch, it will be hard to shift gears. Check the fluid first and top off and watch the fluid level a few days for a leak in the system.

      If this is not a hydraulic system, then you have a cable that operates the clutch, and that cable might be worn out or there is a problem with the linkage at the transmission.

      Worst case scenario, there is an internal problem with the clutch and its time to replace the clutch disc and pressure plate inside the transmission. I would say the average life of a clutch under normal conditions is about 150,000 miles, sometimes less if you drive more stop and go traffic.

  12. tim stephens says:

    I just replace the transmission on my Hyundai Accent. I have check the fluid levels, made sure that the selector is in correct and everything is back in correctly. I have no reverse. When I started the trst drive I had reverse and all my gears. I was on a 20 minute drive and when I returned I had no reverse. Any ideas?

    • By Austin Davis says:

      Is this a new transmission from the dealer, or a rebuilt unit from a local supplier, or a used transmission?

      I am not a transmission expert, but what sometimes happens is there an air pocket somewhere that finally makes its way out during a test drive, so you are now low on fluid and need to top off.

      I have also seen dirt and debris from a transmission cooler get lodged inside the valve body and cause issues like this, and flushing the transmission cooler lines and transmission takes care of it.

      If this is a local rebuilt unit or used unit….there could be an internal problem with it. I would double check the fluid level, and probably advise flushing the fluid first before jumping to conclusions about an internal issue.

      If you have to, have your local fast lube place use their transmission fluid flush system, which will cost you about $125 or so but will do a very good job at removing debris that can get lodged inside.

  13. Ronny says:

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  14. Jenell says:

    Hi…my 2003 Cadillac Escalade with 5.3L engine won’t reverse as of last night. All other gears work fine, still runs good. Is there anyway to fix the reverse gear without tearing down the entire transmission? If so, what exactly would need to be fixed? I don’t want to get coerced into rebuilding if there is a possibility that I don’t have to.


    • By Austin Davis says:


      If the transmission fluid is full, then there is not really much you can do without tearing into the transmission. I would first start with removing the transmission drain pan and look inside (as much as you can look inside). I am interested in how much metal and plastic shaving debris is on the magnet on the inside of the transmission pan. Reverse gear is usually the first gear to show signs of internal wear.

      Sometimes reverse gear starts to work (somewhat) after the vehicle has been driven a little while and the transmission fluid has warmed up. This is because the fluid pump inside the transmission is worn out, and colder, thicker fluid is too hard for it to pump.

      Changing or flushing the transmission fluid should not be done unless your mechanic or a transmission shop thinks that might be a good idea. New, slick fluid can actually make things WORSE.

      I have not found an additive that works for this type of complaint unfortunately. I would recommend you visit a reputable transmission shop and get their opinion on what to do next. It could be an electrical problem inside the transmission, which they should be able to diagnose with a scanner.

      If they want to overhaul it and you are on a tight budget, you MIGHT want to investigate a used transmission from a junkyard from a totaled out vehicle. You don’t know the condition of the used transmission, so there is a gamble, but some junkyards offer an extended warranty for a small additional charge.

  15. Anonymous says:

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    Thanks so much and I am taking a look ahead to contact you.
    Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  16. Jessica Roberds says:

    I have a Yukon and it wont go in reverse. Me and my husband just bought year SUV the beginning of this year. Please help me figure out wats wrong with it because I can’t afford to get it checked out.

    • By Austin Davis says:

      Well, this might not be good new for you. First, check to see that there is enough transmission fluid showing on the dipstick. Check it when the engine is at normal operating temperature and engine running. If it is low, top it off with transmission fluid and see if that corrects the issue.

      If the fluid is full, there is not much you can really do except remove the transmission (or a big part of it) and start tearing it apart for inspection. Reverse gear is usually the first gear to show signs of wear…then the others will start to slip as well as things get worse.

      If reverse responds a little better after you have been driving awhile and the transmission fluid is good and hot, that would tell me the internal parts in the transmission are worn out and need a replacement or overhaul.

      If things are really tight, you might want to locate a used transmission from a junk yard and have a local mechanic install it for you. You can sometimes buy an extended warranty from the junk yard…since you are taking a total gamble that the “new” used one is better than your original one.

  17. tracy s. says:

    I hear a clank every time I begin accelerate or come to stop. This is a new event. Years ago i had a van that had bad u-joint and this sounds similar. Please advise when able.

    • Austin says:

      If this is a rear wheel drive vehicle, yes, check the u joints. I would also check the transmission fluid level, if the transmission fluid is low it can cause a clunk noise and usually a strange/hard shift. I would also check the transmission and engine mounts for wear allowing the engine/transmission to move and hit the frame.

  18. Dan says:

    Hey Austin,

    It appears my transmission fluid were pretty low but not completely empty. I have put new ATF into it last night. What should I be expecting next? Is it magically going to be able to drive in reverse next time I start it or do I need to drive around for some time to get the ATF worked into the transmission? After I put in the AFT, I let the car run in idle for a while and tried to put it in reverse but still was unable to go backwards. I did not want to drive it yet because I was in a parking spot that I can pull right out of to take it to a shop if needed. Any suggestions?

    Thanks again for all the assistance!

    • Austin says:

      If it’s full of fluid and the RPM gauge goes up but the vehicle does not move I can only assume you have an internal transmission problem and will most likely need a complete overhaul at that mileage level. Sorry πŸ™

  19. Dan says:

    It looks like my initial request is missing…

    Problem: Car shifts into reverse but will not drive in reverse.

    How: Slight thud when shifting into reverse to parallel park.

    Notes: 1998 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 with 190K miles
    All other gears work fine
    Power mirrors recently went out
    Passengers sometimes lose abilty to control windows but driver can from master panel
    Issues with getting windshield fluid to spray. Takes pressing button several times.

    Any ideas on an issue? I cannot imagine the other electrical issues have to do with the initial thud but wanted to note.


    • Austin says:

      I already replied to your initial request…see it?

      Windshield wiper issue might be a bad pump inside the washer jug or a bad switch, which is part of the “multi function switch” lever on the steering wheel. if you want to GUESS, it’s cheaper and easier to replace the wiper pump motor inside the washer jug……fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  20. Dan says:

    It would shift into gear but it was the exact same feeling as if I were to shift it into drive….. I meant to say neutral and not drive.


  21. Dan says:

    I have a 1998 Ford Explorer 4.0L V6 with 190k miles on it. On Friday I went to put my car in reverse to parallel park and I heard a slight thud and all of a sudden it wouldn’t drive in reverse. It would shift into gear but it was the exact same feeling as if I were to shift it into drive. I have never had any problems with the transmission but have to be suspicious that its the problem. It will indeed drive as normal in all other gears.

    After reading all of the previous comments I will check the trans fluid. Some side notes, I recently lost the ability to control the power mirrors, sometimes my passengers cannot roll down their windows and only the drives panel works, and I have troubles with getting the windshield wiper fluid to spray when I press the button. I can’t imagine the thud would have anything to do with the electrical issues but just an fyi. Any ideas?


    • Austin says:

      Humm. If the transmission is full of automatic transmission fluid, and the engine RPM revs up when you are reverse but the vehicle does not move…or moves very slow in relation to the RPM speed, I can only assume you have an internal transmission problem. Might just be a problem with the reverse gear BUT with 190K miles I would highly suspect you are now due for a complete transmission overhaul.

      I would advise you take a test drive with a transmission shop and get their first hand opinion, and get a complete overhaul quote from them (you want a new torque converter with your overhaul so make sure they have included that in the price) but you should also call your local Ford dealer parts department and ask them how much a rebuilt transmission costs these days from Ford. For a few bucks more…maybe $200 or so, you can sometimes buy a rebuilt transmission from Ford with their nationwide warranty and have your local auto mechanic install it. Its easy to install and even comes loaded with new transmission fluid. Should cost you about $250-$350 for labor depending on your area. Must faster (1 day installation) and better warranty than any transmission shop I have seen.

      The other issues you describe all sound like switch problems, and not related. Each door has its own window and door lock switch and motor, and the driver switch is the master switch for all. so if you can operate the window from the master but not the individual door…you have an individual door switch issue most likely. The mirror switch is separate as well……lots of switches. πŸ™‚

      These are great vehicles, so if you like it and all else works well, personally I would not have a problem investing/donating $2,000 to a transmission. Of course if you are on the fence, you can use that as a great down payment on a new car, or 2 year old lease trade in vehicle which I personally buy, I seldom buy brand new just because of the huge depreciation as soon as you drive off the lot.

  22. josh says:

    i have a kia 2001 and it dont reverse. what could be wrong

    • Austin says:

      If it’s full of transmission fluid, then you most likely need internal repairs or an overhaul depending on the amoun of wear. Reverse gear is usually the first gear to go when the transmission is worn out and needs repair or replacement. But, low transmission fluid could also be the culprit. Talk to a transmission shop mechanic and let them drive it with you before you decide to change the transmission fluid, that could make things worse.

  23. Tammy says:

    Hi, I have a 2002 VW Beetle, when I started it the EPC light came on, and it wont move out park..the gear doesnt move at all…
    Whats the problem, any idea?

  24. Serenity says:

    Oh by the way, its a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu.

  25. Serenity says:

    I got in my car this morning and started the engine. I put the car in reverse ans it didn’t go anywhere. I turned off the engine and turned it on again. I stepped on the gas this time and the car jerked. I stopped and then stepped on the gas again and it made an awful grinding noise. Not sure what it is but I have a pretty good idea. :(…. Can you guess?

    • Austin says:

      I’m not a transmission mechanic but sounds like you might have a problem with the solenoid pack inside the transmission although having heard a grinding noise….that does not sound good at all. Hopefully you have already checked the transmission fluid level. I would have a transmission shop drive it with you before you spend any money guessing at something. Could this be under warranty? Worth a call to your local dealer.

  26. Shamel says:

    I have a 2002 Toyota Camry and had no problems until last week. 1st the car would suddenly jerk forward when I accelerated. This only occured once or twice last week. Sunday the car was running fine until I put the car in park while still running. When I put it in reverse it would not move. Finally I got it to reverse then it would not go forward. After turning it off it finally went forward but it would lose power going up hills. Now it will sometimes go forward or backwards but it will all of sudden lose power again. I then turn it off it will then go but lose power. I check the transmission fluid and it is full. What do you think? Thanks

    • Austin says:

      Hi there, if you mean “loosing power” as the engine WILL rev up and the RPM gauge does move up high but the vehicle will not move, or move fast enough with the revving engine speed….I would assume you have an internal transmission problem and the clutches are slipping inside.

      If loss of power means, the engine bogs down and the RPM will not increase then you might have an engine related problem more than a transmission problem. It really sounds like you might have both an engine and transmission problem if the engine bogs down and the RPM’s will not increase. Needing a tune up, spark plug wires, fuel filter etc. could be the culprit for a bogging down engine. BUT those items will not have any effect on a transmission that is slipping or has an internal problem

      I would get a mechanic to take a test drive with you while this is happening, if that is possible. I would hate to steer you in the wrong direction by giving you the wrong advice because I am not able to test drive the vehicle and feel the problem first hand. If you can get a diagnosis I would be more than happy to give my opinion on it before you spend a lot of money on repairs.

  27. Chat says:

    I have a 2005 Ford Escape…I took the car in for an oil change and wipers changed…when I got it back after awhile I noticed there was no fluid goign to the back wipers….the second thing to go wrong was I turned on the rear defrost and the back windshield blew out. After that nothing but problems. Car after driving for several hours and stop for a break then go again starts to jerk, the theft light pops on and off, the check engine light pops on and off. I had one cylinder repaired which cost a few hundred dollars then it was fine for a bit but then went back to the jerking and light show. Took it in again and they said they couldn’t find a problem with it. Now it also has problems going in reverse.

  28. Amanda says:

    Thank you,
    If this is the case how much is it to repair the problem?
    it starts and goes in like a second gear and shifts okay, but no reverse. Also iv tried recalling the owner and he wolnt answer. my friends dad looked under the hood and when you shft this plasic piece by the hose is broken ?

    • Austin says:

      A new clutch could be $750 +-, a rebuilt automatic transmission could be $1800-$2200

      A problem with the shift linkage, or a hydraulic fluid would be much less expensive depending on what the actual problem was. I would need to see what is going on….or not going on to tell.

  29. Amanda says:

    i just bought a jetta 99 and it wolnt go in reverse it did when the owner drove it, and it also seems to not go in 1st gear. Is this a transmittion proble,?
    Thanks you

    • Austin says:

      Yikes! If this is a standard shift vehicle you might have a clutch problem, or low on hydraulic clutch fluid or a shift linkage problem. If its an automatic transmission….you might have an internal transmission problem or something wrong with the shift linkage. I think I would be asking for my money back if I just purchased this vehicle.

  30. Daniel says:

    AUSTIN THANK YOU VERY MUCH I APPRECIATE YOUR HELP,,, I went to gasoline station and ask the mechanic to replaced the transmission fluid and now the reverse works better but sometimes still fails but not like before the longer we use it its getting better…. well thanks again man you know fixing or replacing the transmission is too expensive…
    and I would also like to thank who owns this forum…..

    thanks peace out..

  31. Lisa says:

    I have a 2002 PT Cruiser, all of a sudden it wouldn’t go in reverse after putting gas in it. My 3rd gear seems to be my D (drive) but when I put it in reverse it IMMEDIATELY jerks to a holt as if I snatched the emergency brake up. My vehicle has a clean bill of health otherwise from the 2 previous owners on my car fax when I bought this car last year… It drives fine in 3rd gear like D (drive) but NO reverse…. can you lend some advice?

  32. Daniel says:

    we’ve already replaced the transmission fluid but still have the same problem…

  33. Daniel says:

    I’ve already checked the transmission dipstick the fluid level is fine , do I have to replace the transmission fluid? I haven’t replace it yet since it was purchase in 2005, do you think it could also be the reason why our car sometimes it fails to reveres? thanks..

    • Austin says:

      I would get a transmission shop to take a test drive with you before you do anything. There is always a chance changing the
      Fluid can make things worse, so have an expert take a drive with you and ask their opinion on changing the fluid

  34. Dave says:

    my car will not move in reverse or forward .. (handbreak is obv down).. any 1 no wat d problem mite b?

    the situation is has has been parked at my hse since about september without moving it ..and snow and all that fell on it .. but this is the first time i will start it .. it works tho but will never move!

    • Austin says:

      Are the brakes rusted/frozen? I see this with older cars that sit up. raise the rear of the vehicle up (assuming a rear wheel drive vehicle–raise front if front wheel drive) with a jack and try to turn the wheels by hand with engine off and in neutral.

  35. Daniel says:

    I’m Having the same problem my Dad’s Ford Lynx sometimes the reverse wont work, and another thing I don’t even know where to check the transmission fluid..

    • Austin says:

      If you are not familiar with checking or finding the transmission dipstick, I would visit your local oil change place and have them check the transmission fluid level for you. Hopefully it’s just a little low.

  36. Schelly says:

    Thanx again Austin…

    I’m aware of the major cost it will be to over haul my car.

    With family in the auto business, I know that program too.

    Gotta drive her (& not back-up) for now…til I have my surgery at least, then we’ll see if anyone can help me with my car.

    I want to keep her, so I intend to shop around!

  37. Schelly says:

    Well….I have no money. Can’t work due to medical issue that COULD BE RESOLVED, if I had insurance or someone would just help ‘fix’ ME!!!

    So…on to the next option?

    Mechanic removed cylenoid pack and has diagnosed; ‘internal transmission’ problem. Says perhaps I can get a trans shop to replace/fix the reverse ‘belt’ as he called it….much less cost than completely rebuilt trans!

    Gave me a name & I’m gonna try this….

    Yes. Yes, it’s a FORD and she’s in awesome shape for her age otherwise (1999)

    I’m homeless (staying w/family & friends waiting to get medical help), unable to work, and I simply CANNOT be ‘Car-Less’!

    But, my credit is bad..everyone around me is dirt-poor and purchasing another vehicle isn’t an option.

    Gotta fix my baby!

    2 wheel drive. Wonder what it may cost….going to research!

    Thank you for your help and suggestions!
    -God Bless!

    • Austin says:

      Word of warning….once you let a transmission shop tear into the insides of the transmission there is not much turning back you are pretty much committed to spending money, and probably a lot of it. its a catch 22, they really cant tell you what the exact problem is or how much it will cost you until they tear it apart, but I have been doing this a long time….once its apart there is no turning back.

      Get a WORST case scenario from them first. They might even offer a payment plan.

      You might also want to think about selling it and downsizing to a cheaper used car….although you take a chance of buying a lemon or one in serious need of repair.

      I think the Kia Rio is one of the best valued vehicles on the market. You can probably make a deal with a Kia dealer used car department to get into a Rio in exchange for your vehicle and probably some cash or a small car note. Worth taking the time to talk to them and get your options. Used car sales are slow now, there is room to deal. I would not get anything with more than 60,000 miles.

  38. Maria says:

    I have a 2007 Mazda CX-7 and recently while I has driving it started kicking back when getting out of 1st gear (felt like a car hitting me from behind). After First gear it drives fine. Also, chooses when it wants to reverse (sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t)… What could this be? do I have a Transmission leaK. Is it expensive to fix?

    • Austin says:

      I think I would get a fast lube oil change place to check your transmission fluid level first, top it off if its low. If its low you could have a leak and you should monitor the ground where you park the vehicle at night and look for drips. I would not suspect transmission failure unless you have 100,000 miles or more so rule out the easy stuff first.

  39. Schelly says:

    Yes…thank u Austin. We checked the fluid. It was a little low and didn’t smell ‘burnt’. Didn’t visibly notice any leaking.

    Going to mechanic on Monday….PRAYING to God that it’s just a linkage problem!

    Pray with?

    Any more suggestions?

    Would it suddenly fail to operate in reverse, yet still drive in D and other gears and still be a trans issue? I have heard both yes and no to this.

    Looking for HOPE!


    • Austin says:

      Prayer always helps πŸ™‚

      Unfortunately reverse gear is usually the first to go and a tell tale sign of irreversible (pun intended) internal wear/damage to the transmission. I cant remember if you said this was a Ford? If so, you can buy a Ford rebuilt transmission from your local dealer and have just about any mechanic install it for you. its a bit more money BUT you get a Ford national warranty good at any Ford dealer and its a much faster repair than from a local transmission shop.

  40. Schelly says:

    1999 Ford Explorer 2 wd, 6 cyl, 175 mi. has been running great for entire ownership. Regular oil changes and is driven ‘lightly’..meaning, I drive SAFE and at posted speed limits. Only 2 owners and first passed on record of every flat tire and routine maintenance.
    A couple years ago, gear selector became ‘sloppy’ meaning the spot for each gear was one click OVER TO THE RIGHT of where it should be. But, I knew it was linkage and everything else was good, so I didn’t worry.
    But, recently with a pulling to the left, I attempted to get the front end aligned and found that I needed an upper front end control arm. We replaced this, changed the oil and spark plugs and she was good as new. Drove for a day, then it rained and well…u know a FORD -she doesn’t like it wet! Once she dried out she no longer stalled, but having to drop into neutral to get her home may have been tough on her?
    Anyway REASON FOR INQUIRY: Now she won’t go into REVERSE! Ugh! I haven’t checked the tranny fluid yet, but I will do so t’moro. I believe it’s the Gear Selector Linkage….any thoughts?
    Thank you for your valuable time,

    • Austin says:

      Did you check the fluid level?? That is first. If the linkage and gear shift lever are loose in the steering column (which is common on Explorer) then you will need to get your mechanic to take a look inside the column. If the linkage is loose onthe transmission then correct that. If the fluid is low then find the leak and correct it.

  41. Lauren says:

    My 2007 Ford Escape will not go into reverse and it seems to lose power going forward. It happened all of the sudden. I did notice that the engine has been sounding a little louder than normal. Will I need a new transmission?

    • Austin says:

      I would start with checking the transmission fluid level first. If fluid is full, you need to see a transmission repair shop and have them diagnosis it for you. Hopefully it will not require a transmission overhaul.

  42. Tasha says:

    I have a buick roadmaster, and it wont reverse, can you tell me why

    • Austin says:

      If its full of transmission fluid you most likely are in for a transmission overhaul. There is internal damage, and reverse gear is usually the first sign of major trouble.

  43. Aprill says:

    Hi, I have a 2000 ford focus, automatic. I recently got a new control arm on the rear end, and a new windsheild and backwindow because it was cracked. Now I got my car back and when it goes in reverse it was jerking abit but now.. it wont go back in reverse at all! I checked the transmission fluid and just put more it in so its full, and the the RPMS doesn’t move when I put it in reverse.

    • admin says:

      If the RPM’s are not moving then the engine is not REVING up? I would …..hummm……what would I do….is check your throttle position sensor. Honestly, I have not seen this issue so I dont have a quick fix answer for you. I would have to start with reading the computer codes and start testing sensors and components. I dont see how a mechanic could have done anything that could have caused this. Sorry I could not assist you but I can only suggest you see a mechanic and have them read your onboard computer codes and go from there.

  44. NICCI says:


    • admin says:

      If the transmission works correctly when it is full of transmission fluid then first things first…fix the transmission leak. Loss of reverse is usually the first sign of internal wear, which will require an overhaul or rebuilt transmission to solve the problem. You MIGHT want to try calling a few junk yards in your area and see how much they want for a used transmission….and how much an extended warranty will cost. Then call your local auto repair shop and see how much they will charge you to install it. Will save some money, but comes with some risk for getting someone elses worn out 14 year old transmission that has been sitting in the junk yard. My personal luck has been about 75% using junk yard transmissions over the years.

  45. Shannon says:

    My car will not go anywhere in reverse. In the other gears it moves but squeals a bit. Any idea what the problem could be?

    Thanks for the help!


    • admin says:

      If this is a standard clutch shift transmission I would suspect you need to replace the clutch. if this is an automatic transmission I would suspect there is a problem inside the transmission or the transmission fluid is LOW, so check the fluid level first.

  46. lakeisha Brown says:

    I have a 2002 ford focus and i was driving up a hill and it strated jurking, and then everything strated flashing on my car it did it twice, and now it want reverse. What is wrong?

    • admin says:

      Umm, I would be a little suspect of a transmission problem…hopefully a simple electrical problem like a sensor and not an internal transmission problem. I have not seen this complaint in my shop so I don’t have any personal experience with this exact complaint but I would definitely get a qualified mechanic to look at it. Preferably a dealership mechanic.

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