Trying to reverse your car and your car deciding to not reverse is, at best, annoying, and at worst, dangerous. Here are five reasons why your car might not reverse.
Insufficient quantity or quality of fluid can cause just about any transmission problem. If your car won’t reverse properly, check your fluid. If the level is too low, top it up and see if that helps. Also, look at the fluid and give it a whiff. Good automatic transmission fluid is largely translucent with a slight reddish hue and it is neutral smelling. Foul smelling or opaque fluid is indicative of a larger problem and you should bring your vehicle in for an inspection. Manual transmissions can also use transmission fluid or they use some kind of oil, and these should also be checked.
There are a number of sensors within your transmission that allow it to run. When you shift an automatic transmission into reverse with the gearshift, an electronic sensor sends a message to the powertrain control module that the transmission should be go into reverse. However, if the sensor malfunctions, it might send the wrong message, or no message it all. Such a problem is often accompanied by the illumination of the check engine light. At Mister Transmission, we can interface with your vehicle’s onboard computer to deal with such a sensor issue.
In automatic transmissions, the valve body directs hydraulic fluid to the valves. It looks like a big maze. The fluid allows gears to shift smoothly, but if there is an obstruction or other impairment, there could be a delay in the shift or simply no shift at all.
If you drive a manual transmission and notice it is very difficult to shift in reverse, the shifter linkage or cables are often to blame. Sometimes the shifter bushings are the problem, which would be preferable, because replacing them is easier and cheaper, so it’s usually the first thing to try.
No, you don’t need to go to the dentist. There are many interlocking “teeth” in a transmission. These teeth need to be aligned and in good shape, otherwise the gears don’t work properly. This can be a problem in manual transmission especially. Always make sure to come to a complete stop before shifting from drive to reverse, because replacing these gear teeth require the removal of the transmission, which is often expensive and time consuming.