Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

Why Will My Car Go in Reverse But Not Forward?

by David McGuffin

If you are driving an automatic transmission vehicle and it can only go in reverse, you may have a serious transmission issue that can only be solved by a mechanic. However, some transmission problems can be fixed by the novice do-it-yourself mechanic.

Faulty Transmission

You may have a faulty transmission.

Typically, when a vehicle is losing one or more gears, it is most likely a problem with your transmission or gear shifter. If the problem lies with the inner parts of the transmission, you will need to have it serviced or replaced by a professional mechanic who specializes in transmission repair.

Low Transmission Fluid

Check your transmission fluid.

Once your vehicle has warmed up, check the transmission fluid level by removing the transmission dipstick, wiping it clean and reinserting it into the dipstick check. Remove the dipstick and note the transmission fluid level as indicated by the minimum and maximum lines on the dipstick. Add more transmission fluid if it is low.


Tow your car to a mechanic's shop if you've lost one or more gears.

If you have lost one or more gears from your vehicle transmission, it is not safe to drive your car on the road and it must be towed to a mechanic's shop for repair. Do not attempt to drive a vehicle, even for short distances, that does not have a properly working transmission.

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • Bizhan33/iStock/Getty Images