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

How to Fix a Transmission That Won't Back Up

by David Montoya

A car that won't back up properly is indicative of several possible problems, some which depend on whether you have an automatic or manual transmission. Generally speaking, reverse shifting problems stem from transmission fluid problems. More diffucult problems include transmission wear and damage that may require expensive repair work. Troubleshoot the problem at first to determine the underlying issue first. A thorough elimination process allows you to find easily fixed problems and avoid an expensive mechanic's bill.

1

Run the engine for several minutes before attempting to put the car in reverse again. With both automatic and manual transmissions, transmission fluid may need time to heat up before it flows properly. This is especially true in the winter and for drivers located in cold regions.

2

Shift the clutch into first and second gear several times before attempting to shift into reverse if you have a manual transmission. Sometimes the clutch jams between the torque converter. Some minimal shifting between gears usually loosens the clutch, which enables you to put the car in reverse again.

3

Check the transmission fluid level for both manual and automatic transmissions and check the clutch fluid for manual transmissions. Remove the dip sticks and look at the fluid levels compared to the minimal level hash mark on the dip stick. Add more fluids accordingly, using a funnel to ensure all fluids pour directly into the appropriate opening.

4

Inspect your parking spot for fluid stains. This indicates a leak from your car and a likely transmission fluid leak if you continue to experience problems shifting in reverse after adding additional transmission fluid. Take your car into a mechanic to prevent long lasting transmission damage.

5

Return your car to the body repair shop if you had recent rear end damage fixed. Remaining rear damage, especially near the axle, may prevent your car from reversing while seemingly leaving all other gears unaffected.

Items you will need

About the Author

David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images