My Infinity Won't Go in Reverse

by Michael Remmert
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Beautiful interior of the new modern car image by terex from

Transmission problems can be extremely costly to repair. Often, transmissions have to be taken out and completely disassembled to find the cause of a problem, a job only experienced transmission mechanics can do. Do not trust "on-the-fly" mechanics trying to take out your transmission in their backyards, promising to fix the problem. If a car does not shift into reverse, chances are very high that internal damage causes the malfunction. However, there are a few things you can try to do yourself before you pay a transmission shop to do the job.

Step 1

Check the transmission selector switch on your Infinity. All Infinities have electronically controlled transmissions. If the switch is bad, the computer does not receive the correct signal to shift into reverse. Those switches can go bad over time, due to corrosion or gunk getting them stuck. A quick fix would be shifting from "Park" to "Low" very fast, several times. Sometimes, that maneuver loosens gunk or corroded rust and the signal passes through, moving the switch again. If that does not work, have your transmission shop do the job. The parts should not cost you more than about $180; however, any work on a transmission is labor-intensive because a lot of parts have to come off to reach broken parts like the switcher. Even experienced transmission shops will need three to four hours to take out old switchers and put new ones in.

Step 2

Change the transmission fluid. It is a good idea to change the filter as well. It is an inexpensive attempt to rule out another possibility before you have major repair work done: sometimes small particles, like gunk, hardened lubricant or metal splinters get stuck between the transmission discs. There should be a drain bolt underneath your transmission fluid pan. Loosen it, then let the old transmission fluid drain. If there is a transmission filter, take that out, too. Almost all Infinities only have little screens, not elaborate affairs like oil filters, between the transmission fluid pan and the main fluid line. Refill in the neck where the dipstick is located. Use a funnel to avoid overflow. Transmission fluid is expensive, so try not to waste any. Some people go as far as unscrewing the pan and wiping it clean from the inside. If you do that, you will have to replace the pan gasket as well.

Step 3

Rebuild the transmission if the other steps failed. Like with most other cars, a rebuild on an Infinity is expensive; it will cost you about $2,000. Make sure you take your car to an experienced transmission shop. Reputable businesses will offer you a warranty over three years or 60,000 miles on your rebuild transmission.

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