Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

My car will not go into reverse

The car will not go into reverse unless i rev the engine sometimes that does not always work



i currently just had the rad replaced wondering what could cause this if that was the cause or not



any help would be great no one can give me a straight answer since it still goes into reverse

Comments

  • edited September 2010
    What kind of car and how old? I'm guessing this is an automatic transmission?

    If so, your transmission fluid may be burned or low. Some radiators have a section for cooling the transmission fluid. If you just had the radiator replaced, they may not have put sufficient fluid in to fill the cooling section of the radiator (or maybe they didn't even route the fluid into the radiator). First step: Start the engine on level ground and let it warm up a few minutes. While engine is running check the fluid (this is the procedure for most cars, but check your owner's manual). If fluid is low, some more needs to be added, but very carefully to prevent over-filling and the funnel needs to be absolutely clean. Also, only use the fluid recommended in your manual. DON'T put fluid in the oil fill. While you're looking at the fluid, check the color. If it's light red and clean, it's ok. If it's dark brown or dark red and smells burnt, it's bad fluid and needs to be replaced. Different things will cause the fluid to be burnt, so replacing it may not fix the problem.

    Now here's the tricky part. If you take it to a "transmission place" like AAMCO, they will try to sell you a rebuilt transmission no matter what. They will even refuse to replace the fluid, because they know once they do that the transmission will probably run fine and you won't buy a replacement. You must go to someone who is trustworthy. If you need to rev it to get it into reverse, it's because it isn't developing enough pressure to operate the reversing valve. This can be low fluid, plugged lines, trapped air, bad fluid, or a software problem on high-end transmissions.

    Maybe you can just park it so it's facing uphill?

    If this is a very new car, or a luxury car, it may be an electronic transmission. These are touchy, so only a qualified mechanic can troubleshoot and repair it.
  • edited September 2010
    Because you just had radiator work done, my first guess is that the radiator people somehow messed up the transmission, because the transmission fluid goes through the radiator to cool it. It could be as simple as air in the system or low fluid, or it could be worse. Go back to the radiator place and ask them to check the transmission fluid level and that the transmission cooler is hooked up correctly.
  • edited September 2010
    Just start the engine, pull the transmission dipstick and wipe it off, re-install it, pull it out and look at the level of the fluid. It it is spotted all over the stick let it run a couple of minutes with the stick out and wiped clean and them install, remove and inspect the level. It should be near the add level if cold and near the upper range if hot. If the fluid barely wets the end of the dipstick, or worse no fluid is on the stick, add a quart of Dexron and re-check the level. And if fluid is needed look at the radiator to see if transmission fluid is leaking at the cooler connections.
  • edited September 2010
    2002 grand am se (american made)

    fluid is fine that is the first thing i have checked but still cannot seem to find the cause of this or how to resolve this but one thing that caught my attention was transmission cooler i will have them check this and yes it is an automatic as well which caught me more off gaurd
  • edited October 2010
    Just curious how you fixed it, and if it was the radiator issue...i have the same exact problem, so I'd like to know how this got fixed...Thanks.
  • edited October 2010
    Was it acting up before the radiator replacement?? Why was the radiator replaced?? If engine coolant got into the transmission, its had it. It will need to be torn down, vatted and rebuilt.


    transman
  • edited October 2010
    Didn't have this problem before the coolant system servicing...I had some other issue (battery fuse box melted) before and when i had it fixed, the guy recommended i get the coolant system serviced...Its a 2003 Golf GTI automatic transmission.
This discussion has been closed.