Accidentally Turned Off Engine

Hello viewers, today I parked my 2014 Toyota Corolla while the shift was in drive and I turned off my engine. I let go of the brakes and it began to move backwards. I then realized what happened and shifted to Park and took out the keys and turned the engine back on to park it correctly. The on screen display seemed to restart or something when I did so. Will this hurt my vehicle? It is a CVT transmission by the way. Thanks

Can you estimate how fast you were moving when you shifted to park? Was there much of a jolt ? Does it drive OK now?

No harm done.

This would be the same as allowing the engine to idle in drive until the gas tank ran empty and the engine shut off.


OK, I was parked so why did it move in reverse?

All gears (except park) are like Neutral when the engine is off. If you weren’t moving then there couldn’t possibly be any damage.

Because it was rolling downhill.

Your car may have something that used to be called an emergency brake but is actually a parking brake. Use it.

You guys aren’t making any sense, I stopped the car using my brakes while the shift was still in D. I turned off the engine, let go of the brakes and it began to reverse until I applied the brakes again (I was not parking uphill).

You don’t need to be parked on a hill.

If there’s the slightest incline where you parked, the vehicle will roll in that direction.

If you take a 4 foot carpenters level and lay it down in the area where you parked, I guarantee the bubble won’t be centered.


When the engine is off there is absolutely nothing that the car can do to propel itself. It doesn’t take much of a slope to allow the car to roll. Just a slight belly in the pavement under one wheel can allow this to happen.

Alright thanks, so nothing mechanically is even damaged to the slightest extent?


@IDriveA2014Corolla–I’ve been following your posts about “gas cap click”, buying “the right gasoline” and now “accidentally turned off engine” and I see trouble ahead. Modern cars have sensors that pick up nervousness of the driver and relay the information to the car’s computer. Sometimes, this causes some cars to make strange noises or do other weird things just to see its owner flip out. Some cars even read the date and really give the owner a scare on Halloween. You certainly don’t want this to happen to you, so quit worrying.
Actually, I had better confess that I made the above “information” or one of the regulars will take me to task. Don’t be timid about putting a little extra pressure on the gas cap to hear the click when you fill up. I have two Toyota vehicles which we purchased brand new. They thrive on the 87 octane and it doesn’t matter where I buy the gas. I’ve also been guilty of turning off the key while the vehicle was in “Drive”. It didn’t hurt a thing.
You chose wisely in buying a car and it is obvious you want to take good care of it. Keep up the maintenance as prescribed in your owner’s manual, check the oil weekly as opposed to weakly, don’t text while driving and enjoy your new ride.

No…no damage. I used to turn off the ignition in drive on an old Pontiac that I drove years ago. It had a habit of “dieseling” when the ignition was turned off in “park.” I just kept my foot on the brake and shifted to park when the engine died. The old Pontiac would have rolled back or forward depending on the terrain where it was parked if I had taken my foot off the brake. You took your foot off the brake and the vehicle simply responded to the terrain.

new corollas have a CVT trans? is it a corolla hybrid?

You did no damage as long as the car was not rolling faster than a person could walk.
And you would have noticed if you had been moving that fast. Had you been going fast enough to do damage you would have heard a loud grinding sound from the parking pawl trying to engage.
You didn’t mention that …so no problem. Drive on and enjoy the car.

I sincerely doubt that anyone posting here has not done this by accident once in their life.

This especially occurs with people that normally drive a car with a standard transmission and happen to drive an automatic one day. They forget that they have to shift to park. It’s easy to do!!!

My mom and I go on road trips once every two weeks and whenever I hop in her PT Cruiser I reach for the shifter on the column (hers is on the floor) I always turn the wipers on, because my trucks shifter is there.

I had a truck that also had the wipers where the column shifter would be. I drove a forklift and while driving that, the forward/reverse lever was in the same place. I’d catch myself at least once a week…ready to leave work and trying to shift my truck by the wiper lever.

It’s just one of those things to laugh off.


I will validate Yosemite’s statement… I know I’ve made the same mistake, and I too doubt if anyone who’s been driving for more than a decade hasn’t made the same mistake you have… And it’s totally harmless. Embarrassing, but harmless.

Thanks for all of the responses!

@Cavell‌ , yeh all new 2014-2015 Corollas except the L base have CVT transmissions now

what is the length of warranty for trans? i assume it is tucked into the powertrain warranty? 100k? what does the warranty say about trans service at 30k or 60k or whatever?

Actually there is a bit of good news in there for you. You did absolutely no damage, but if the vehicle rolled on a surface that appeared essentially flat to you, that means your car has very little rolling resistance, which is a good thing for gas mileage and engine longevity.

BTW, setting the parking brake, even on flat ground, is a good habit to get into. The only exception might be on flat ground in winter when you have driven through slush and the outside temperature is or will soon go below 32F and you need to drive it again before the temperature rises above 32F long enough for the ice to melt.