Auto transmission on hills


My 2005 Ford Focus sitting on an uphill rolls back downhill just when I release the brake even when my automatic transmission is on drive. Is this normal? I used to think that when the car is on “drive” the gear is always engaged so why does the car roll back? I must add that I am talking about a 40-45 degree gradient hill.


Its normal. Some transmissions are more apt to do it then others.


A 40-45 degree hill is incredibly steep. Might you be exaggerating? I don’t think there’s an auto transmission anywhere in the world that would hold a car at idle on such a grade.

But even if we are talking about a far more reasonable slope, it is still normal for a modern automatic transmission to allow a rollback. That’s how they make 'em these days.


Ya.I think I might have exaggerated a bit. My apartment is at the foot of a small hill and every morning to get to the road I have to negotiate the slope not that steep but no that gentle either. Anyway thanks for your comments!!!


This can be normal on a steep hill. Just give it a little more power before you realease the brake (drive two-footed) or be quick.


Completely normal…



Normal. The amount of load at idle in gear has been reduced to the lowest possible amount to reduce fuel consumption in an automatic transmission. These idle gear loads (spinning the torque converter in an oil bath) require more power than an engine that is only spinning the input shaft (manual transmissions). By reducing the transmission load, there is less “hold” on a hill. That’s the price of progress and fuel economy.