Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car will go into gear but only revs

I have a 2001 Honda Civic, and im learning to drive manual. I decided to do some laps around the neighborhood and i dont remember what i did but i turned onto a street and the car jumped forward and then started making a clunking noise. I turned off the car and turned it back on, put it into first and tried to take off but the car only revved. After a while on messing around and trying to get it going i had to call a friend to help me push the car back to my house. As we pushed it the car made the same clunking noise. I dont know how i did this but im not sure what i did. Does anyone know what might of happened.

Jack up the front of the car, put it on jackstands, remove the front tires and inspect the front driveshafts (half-shafts) and the CV joints and check to be sure everything is in one piece…Sounds like a CV joint has failed completely. The driveshaft spins but the car does not move…

1 Like

Yeah, my money too is on a busted CV joint.
But don’t beat yourself up over it. The car is aged enough that it was probably due to go out anyway.

Yeah I agree with that if its front wheel drive. If its rear wheel drive, I’d suspect a U joint.

It’s an '01 Civic. FWD for certain.

So you don’t think it would be something with the clutch or transmission?

Anything is possible, but the fact that it made the noise while being pushed in neutral (I assume with the engine off), coupled with the age of the vehicle, suggests to me a CV joint as the first suspect on the list. CV joints going bad on Civics of this age are much more common than the other possibilities. I’d rule the clutch assembly out, because with the tranny in neutral the clutch assembly won’t turn as you push the vehicle.

Let us know what the shop finds. We do care, but all we can do over the internet is present plausible possibilities. It needs a hands-on look-see to get an actual diagnosis.

That’s a possibility but a broken CV joint is far more likely…Check those first…

All you have to do is crawl under the front a little and take a look at the four CV boots to see if they are torn or shredded. If one is you know for sure and if not it still could be bad. The one I had go bad tore the boot pretty bad and dropped ball bearings on the floor. Pretty obvious.

Probably not the clutch, but it could be a problem inside the transmission. You said you heard the noise when you pushed the car in neutral, and neither the engine nor the transmission input shaft would be turning then. So unlikely to be the clutch, at least if the sound is associated with the actual problem. Pushing in neutral, the wheels, front axles, cv joints, the differential component of the transmission, and the transmission output shaft are what are rotating then.

A shop would put it on the lift , do a visible inspection, and manually rotate the front wheels as the first step towards a diagnosis. Let us know what you find out.