Changing gears from reverse to drive

My wife always chastises me for not coming to a complete stop from backing up before I shift the car into drive. I do not shift when the car is still moving more than 1-2 MPH, in fact it is barely moving when I change gears. My wife insists that I come to a complete stop and wait 1-2 seconds before shifting from reverse to drive. She is convinced that I am doing damage to the transmission the way I shift. I insist that no damage is being done and point out that with over 100,000 miles there have been no transmission problems with the car.

Am I damaging the transmission by shifting before I come to a complete stop in reverse?

Yes. How much? Who knows. It puts added stress on the motor/trans. mounts, too. She’s also wrong, no need to wait 1-2 seconds. Just stop, then shift.

I’ll go against the grain here and say that as long as there is no jerk/jolt when you switch from reverse to drive you are okay and doing no damage.

You should come to a complete stop when changing from reverse to drive and vice versa. No need to wait; shift as soon as you come to a complete stop.

Yea, it is better to to stop totally. When I drive automatic I always follow that advice. Those 2 seconds you save are really not worth the cost of a transmission repair.

It’s great to do everything perfectly but most people can’t. A habit is hard to break and most transmissions can and do take that kind of use.

Yes. There are one way clutches in your transmission which are taking the stress of your bad habit. Stop the car before changing to drive…


I am wondering what pressing matters in his life have led the OP to believe that he can’t afford the time (perhaps a second or two?) to come to a complete stop before shifting from reverse to drive.

In other words–If your life causes you to be so pressed for time that you can’t take a brief moment to come to a complete stop before shifting, it might be time to examine the totality of your existence.

That being said, wifey’s insistance that he remain at a dead stop for 1-2 seconds before shifting is also a bit ridiculous.

If the OP wants to extend the life of both his transmission and his marriage, he will come to a complete stop before shifting from reverse to drive. Perhaps if he shows wifey a print-out of the responses to his query, she will back off on her demand.

Expensive though they may be, transmissions can easily be repaired or purchased if they are destroyed or otherwise fail.

Marriages not so much. Its a simple thing. Just do what she asks.

Put your car on a flat level surface in neutral with the engine off. Get out and push it until it’s going 1-2 mph. Now try to suddenly stop it and reverse its direction. Takes lots of energy, doesn’t it?

When you shift from reverse to drive while the car is still moving, you put that much force on the drivetrain. The inertial energy of the car’s movement is converted by the torque converter into heat, as are loads placed on other parts of the drivetrain. While you can probably get away with doing this forever without a tranny failure, you might not be so lucky. Why chance it? Besides, if the tranny does fail, guess who you’ll be explaining too? You know you’ll never live it down.

Come to a full stop but don’t wait. That’s actually the correct way to do it, but make her think you’re compromising.

PostScript: don;t actually try the pushing suggestion. I wrote it to create an image in your mind to emphasize a point. Actually trying it could be dangerous.