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Honda Civic in reverse

I have a 2004 Honda Civic LX with 5 speed manual transmission. For a while now, I notice that, about 1/2 the time, when I put the car in reverse, the gear does not engage. Sometimes I can just go back to neutral and then in reverse to get it engaged. Other times I have to put it in first and move forward a little bit and then put in reverse.

I have taken it to my mechanic and he says it was nothing to worry about but it is a bit of a pain especially when you are in a tight spot.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Is this normal as a transmission gets older. The car has about 70K miles on it.

Reverse does not have a synchroniser. Therefore if the car is moving just a tiny bit, or if the clutch isn’t completely depressed you’ll have trouble putting into reverse. When you put the trans in 1st it is easier because it has a synchro, the spinning gears in the trans stop spinning when it goes in 1st and that makes it go into reverse easier.

Tips, make sure your seat is forward enough so you can push the clutch petal all the way to the floor. Wait a 1 - 2 count then move the gear selector to reverse. The slight pause gives the trans a moment to stop spinning. Make sure the car is perfectly still when you go for reverse.

If you are doing all these things, then you may have a clutch that is showing some wear and not disengaging completely. Hope it isn’t the clutch.

I run into the same thing with my truck and it’s normal.

As mentioned, reverse gear has no synchro but also reverse gear is a straight cut gear. So when going into reverse sometimes the gear teeth line up and it won’t go into gear. I do the same thing when this happens. I put it first gear and move forward just a little bit and then it goes into reverse.