Is my "reverse" gear broken?

My 2002 Saturn wagon doesn’t have many miles - less than 50,000. My trusty service station just changed the oil and gave it a clean bill of health. But I still feel like it pulls when I drive it in reverse - like the handbrake is still on or something.

We are about to drive to Maine from Washington, DC - via Cape Cod - and I really need my car in working order before our big road trip. What can this be?

Automatic or manual transmission? Did it do it before the oil change? Did you ask them about it? How far have you driven it in reverse? Do you use the parking brake when you park?

Park on a level parking lot. Make sure the parking brake is off, the engine is off and the transmission in neutral. Stand inside the open driver’s door and see if the car will roll back and forth easily. I call this a “roll check”. If it does not roll easily then I think your parking brake is stuck or out of adjustment. Most parking brakes will allow you to drive forward without noticing it too much but you will notice it a lot more in reverse.

It’s an automatic transmission; was like this before the oil change. I will go out now to try the roll test. I only rarely use the parking brake but we’ve had a babysitter driving it around all summer in the car and it’s possible that she uses the parking brake. The sensation is very much like the parking brake is still on.

the rear brake automatic adjuster may be sticking. It is supposed to adjust the drums when you are backing up. but if the hand brake was not used for a long time it could have gotten stuck when it finally was used. You need to take this car to the a qualified brake repairman, and have him pull off both the real drums to check them out. While it is true that you will notice this more in reverse, it is also stuck when in forward, and it can cause the linings and drums to get glazed and then the brakes wont work at all, which as we all know is somewhat dangerous.

this so helpful! I hope my neighborhood service station can handle this since I obviously have no Saturn dealership to take it to.