Reverse won't work - but not all the time...?

2012 Trailblazer 4x4. Got up this morning to go to work, no reverse gear. I pushed it out & drove to work (15 miles). Got to work & reverse works fine now. Drove home & parked. An hour later I go out & again, no reverse. Can anyone tell me what’s going on?

No “pops” or odd noises. All forward gears seem to be working fine.

Hard to say.

Since the transmission is electronically controlled, the problem might be with the transmission range switch.

Try putting the transmission into reverse and see if the back-up lights come on.


Thank you, “Tester”. Next time it fails I will check that.

I went out just now & put it in reverse & it worked. It will likely fail again tomorrow morning, when I’m late for work!

If reverse works when you get home back in your drive at least in the morning you can get to work on time.

Done, Volvo V70!!! Lol!

Check fluid level and take it in to have the pressure readings checked. Might be OH time but agree just back it in for a while.

Make sure you press the brake hard enough before putting it in reverse.

Has the transmission ever been serviced? You might add a bottle of Trans-Medic or Trans-X and if that improves things have the transmission serviced and hope for the best.

I don’t know what the problem is, but symptoms like this, the first thing to do is a proper service. If that doesn’t fix it, then on to more invasive tests. It’s quite possible a service will fix it, and if not, maybe all that’s needed is a switch needing an adjustment or a solenoid replaced.

Thank you all for the responses. To answer a question from the top of this thread. Yes, the backup lights come on when in reverse even when the gear is failing to engage.

It’s not a problem if you have a circular driveway:)

In the way-back machine…
low fluid would cause odd and temporary ‘‘functions’’.
Do you partk on an incline…when it most often doesn’t work right ?

I had a car that had been sitting for over a year before I owned it. The transmission’s seals had dried out and shrunk, and reverse would only work once the car warmed up. Of course this was a purely mechanical transmission, no electronics. Gradually reverse worked better and better as I owned the car until there was only a short delay even in cold weather.

You may have a failing internal seal in the transmission too if the problem is not electrical/electronic.