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Rolling Wheels

What does it mean if you are stopped on a hill, heading up, with your foot on the brake, and the car rolls backwards when you try to step on the gas pedal…

Depending on the hill it could be completely normal.

hmmm…do you mean normal for a new Camry? my old one held still on a hill…I had that one for 14 years! this is making me nervous…i was at a stop sign and felt like I was learning to ddrive a manual transmission…

It’s normal for a new camry.

The engine is connected to the drivetrain through a fluid coupling device called a “torque converter”. It’s sort of like a bagel cut in half, hollowed out with vanes added, and filled with fluid. When the front half starts spinning, the fluid oulled by the vanes drags the back half along like paddlewheels drive riverboats. When the front is turning very slowly like at idle there’s insufficient turbulance to pull the back half enough to overcome the brakes.

In the old days there used to be enough pull to begin the car moving when you took your foot off the brakes. Today’s torque converters leave the engine almost totally disconnected when sitting with the brakes on. It may be to improve city mileage, as load on the engine causes at least a bit more gas consumption to overcome it. I really don’t know.

Some auto transmissions have a “hill hold” feature built into them. Some others creep strongly at idle when in gear. Even Camry transmissions change from year to year, it had a 4 speed auto circa 2000, went to 5 speed auto around 2005, and now have a 6 speed in some models.

This car is different than your other Camry. I’m not an advocate of left footed braking, but in this case I feel is OK. On a hill when stopped on a steep grade, before the traffic ahead starts to move put your left foot on the brake petal. Hold the car briefly with both feet. When it is time to go first move your right foot to the gas petal, then release you left foot off the brakes when you feel your car pull forward. You won’t roll back an inche and you should feet in total contol.

I drive one car with a stick and find other driver’s pull up close to my tail end wheen I’m on a hill. They shouldn’t be so close. I learned to stop behind the car or truck in front of me when I could just see where the tires of the car in front contact the road surface. Doing this puts enough room between cars for added safety.

If the OP is attempting to ask, “Is it normal for a modern car to roll backwards on a hill when the driver releases his foot from the brake pedal?”, then the answer is…yes.

As previously stated, modern designs for automatic transmissions are intended to maximize fuel economy. As one of the consequences of this type of design, unlike cars of yesteryear, most modern cars will roll backwards while in gear unless the brake is applied.