Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Rolling when in gear

I have recently purchased a new Honda insight. The car is nice, but I am concerned that it rolls forward when in reverse slightly when I back out of my garage and it rolls backward sometimes when Im at a stop light or on an incline when in drive. Is this normal?

Yes, it is normal, and I assume that you only ask the question b/c the transmission is an automatic. Unless you are in higher gears at a steady speed the link between the engine and transmission is actually a fluid link - i.e. your transmission fluid is being flung around by the rotation of the engine and that flinging of fluid actually pushes the transmission. So maybe you have a mechanical “gears” connection in your head. If you get rid of that image it makes more sense.

yes this an automatic
just feels weird
I have driven manual trans. cars and expected the roll
have driven other auto trans. cars that never had a roll
why with this model is it so noticeable?

I haven’t driven an Insight, so I can only guess.

It is a light car with low rolling resistance tires. If you had to push the car around by hand I imagine it would be easy to push. This means it will roll easily on its own on slight uphill or downhill slopes.

The transmission is a CVT type automatic transmission. This kind of transmission completely disengages when in drive and you are not moving. A conventional auto trans in drive is engaged and will move forward when the motor is running on level ground when you take your foot off the brake petal. The same “pull” will keep the car from moving backward on a slight uphill grade.

They are differnt systems, in short order you’ll adjust to the Insight. When you get lots of mpg’s you may not mind the differences at all.

The majority of new cars have this same problem. Welcome to progress.

I have been driving automatics for 50+ years but the newest one was a 2001 S-10 which I drove 2005K miles. I don’t remember any one of them that would roll forward in Reverse or roll backward in Drive, with the engine running, unless you were on a steep incline. I’m not sure they would even then.

It’s a fuel economy thing. They don’t want the engine constantly pushing the drive train, as the old torque converters did.