Shifting into park while moving

I accidentally shifted my automatic transmission car into park while moving at a slow speed, under 10mph. I heard a couple clicks and then immediately stepped on the brake. I estimate I traveled less than 20 ft after shifting into park. I did not have any trouble driving or stopping the car afterward. I am wondering if I caused damage to me car or if I managed to avoid damage.

" I am wondering if I caused damage to me car or if I managed to avoid damage."

As well you should…But if it still functions normally and “park” still works, you dodged a bullet…

If park still holds the car, I wouldn’t worry about it, but don’t do it again. Most vehicles can survive something like this happening to them, but then again, most people can survive a running tackle from a 300 pound linebacker also. Try to avoid doing this, as it is not good for your park mechanism. The terrible sound it undoubtedly made when it happened can serve as a reminder not to let this happen, unless you like that sound. Most people don’t.

The “couple clicks” that you heard was probably the park pawl going into a “ratchet mode”, rather than actually grabbing. Thus, the design of this mystery vehicle’s transmission probably saved you from some very expensive repairs.

Some transmissions are designed to do what yours did, and others will sustain serious transmission damage when subjected to bone-headed stunts like this. Don’t take this one experience as evidence that you can continue to do things like this to your car. As was said, it appears that you dodged a bullet this time, but next time you might not be as lucky.

There was an episode of “Mythbusters” dedicated to this, and they found that (at least with a post-taxi Crown Vic) ATs have been automated to the point where they “won’t let you” do something as damaging as that: they just override the driver input.

I’d suggest being extra sure to use the parking brake from now on, in case the parking pawl was damaged in some way that’s not obvious now.

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Which in general is good practice regardless. Applying the parking brake before you engage park is always a good idea. It’s one of those procedures that’s recommended in many manuals that many of us fail to follow.

Years ago when I drove an automatic transmission car for the first time, I was o.k. until I came to the first stop signal. A hot rodder in a souped up 1934 Ford coupe was gunning his engine. I decided to give him a run. I put the transmission in “D” for drag. The hotrodder started to pull ahead, so I shifted the tranmsission into “L” for lunge. We were abreast for a while then he started gaining on me. I then shifted into “P” for power and I learned that automatic transmissions were neither user friendly nor good for hot-rodding.

Before you engage park, or at least before you release the main brake. Some cars make it difficult to engage the parking brake before you shift into park. The important thing is to not release the foot brake before the parking brake is set.

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So when the car was turned off, you didn’t notice that it was in “‘P’ for power”? Interesting. I guess Mr. Tesla’s Serbian accent prevented you from fully understanding his instructions.

After this experience, I did understand that “P” stood for PARK. The next time I drove the automatic and got into a stoplight drag race, I started in “D” for DRAG. As the other car pulled ahead, I shifted to “L” for LUNGE. I was going along pretty well until the other car pulled ahead. This time I shifted into “R” for RACE. I had the same disasterous results as before.

I can vouch for that. I once put my Bronco into park whilst traveling at 45 MPH (the transmission was getting rebuilt the next day anyway), and I had supreme confidence that nothing would happen. Shockingly, nothing happened, the vehicle just continued driving. Disclaimer: Don’t try it yourself

I think that most if not all electronically controlled transmissions have that safety measure built in. I’m not sure if older hydraulically controlled units do or not, I kinda doubt they do.

What about “N” for NO-PASSING-ME?

"Some cars make it difficult to engage the parking brake before you shift into park. "
Just out of curiosity, how is that ? Maybe I missed something or don’t drive the right cars.

Or D2 for the second drag race ?

My car has an electronic parking brake. It has conditions that have to be met before it will set, and before it will release. It actually works quite well. (And, yes, it will also function as an emergency brake.)

You would not have had this problem with the GM hydramatic transmissions manufactured through the early 1950’s. These automatic transmissions didn’t have a Park position on the selector. The transmission was supposed to be put in R or reverse when parked with the handbrake set. The 1948 Pontiac equipped with the hydramatic transmission was really interesting. The starter was activated by a pedal on the floor that pushed the starter drive into the flywheel and at the same time closed the electrical switch for the starter. In addition, there was a lever connected to the transmission selector that moved it into neutral automatically when you depressed the starter pedal.

I don’t think that the Chrysler PowerFlite transmissions had a park position either.

I agree with those who said that your car of unknown year, make and model was evidently equipped with the ability to protect itself against your error…as today’s electonically controlled trannys typically are.

You may sleep soundly.

I have a 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5SL and I have got a bad temper and on several occasions I have slammed it into park while driving about 20 mph.The first time it clanked and jerked now it basically does nothing but make clicking noises. I am not sure if I did anything to it but it has the CVT transmission and it shifts and runs like new still.

I think that both your temper problem and your transmission need to be checked.

You have probably snapped the “park pawl” inside the transmission case, and you should make sure that your e-brake is firmly applied every time that you park the car. Just be prepared for a fairly high repair cost, as opening the trans case will involve a lot of labor.

As to your temper problem, perhaps a different forum can give you some suggestions for remedying it.