Stuck in Reverse

My 2001 S80 Volvo (91,000 miles) has a problem–when I put it in reverse, apply the gas, the car will not move. Sometimes if I shift back to park and then back to reverse, the car moves, but with a clunking sound and it feels as if the car just went over a small rock. At other times it will not move at all. I had a new transmission put in November and a week ago the car would not move out of my garage. A day later when I tried to reverse out of the garage, it did so without any noise or hesitation. The repair shop kept it again for 4 days, ran another bunch of tests and could find nothing. The car drives just fine on the road–still has great acceleration. The problem is driving me nuts–I am afraid to take it out at times as I don’t know when it might not reverse. Does anyone have any idea what is wrong with this car?

You have to keep chasing this shop as this is almost certainly an internal issue on this “new” transmission.

But the transmission was not new. It would have been a rebuild - either rebuilt at the shop or ordered from a rebuilder and installed by them. Whichever the case is the rebuild was not done properly. It is on them to fix it. So keep chasing them.

Since you seem to be backing out of the garage when this happens, try backing into the garage and see if the same thing happens when you pull out. If you are using the parking brake try it without using the parking brake. Correct me if I am wrong because I am guessing you have drum brakes on the rear and that is the source of the problem, based on my similar experiences with a work truck. The brakes would rust shut overnight sometimes and replicated the symptoms you describe.

I agree that the problem might be the park brake.

Thanks for the suggestions to a) keep on the repair shop, and b) to check the parking brake. Actually the repair shop asked me if I used the parking brake—I have not been using it for some time now. I did try backing into the garage and of course there is no problem moving forward in Drive–only when I am backing out of the garage or out of a parking space. I will pursue both these suggestions. Thank you all very much.