Tight squeeze escape

In a Car Talk column, Tome & Ray suggested that when one is trapped bumper-to-bumper when parked, one should put the car in drive and then slowly squeeze the gas pedal until the car in front moves a couple of feet. This should be repeated (in reverse gear) for the car behind. Wouldn’t this wreck all three vehicle’s transmissions? Are transmissions built to allow such movement without damage?

First the car in front and back should have their parking brake fully engaged so their transmissions should not feel a thing.

Your transmission should be able to spin the tyres so it should not harm it as long as you don’t make a habit of doing it. I can’t say about bumper damage.

Personally I would be hesitant to try that trick.

Finding the owners of the blocking cars was not suggested?

So T&R are assuming that the “Drive” gear of the blocked car would have enough force to push only the wheels of the blocking cars, and that the “Park” gears (assuming both blocking cars have automatic trannys) could withstand the force all without stripping.

Guess if someone is out of patience, this is a valid option. Just doesn’t sit well.

I wouldn’t, folks are so eager to sue these days I can imagine being sued for every thing that was wrong with each of the two ‘pushed’ cars. And with so many cell phone cameras, I bet someone would record it for posterity (and court). A very bad idea, only for use in an emergency (one that precludes calling a cab).

T&R were joking. Unfortunately they don’t always make it clear that they’re joking.

Yes, this could easily damage the trannys of the cars in front and back, specifically the parking pawls. You could be civilly and even criminally liable, depending on your state laws. And if the cars if front and back are big luxury cars and you have a Mini you could damage your drivetrain too.

Yes, it was, but the mentioned technique was recommended as a last resort.

The column can be found at http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/2009/August/01.html

I don’t think Tom and Ray were joking. Their description of the technique was much too detailed for it to be a joke.