Since the early days of the auto industry, car transmissions have advanced tremendously. The gearbox of a car is usually one of its most durable parts and won’t break quickly. Having said that, what can you do if you’re in a good parking position and your car unexpectedly refuses to drive in reverse?

You need to comprehend why it could happen to you because it could happen out of the blue.

Depending on whether the transmission is manual or automated, various types use various architectural designs. While some difficulties only affect one or the other, some problems can affect either.

These problems can occur with any vehicle at any moment, whether you drive a Ford, a Kia, or a Volkswagen. Therefore, it is best to comprehend why an automobile won’t travel in reverse from all angles.


For Automatic transmissions

  • Autos with automatic transmissions feature shifters that allow you to put the car in drive, park, reverse, neutral, and occasionally sport mode. An electronic sensor that detects movement when the shift lever is engaged informs the powertrain control module of the right position.

You might not be able to switch to any mode, let alone reverse, if this sensor is broken. If you think your automobile might be experiencing this, check the dashboard for the check engine light or use an on-board diagnostics (OBD) device to confirm.

  • A damaged valve body is a part of an automatic transmission that resembles a labyrinth or a circuit board but is made of metal and has a distinct function. This component exists to guarantee that hydraulic fluids enter the valves smoothly.

The valve body enables the transmission to shift smoothly when it is operating properly. You can notice sluggish shifts or even reverse failure if the valve body is broken or worn out.


For Manual transmissions

  • Worn-out lockout ring: When the car is moving forward, the lockout ring helps prevent unwanted shifts. This component prevents the transmission from unintentionally shifting into reverse.

Even if you planned to go in backward, this component may become worn out or damaged, making it impossible for you to do so.

  • An issue with the shifter mechanism is one of the frequent reasons why a manual car won’t move into reverse. You might want to look at the shifter mechanism if it’s been difficult for you to change between all the gear positions.

You might need to repair a part or two, such as the shifter cable or bushings, if something is wrong with it.

  • Defective valve body
    In an automatic transmission, there are bodies. Multiple valves are served by splitting the transmission fluid. The necessary fluid will be sent in order to seamlessly change between each gear at each driving speed.

Your valve body is the main offender if your transmission is not shifting into reverse or the shift occurs slowly.

A shift solenoid is frequently found in the valve body. Your car probably won’t shift into reverse for this reason. While the valve body must be completely changed in certain versions, the shift solenoid can be replaced separately in others.

  • Shifter Cable Failure
    This issue is common with manual transmissions. A horizontal lever will move when you shift up or down thanks to the shifter cable. It will engage a different cable when you move it to the left or right. The shifter assembly is thus raised and lowered. There will be an additional shifter cable on a 6-speed transmission.

Two cables typically connect the transmission to the shifter assembly in manual transmissions. Frequently, an automatic transmission has just one shifter cable.

When these break down, they won’t change into particular gears. Your transmission could be unable to shift into reverse as a result of this. You must readjust your shifter wires if this occurs.


Both Manual and automatic transmissions

The number of kilometers may vary depending on who you ask, but almost everyone will agree that transmission fluid needs to be replaced on a regular basis. Check the date of your most recent transmission fluid restoration if you struggle to shift into reverse.

It’s time to get started right away if it’s been a while or the fluid levels are getting low.


How Much Does a Car That Won’t Reverse Cost to Fix?

An automobile may not drive or shift into reverse for a variety of reasons, as we have already discussed. If you choose to do it yourself, straightforward repairs like changing the transmission fluid and filter may cost you ₱1500 to ₱1600, while minor tweaks may only cost you ₱5000 to ₱10,000.

Of fact, expensive repairs for a broken reverse gear can cost between ₱50,000 and ₱100,000. And the replacement of a full transmission begins at that high-end.


Reverse Gear Problems

The transmission is the most complicated component of a car, next behind the engine. Examining straightforward causes, such as changing the fluid and filter, should be the first step in solving issues like a manual or automatic transmission that won’t shift into reverse.

While dealing with a car that won’t reverse occasionally simply necessitates a modest adjustment or tiny part replacement, keep in mind that gearbox repair can be pricey.



There are numerous potential causes for why an automobile won’t reverse. We’ve examined five of the most typical causes, and using these information to diagnose your car should be a breeze. You should maintain your composure during the entire procedure, regardless of the cause.

Avoid tampering with things you are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable fixing. It is preferable to call someone if your car won’t shift into reverse in the middle of a journey.

Get your car to a safe location while you make a friend call or, even better, roadside help.