Car Won't Go in Reverse

Shifting gears is the activity which enables a vehicle to increase and decrease its speed and also to go from forward to neutral or reverse. When the car shifts in an in continuous manner, the gear changes are delayed, accelerated, or slamming. Low manual transmission fluid is the most common problem in transmissions. When the transmission fluid levels are not high enough, it causes major problems in the shifting. That means that the gear change does not have enough pressure to make the shift.

The first cars all had a manual transmission with a clutch. To change gears, you had to press a clutch pedal and move from one gear to the next. Transmission fluid and gear oil has been used to lubricate the gears. As the automotive design became more sophisticated, the manual transmission emerged which uses transmission fluid to lubricate and also to keep things cool. Today, the car has great performance as long as the transmission system is operating properly.

Importance of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is a hydraulic fluid and one of the most important fluids in your car’s system whether it is an automatic or manual transmission. The transmission fluid is usually red; yet, it may be different colors depending on the brand. The type of transmission fluid also differs depending on the year, make, and model of your car.

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The fluid keeps things cool in the automatic and facilitates shifting, as well as lubricate the parts. Heat is absorbed and transferred to the radiator. The torque converter requires transmission fluid for hydraulic circuit formation to transfer the rotational force between the engine and the transmission. Transmission fluid also decreases slippage and facilitates transfers of power to the engine.

Transmission Fluid Problems Car Hard to Shift

If your car has absolutely no transmission fluid at all, you won’t be able to change gears. You may hear a scrubbing when you try to move from one gear to the next. If you hear the scrubbing, your vehicle is past the beginning stages of a transmission fluid or transmission problem. Insufficient transmission fluid levels can also cause pauses in the shifts to drive and to reverse. for a few seconds.

This means that the gear change does not have sufficient pressure to make the gear shift. In this case, the gears may be totally unresponsive. The manual transmission operates a little longer without sufficient transmission fluid. Still, the manual transmission eventually starts to malfunction. Here are the most common problems involving transmission fluid that affect your gear shifting:

Low transmission fluid – Automatic transmission vehicle require automatic transmission fluid (ATF). Generally, transmission fluid lasts for a long time; yet sometimes it becomes problematic due to age. As the fluid ages, it becomes darker in color and may even start to smell. Either manual or automatic transmission can experience problems due to the transmission fluid. Manual transmissions depend on transmission fluid and can overheat when the fluid is low. The clutch and the gears are the first to be affected by insufficient transmission fluid. Automatic transmissions also malfunction in many ways due to transmission fluid problems.

Transmission Fluid Leaks

There are several types of possible transmission leakage and neither source is good for your car. The pan gasket may be leaking, and this problem means it must be replaced. If you need to replace the pan gasket, refer to the owner’s manual for your car make and model to find the seal maintenance status. The pan gasket replacement is not hard to do and most mechanically inclined can perform it.

Many transmissions are designed lines that carry the transmission fluid to a transmission oil cooler. The line system may develop a leak. The clamps on the lines may have become worn. The transmission fluid leaks and decreases then amount of transmission fluid on reserve.

Contaminated Transmission Fluid – Contaminated transmission fluid is a common problem but not so easy to spot. The contamination may not always trace back to the radiator or the gasket. The contamination of the fluid can be with water, antifreeze, and a few other things. The shifting is hard with contaminated fluid. It doesn’t have to be a lot of contamination to cause problems. The good news is that the transmission fluid can be tested for contamination.

Gasket failure – Another important part of your engine system is the gaskets. Gaskets make seals between engine, gearbox, and output shafts. The gaskets can wear down from too much friction, pressure, and the heat that results, which causes the transmission fluid to leak. When the gasket is damaged or fails, it can cause transmission leaks in manual transmissions. These gasket problems unchecked cause more damage over period.

Constant hauling or towing – Continuous heaving hauling and towing causes the transmission life cycle to decrease at faster rates. The heavy work done with the vehicle causes the transmission to work harder. Multiple heavy hauls or tows means your system is probably hard and its guaranteed that some of the transmission fluid has evaporated out with the extreme heat.

Other Causes of Car Hard to Shift

Most shifting issues involve transmission fluid in some way. Yet, some other problems can make it hard for you to change gears. Here are other common issues that affect the transmission system performance:

Wear and tear – The newer vehicles are made of the toughest materials, yet they can only take so much. If you drive your car often in intense urban stop and go traffic, through rough terrain, or up and down in hilly or mountainous areas when you must keep shifting gears, your transmission operating temperature increases more than usual which strains the transmission fluid and the transmission. When the fluids are strained, other things begin to wear down on your vehicle. The check engine light may come on for more than one reason. This is why it’s important to keep your vehicle maintained.

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Transmission overheat – While driving, it certainly it does not take long for the transmission fluid to heat up. Transmission fluid temperatures should never exceed 175 degrees. For every additional 20 degrees higher in temperature, it reduces the life of the transmission fluid by 50%. When the transmission fluid is low, friction still occurs that generates heat. The seals begin to harden, varnish or rust appears on the metal parts, and clutches begin to slip. You may even see smoke coming from under the hood, or you may lose power. , You may smell a burning odor coming from under the hood. While driving, you may the gear shifting erratically. This happens in the last phases before the transmission fails.

Transmission failureDriving without the right amount of transmission fluid can be very dangerous and damaging to your car. The proper amounts of transmission fluid are required to maintain the proper amount of pressure required to shift gears. If your car is still not shifting gears after you have added the right amount of transmission fluid, the transmission may be failed.

Damaged Shifter CableThe clutch cable adjuster can cause problems because it regulates the slack and the tension in the clutch cable. When the clutch cable is damaged or has not been adjusted properly, the clutch pedal will not engage the clutch disk. This can make it hard for you to change gears.

Worn Clutch – The clutch in the manual transmission depends on frictional forces in order to engage and disengage power transmissions from the shaft. The clutch fork (view on Amazon) supports the clutch engagement and disengagement. If you own a car with a manual transmission, you know that it is the third pedal under the dash that must be pushed before you can change gears.

The clutch pedal gives clues that there is a problem when it refuses to move. When this happens, you constantly have to press hard to engage the clutch. It may not engage at all. This means the clutch is not getting the required force from the drive, so it will not depress or fully engage. The pedal linkage could also be a problem as it is binding or sticking which causes other problems. It could be the sticking pivot ball, cross shaft, or the cable. If the transmission system is hydraulic, then it could be worn seals.

What to Do When Hard to Shift Gear

Of course, you’re ready to get your car back to top performance. Hopefully, you have found the problem early and repair will be simple and quick. However, if you have had the problem for a long time, the solution may be more time consuming and costly. Here are some things that you can do to solve the problem:

Use OBD2 ScannerThe OBD2 Scanner (view on Amazon), when used with the owner’s manual can diagnose problems and save you a lot of time. The scanner provides trouble codes for whatever goes wrong with your car. Several OBD2 codes pertain to the transmission and the clutch. There are many codes associated with transmission fluid. The P0868 DTC code will show when fluid pressure is problematic. This code is also activated because of a transmission fluid leak. The P2740 trouble code will show problems with the transmission fluid temperature sensor B circuit.

Inspect the gearbox – Make sure the gearbox is clean and lubricated to reduce wear and tear. The gear teeth can become dried out or damaged.

Maintenance inspection – You can take your car in for an inspection if you don’t have the tools to diagnose it yourself. They will make sure your transmission fluid levels are correct, your clutch is working properly, or if there are any leaks. Having regular maintenance inspections can identify problems before they get out of hand.

Replace pan gasket – The transmission pan gasket can leak and it must be replaced. Find the status of the seal maintenance. The replacement is not hard to do. You may be able to do it with the help of your owner’s manual. If you can’t do it, take your car to a repair shop.

Transmission OverhaulThe transmission can be severely damage from not enough transmission fluid and from high temperatures. When this happens, the transmission has to be overhauled. An overhaul means the transmission must be disassembled so that damage or wear damage can be found. The friction surfaces must be replaced. This type of service can be very expensive depending on the make and model and the year of your vehicle. It also depends on how long the fluid has leaked.

Transmission replacement – The many problems that can arise in your transmission system can cause big problems when they are not fixed. If you have been driving with the hard gears for a long time, the transmission can become so damaged that it must be replaced. Sometimes the transmission can be overhauled; however, big problems require the transmission be replaced.