Can I shift into Drive while coasting in Reverse...without first braking to a stop?

driving tips
Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1992 Dodge with an automatic transmission. When I put it into Reverse and back it onto the street from my drive way, I shift it into Drive while the car is still rolling backwards. My dad tells me not to do that because it can damage the transmission. I tell him it's nonsense. Everybody I know does it and no one has any trouble. Is he right or am I?

TOM: If you read our column regularly, you know that we regard "fathers" as this century's foremost purveyors of wacko information about cars. And we tell people never to listen to them.

RAY: But in this rare case, Paula, your father happens to be absolutely right.

TOM: We wrote a pamphlet called "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It. (if you don't have a copy, send $3 and...) " And this is one of the ten ways! When you're in Reverse, and every part of your drive train is moving in one direction, and then you suddenly slam it in the other direction, guess what? You wear things out!

RAY: Rarely does anything actually BREAK when you do that, but you shorten the lives of lots of parts, and that means you'll have to replace them sooner. And replacing stuff costs money...especially drive train stuff!

TOM: So listen to your dear, old dad, Paula. Let him bask in the glory of respect...especially if he's still paying your college tuition (haven't they taught you anything at college??).
Tags (Browse All)
driving tips

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login / Signup
Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel