Using reverse gear at high speed

Hi everyone. This seemed a bit silly for “General Questions” so I thought I’d post it here. Anyways…

In a perverted corner of my mind, I’ve always wondered what would happen if you forced the car into reverse while going full speed on the highway. Anyone have an informed answer on this?

Would the mechanism even LET you jam the gear into reverse?

Would the car spin out of control/flip over/tear up the engine?

Or would the car just harmlessly slow down to a stop and then begin reversing? (This is what happens on Need for Speed: Porsche!)

Inquiring minds want to know…

I’m not sure, but I believe this is what’s referred to in automotive circles as “really fucking up” your car.

I’m pretty sure that, if the mechanism will let you (and I think most will if you hit 'em hard enough), you’ll end up putting your transmission in another zip code.

The real gearheads will be along in a minute, but my $.02 is goodbye transmission Hello AAMCO. Figure maybe $500+ for a manual and $1000+ for an automatic. God knows, I’ve been there. I did something alomst that bad with an automatic, rocking it back and forth to get out of a snowbank. $1k :frowning:

My dad had a friend who used to do this, although not at freeway speeds. He’d go about 30 or 40 miles an hour and throw it into reverse. The car would slow down rapidly and eventually start backing up.

And now the rest of the story: This was my dad’s friend and this happened a long time ago. The reason the guy would do this was to show off that he had one of those new-fangled “automatic” transmissions in his car. And he had to get a new transmission after a few months of this showing off.

Theoretically, you could do the same thing at freeway speeds with a modern transmission since (again, theoretically) there is a fluid coupling between the transmission and the drive shaft. But today’s transmissions are a lot more sophisticated than they were in the forties. That fluid coupling (which is still there, otherwise you’d have to use a clutch when you were stopped) is assisted by other equipment. Most new cars have a means of creating a mechanical coupling in top gear. (This is slightly more efficient and efficiency is very important in the auto industry.)

With a mechanical connection and a sudden shift into reverse you’d have: 1) the engine going madly one direction, 2) the wheels, etc., going madly in the same direction and 3) Hi Opal! – no I mean 3) the transmission wanting to go madly in the other direction. Something would break.

Even if there were a fluid coupling the fluid would (at least) get extremely hot. It would probably break down, cease to lubricate and again, something would sieze, followed immediately by something breaking.

Only in the rare case that everything survived the sudden shift in direction would the car do as described above – slow down and then reverse. And even then it might slow more quickly than the tires (or the driver) could handle.

My advice – don’t do this. However, if you do do this by all means take pictures. Your family will want them when they receive your Darwin award.

My advice:

Rent a car and try it. Thats what they’re for.

**bernse **, I’m on it. I’ll “experiment” this weekend and get back to you all.

[sub]Don’t tell Avis, they might take away my Wizard number.[/sub] :eek:

I used to do this in my old Escort. The car shut itself off and the transmission automatically dropped into neutral.


Somehow I just knew Tim had walked this territory.

Very loud crunchy grinding noise, but what is great fun is going in reverse about 20-30 miles an hour, then slipping it into first then romping on the gas.
My Mustang will smoke its tires for about 50 feet.

One thing I havent tried yet is the reverse u-turn, same as above but you snap the wheel hard over then hit the gas. I’m too scared I am going to flip.

That’s a good point-- if the car starts off on a steep hill and rolls back too fast, then the engine shuts itself off when shifting into first (so you’re in neutral.) I guess the same thing would happen if you do the opposite.

Speaking of the reverse u-turn, has anyone ever tried a “bootlegger’s turn” a la Smokey and the Bandit (i.e. using the emergency brake to spin 180 degrees?) I’ve tried it for fun at low speeds on icy roads, but never the way you’re “supposed” to.

beatle, I do my best to keep the TM informed. :wink:

I’ve done the bootlegger’s turn and the reverse 180, on ice, water, and plain ol’ asphalt. They are both very dangerous but very fun. I wouldn’t recommend anything that’s not low slung, FWD, and with a stiff suspension. The dangers are enormous. Heck, I got pulled over for doing 180s in an icy parking lot just last week.

Don’t do the things I do.


Ooooh J-strips, I thought those were reserved for 4 cylinders with no balls.

OT (but this is MPSIMP) I once had my 72 Monte Carlo up to about 40 mph in reverse, I do not recommend it. Car was very unstable and the slightest turn of the wheel cause lots of rocking and other bad stuff to happen.

Speaking of, has anyone seen that “Behind Closed Doors” show with Joan Lundon (sp?)? They did a bit on the Secret Service, and had a piece with drivers training. Man! You should see what they do to the old Prez cars. They just drive 'em into the ground. I have never seen so much body roll in my life!

The most fun stunt to do is to “slide” around a turn. Unfortunately it can only be accomplished with a RWD car AFAIK. Basically what you are doing is breaking the rear tires loose and swinging the back end of the car parallel to the road you are turning onto. I can only do it with a car that has a good amount of power, like a Thunderbird or Impala.

My other favorite I do in my POS Skylark, I use torque braking to get a nice good launch in an icy parking lot, and then I pull the E-brake and slide around. Tons of fun!

In the mid-70s, Muffy C.'s dad put his car into reverse while travelling on the Q.E.W. at about 70 m.p.h. The tranny blew apart.

That same year he blew up his neighbour’s pool, and had a radio-advertised house wrecking party at his own home which resulted in the neighbours (with whom he obviously was no longer on good terms) calling in the riot police.

I guess you might say that he had some “issues.”

Oddly enough, Muffy was a well-balanced, well-mannered and friendly person.