I often put my manual car into reverse while still moving forwards. I do it at less than 10mph. However, sometimes the gears crunch.

Am I doing any damage by doing this?

Why do the gears crunch? I have the clutch down so the gearbox wouldn't be turning, as it is disengaged...

If I did it all the time would I be damaging my car?

I am asking this generally, but my car is a 2003 Opel Agila.

Note: My question is basically the opposite of this question.. The other question applies to automatic transmissions, and about the torque converter doing the rev matching. I have a manual transmission, and a solid clutch, not a hydraulic torque converter.

  • You question is the opposite, but has roughly the same answer. I move to mark this as duplicate. Sep 22, 2015 at 17:58
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Switching from Reverse to Drive - always stop completely? Sep 22, 2015 at 17:59
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    I don't think this is a duplicate as the answers apply to automatics with torque converters.
    – George
    Sep 22, 2015 at 18:10
  • 2
    Definitely not a duplicate
    – HandyHowie
    Sep 22, 2015 at 18:57
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    Instinctively: taking you from 10mph to 0mph is normally a job for the brakes, which will accrue some small amount of wear due to the dissipated energy. If you use the transmission instead for this task, then that energy will instead be dissipated by the transmission, be it a clutch/gearbox or auto. Thus there will be some small wear to the transmission instead. Brake pads (and even rotors) are generally cheaper to replace as they wear than are transmissions. Sep 22, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


You say that the gearbox won't be turning, but since the car is moving forward, the gears in the gearbox must be turning. Reverse doesn't usually have a synchromesh, so the gears won't synchronise and will therefor crunch. Clearly this will cause damage.

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