My timing belt broke on a 2008 Hyundai Accent and due to being broke I decided to try and fix it myself. I managed to get everything off, two slightly bent valves on the head which I took to a shop etc. While trying to prep the engine block for a new gasket I had to turn the crankshaft bolt. It would move about 30 degrees in either direction and then felt like an elastic was pulling it back. I was only using a short ratchet without a breaker bar or anything but it finally released and now spins freely.

I realized afterwards though the car had been put into 1st gear prior to this. The crank now turns freely whether in neutral or first gear. Is this normal or did I damage something in the clutch/gears trying to turn it over in gear? Thanks!

*yes, I know very very little about cars

*all belts were disconnected during this, head was off

  • So at this point the head was removed? The elastic wasn't a piston binding against (and bending) another value, right?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:23
  • 2
    leaving it in gear is usually a good way to get the crank bolt torqued without the engine spinning. This should not had done any damage to the clutch. It is weird that the crank can spin free in first gear now. turning the crank should turn the gears in the transmission and turn the wheels.
    – rpmerf
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


It's fine

I did a similar job on a 2003 model recently. I kid car. Luckily, I didn't have any bent valves to deal with.

Turning the engine over with the head off and the car in gear won't hurt anything.

I know the exact feeling of elasticity you are talking about if you have the car in gear. I am assuming you had the front wheels on the ground when you did this.


You didn't damage anything.

  • Why does crankshaft still rotate a few degrees counterclockwise before getting totally locked when you put the car in gear and apply brakes (with the wheels on the ground)? For example, when you want to loosen crank pulley bolt by a breaker bar.
    – LFY MP7.3
    Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 17:31

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