I drive a manual (2010 Mini Cooper). Sometimes, before I need to put the car in reverse, my car is still moving forward. Granted it's not moving at more than a few mph, but it's not stationary. Is there any danger in putting my car in reverse and starting to back up before the car is completely stopped?

Can the same be said about going into 1st? If my car is rolling backwards after reversing, say out of a parking spot, should I stop the car completely before selecting first and accelerating forward?

Is there any danger in selecting the desired gear (1st or R), but not engaging the clutch until the car is completely stopped?

  • At least in my 2005 Chevrolet Celta, if I tried to engage reverse with the car moving it would make a grinding noise. My guess is that the reverse was not synchronized. Aug 4, 2016 at 21:01

3 Answers 3


It causes more wear on the clutch as you have to ride it a little more, but overall its fine. The syncros will likely wear a little faster also as the output shaft will be spinning in the opposite direction. The bigger the speed difference, the more it wears parts.

  • 1
    wear would be minimal as down shifitng causes more wear on the syncros than anything else.
    – Moab
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:25
  • 2
    Adding: What I wouldn't do is let the clutch out completely while the car is moving forward but reverse is selected. At minimum if you do this and accept the extra clutch wear at least let the car start moving in reverse before completely taking your foot off the clutch.
    – Jason C
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:26
  • So selecting the gear will wear the syncros, but engaging the clutch is more of an issue due to the output shaft spinning in the opposite direction?
    – wcarhart
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:50
  • Mainly just because you need to ride the clutch more vs starting from a dead stop.
    – rpmerf
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:51
  • 1
    As @Gabriel Diego stated on the original question, is it possible for reverse to not be synchronized? If so, do most modern cars have syncros for reverse?
    – wcarhart
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:03

Depends. Some cars won't even allow you to put in your reverse gear while you are still driving, like my VW does. It makes a very unhealty chatter noise when doing, so better make sure your car won't suffer from this habit or you can damage your transmission.


remember one thing..When you press the clutch to engage into reverse gear while the car still moving forward, the mainshaft of the gear train is still directly connected to the wheels. So the shifter sleeve will have positive drive. Now if u try to shift to reverse gear before stopping, there would be teeth clash between the sleeve teeth and the gear to be engaged which is rotating in opposite direction. Usually synchro is not provided on reverse set because of the reason that this shift requires to be performed only when the vehicle has zero velocity. If there is a synchro and we try to shift into reverse, there would be a lot of wear of the friction material because here both the cone and the ring are rotating in oopposite dirction.

  • Does this answer the OP's question? I haven't figured out how if it does.
    – anonymous2
    Dec 7, 2016 at 18:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .