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Why My Car WON’T Move In Drive But Will In Reverse?

Owning a car is just like having a baby. It requires handling with care, regular checkups, and immediate action when a problem arises. But, there are some troubles that come without any warning. One such vexing issue is car wont move in drive but will in reverse.

Why Does The Car Wont Move In Drive But Will In Reverse?

Transmissions, especially, the automatic transmission only goes in reverse in the event of the failure or damage of a component in the system. It could also be a fault with the speed sensor. Learn the possible reasons that don’t allow your car to run in the forward direction.

1# Transmission Issues

Transmission is most likely to be the culprit for the car wont move in drive but will in reverse problem. When the vehicle does not function in one or more gears, you should check the gear shifter. The gear cable could be stretched further than the normal length and requires adjusting. The failure of some internal components can be the cause too. The car will reverse but not go forward because of worn out solenoids, clutches, or gears.

automatic transmission only goes in reverse
Transmission is likely to be the root cause.

Some issues are simple and you can fix them in your garage. But, professional attention is required when the problem lies with some inner parts.

Some other transmission snags that can lead to the trouble of car wont move in drive but will in reverse are:

Transmission Fluid – Low level of fluid is a potential reason for making the car moving to reverse only. Check the level when the engine is hot and the vehicle runs in neutral. Use the transmission dipstick to see if the fluid is running low. The transmission cannot operate properly when it does not get enough supply of fluid.

Cracked Fluid Tube – A broken fluid tube might be the one causing the complication and it mainly occurs in the 2007 models of Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5. When the forward tube at the pipe joint cracks or breaks, the car cannot move forward except for going reverse. The repair is easy as you just need to replace the damaged parts.

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2# Issues with the Speed Sensor

It seems silly that a simple component like a speed sensor can mess up with the car’s transmission system. The sensor provides the ECU information about the vehicle’s speed that ultimately affects the shifting of the gears. If the information is erratic, the transmission may face the problem of working in reverse only.

car will reverse but not go forward
A bad speed sensor could be the culprit too.

My Car Wont Reverse but will Go Forward. What to Do?

Again, issues with the transmission could be behind this complication. It could be something as simple as broken, loose, or bent reverse linkage. But, you cannot rule out the worn out internal components. When the fluid pump and other related components wear out, the fluid pressure drops an can get high enough only to operate in reverse.

Whether your car wont move in drive but will in reverse or shows a problem opposite to it, take it to a service center for a thorough transmission checkup.

17 Comments
  1. Ian Foster says

    Hello, my Nissan Leaf ex Japan has a noisy blower which is located high up under dash and seems to be almost inaccessible. How do you take it out to replace or repair it.
    Regards
    Ian Foster
    Taupo
    New Zealand

  2. Murana says

    Hello my 2010 Nissan Altima is jerking while driving and very lazy climbing a hill. Infact it cannot even drive forward now but reverse only. What’s the cause ? A friend of mine told me that the transmission is gone. Do I need a rebuild trans or a brand new ? Need your advice before getting a transmission pls.
    Thanks Murana.

  3. Justin says

    My 94 lincoln towncar won’t drive in 1,2,or drive but will reverse? Can you help?

  4. Chelule Benard says

    My ex Japan 2010 toyota wish valvematic engine won’t move when select drive but it reverse well, what could be the problem? It’s disappointing

    1. ELIZABETH SCHAEFFER says

      Could be bad soenoid or transmission

    2. M.s. says

      Hi iv got Toyota avensis 2011 reg 1.8 vmatic cvt transmission 140000 miles won’t move forward in d but reverse ok. it’s 7 speed cvt pleas help thanks

  5. Kamoyani Patrick says

    Nobody responds to queries on this wall. Or where are answers?

  6. shadreck says

    Hi,am sending this question from Zambia,l have a Nissan caravan ZD30 auto.l would like to find out why it could be refusing to move sometimes in reverse and forward but would move after waiting for some 15 minutes?

  7. ELIZABETH SCHAEFFER says

    Could be bad soenoid or transmission

  8. ELIZABETH SCHAEFFER says

    I meant solenoid

  9. Jennifer Ward says

    I have a 2005 Chevy cobalt I was driving on the expressway all of a sudden the car acted like it wanted to stop then I see smoke coming from the right side of the hood then I actually do it in park turned it offThen I started back up let me throw it in drive but it would not take off can somebody tell me the problem

  10. Sunday says

    My Nissan maxima 2001 model when it slows down in a traffic and when resumes it jerks before moving well and it is consistent. Why?

  11. Keenan says

    04 kia sonata my reverse works but my drive dont and my reverse works in neutral and it feels like the back and front tires will not move forward someone please help me

  12. Keenan says

    And my park light started blinking whenever i was messing with the shifting cable linkage

  13. Joseph Cross says

    My Ford E-150 van w/4.2 L engine & 4r70w transmission goes in reverse but won’t go forward. just had new rebuild kit installed Could it be a solenoid or speed sensor problem?

  14. christian says

    my truck will only drive in reverse and 1st and second it doesnt move while in drive or over drive

  15. Dong Pojadas says

    My car is not moving onW Drive but moving Forward on Drive 2 and in reverse easily . After 10 min. on drive 2 it will now Ok shifting to Drive. (Nissan Terrano 4×4 Diesel Japan version)

    What seems to be the problem?

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