Edmunds Answers



  • karjunkie 06/14/10 11:12 am PST

    In an automatic transmission the gears are all controlled hydraulically. It sounds like you have fine fluid pressure in the transmission if the forward gears work ok, but the loss of reverse sounds like either a solenoid in the valve body is not working (which may set a fault in the transmission control module) or that something is blocking the fluid flow (some of the channels in the valve body are tiny and it would only take a grain of debris to clog them). I would say that your first step would be to check the fluid level and color. Reverse gear does require a bit more fluid pressure than the forward gears. If all is OK there, try having the modules scanned. This is the least expensive and least intrusive procedure. After that you may want to drop the transmission pan and inspect and see of there is excessive debris in the pan, indicating the failure of one of the clutch packs or other internal wear- It's usually OK to see fine "glitter" in the pan, but NOT OK to see "metal flake" or any chunks. If everything looks good, it may be worth it to try changing the fluid completely and seeing if that solves the problem. If none of the above work, then the problem is likely a more serious internal problem with the valve body or the clutches which would necesitate a rebuild to correct the problem.

  • mbilal 06/19/10 12:03 am PST

    I have the same car and same issue. It has automatic transmission and
    wont engage in reverse in the morning when the car is cold. I am
    parking it in reverse so that I can go to work. When the car is warmed
    up, reverse starts working again. If I let it stand somewhere for > 3
    hrs, same thing happens. Kindly let me know if you resolved your issue
    and how did you do it.

  • mspross 06/21/10 9:23 am PST

    Hey there,
    I still have not had a chance to look at it, or have it looked at. If I get the chance to do it, here within the next few weeks, I'll let you know. If you are having the same issues, please let me know if you get yours resolved as well. Thanks!

  • jasaenzjr 01/10/12 10:34 pm PST

    Hey, I know this is an old post but my 2003 Jetta is having a similar problem. Reverse only works once in a while, usually when the car is first turned on. I was wondering if anyone has determined what the issue is and the best way to go about taking care of it. My car is an automatic with 130,000 miles.

  • sketch_dpr 06/13/14 10:29 am PST

    If you want for the time being try shifting down into first then into reverse..... if that allows it to go into reverse and work, your chances of it being you cable are great. There are bushings in the shifter console that wear over time.


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