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Car Making Grinding Noise in Reverse

Why Is Your Car Making Grinding Noise in Reverse?

You drive back home from work one day and you find your favorite parking spot empty. So, you start driving your car in reverse to place the vehicle in the right place. But all of a sudden, you notice your car making a grinding noise in reverse. This can be quite frustrating, and you might be worried about the condition of the car.

Usually, when vehicles make grinding noises in reverse, the issue is the clutch or the gearbox. Sometimes, there may simply be a piece of metal that got lodged on the transmission or wheels. Usually, the problem relates to the transmission, so if this is the case, you must talk to a mechanic as soon as possible. While it may not seem like the worst problem at first, it can cause damage to your car.

Check out the paragraphs below to find out the possible reasons for the grinding noise.

Transmission Problems

car transmission
Photo by Pixabay

If you hear a grinding noise when you reverse, then the transmission is most likely the reason. This might happen because the gearbox cannot disengage from the engine properly while its gears keep rotating.

Some people handle this by shifting into a forward gear right before shifting into reverse. This can get rid of the issue.

But of course, not everyone is lucky enough to get rid of the problem that fast. If it doesn’t work, it points to issues with the clutch or the gearbox, which means that going to a mechanic is the right course of action. They may decide to replace your gearbox. It is a costly procedure, but it’s worth it in the long run.

The Different Types of Transmission

automatic car transmission
Photo by Unsplash

The transmission is the one that gives you control over how fast or slow you want to drive your car. When the gear is faster, the wheels will also turn faster.

But not all car transmissions are the same. In fact, there are different types of transmission, and depending on the one on your vehicle, it may be easier or harder to fix it. Here are the four transmission types found in cars:

Manual Transmission

This transmission type is the most common one, as it is the oldest in existence. Furthermore, it is also the simplest. But despite the old mechanism, some drivers still use it to this day. The transmission uses a friction clutch that is inflected by the driver’s foot so the rotational energy of the engine can connect to the transmission’s input shaft. Fixing this type of transmission is not only easy but also cheap.

Automatic Transmission

Nowadays, you see most drivers owning cars with automatic transmissions. It is the most common transmission type, and it can transfer the rotational energy to the vehicle’s engine by using a torque converter. The car’s computer is the one controlling the gear shifts. Moreover, the shifts are achieved using a series of clutches and brakes, as well as a planetary gear set. Therefore, the driver has the comfort of picking only one gear on the selector. While convenient, this gear type is very complex, making it harder to fix, but also pricier. On top of that, it is also more likely to fail.

Semi-Automatic and Dual-Clutch Transmission

This transmission type is just what the name says: a combination between manual and fully automatic. It is usually seen on expensive sports cars and race cars. Just like the automatic transmission, it is very hard to fix it, and it is costly as well.

Continuously Variable Transmission

Although it is a bit similar to the automatic transmission, this type uses a more unique mechanism. It has a system of belts and pulleys so it can offer multiple ratios – therefore, it does not use gears. The computer of the vehicle is the one deciding how to adjust the pulleys to produce the right ratio for specific driving situations. Fortunately, they are less likely to fail, and they are also less pricey to fix.

Brake Pad Issues

car brake disc
Photo by Pixabay

Something that may also result in the car making grinding noise in reverse is having worn-out brake pads. They may rub against the rotor, which results in this annoying noise.

So, when you hear the noise, you should inspect the brakes’ condition by checking the wear signs. Usually, when the surface of the brake pads starts wearing away, it will cause the tabs to grind into the rotors of the brake, which will then lead to the grinding noise.

You can try lubricating the brakes with some disc brake caliper lubricant. This may not be the fix for everyone, though, so if you still hear noises, you may have to replace the part of the brakes that causes the issue. You or the mechanic should also make sure to install the anti-rattle chips properly – otherwise, you may still hear the grinding noise.

Sometimes, you may also see metallic objects right between the brake pads and the rotors. As such, check the pads and rotors, remove any foreign object you find there, and then clean the rotor and pads.


A car making grinding noise in reverse may tell you that you need to fix your transmission or replace your gearbox. Sometimes, it may also tell you that something is stuck between the rotors and the brake pads, or that the brake pads are wearing away.

If you cannot find the cause, the best thing to do would be to take your vehicle to a mechanic. They will surely discover the issue causing the noise and will help fix the damaged parts or replace them.


How much does it cost to replace a car’s gearbox?

Replacing a car’s gearbox is not cheap. It may cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on your vehicle.

What are the most common causes of car grinding noises?

Usually, transmission problems are the main causes behind grinding noises. Worn-out brakes or an object stuck between the rotors and brake pads might also be at fault. Sometimes, a faulty CV joint may also be causing the noises.

Can the grinding noise be caused by low oil?

Sometimes, when the engine doesn’t have enough oil, it can make a grinding noise as the parts start rubbing against each other.


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