Cars are complex machines with thousands of precision-engineered parts designed to do the same thing over and over again. There’s a long list of things you shouldn’t do in a car if you care about it, and that includes treating the gearboxes with respect. Transmissions are fickle things, and throwing them into reverse while a vehicle is moving forward is a delicious recipe for disaster.
A new video from Michael Vaim and his AutoVlog YouTube channel demonstrates why you shouldn’t do it in a 1994 Ford Ranger. This isn’t the first time he’s done such an experiment, slamming a Chevy Prism into reverse at 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) in 2018. The new video is a tad different, with the Ranger sporting a manual gearbox and four-wheel drive.
The first attempt doesn’t work as planned. The truck slips into reverse while cruising down the road, and the Ford comes to a screeching smoky stop, but the action only causes the rear wheels to spin in reverse. The transfer case didn’t want to stay in 4-High, flubbing the first attempt and resulting in Vaim putting the Ranger in 4-Low.
The truck is able to reach 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour) before Vaim shifts the gearbox into reverse. There’s a loud pop, but the Ranger’s tires don’t begin spinning backward. Instead, the Ranger creeps to a stop as a weird whine and tick begin emanating from the nearly 30-year-old pickup.
It’s not clear what happened, but it appears the clutch gave out. Vaim says in the video that the clutch pedal is super stiff. The gearbox still shifts through all the gears, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any damage. Without a working clutch pedal, the Ranger is wrecker food.
Vaim came prepared, though, bringing a backpack and water just in case the Ranger broke down. He plans on fixing it in preparation to commit more acts of vehicular shenanigans. The Ranger has been put through a lot since Vaim bought it for $1,000, including having Red Bull, tequila, and vodka in the gas tank.