How Fast Can A Car Go In Reverse?

Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

A wheel can rotate at 240 rounds per minute when the car is at 6,000 revolutions per minute. So, a car can go in reverse at 13 miles per hour or 20 kilometers per hour. In short, the reverse only has a single gear which is the equivalent of the conventional first gear when going forward. Some vehicles can even reach up to 50 kilometers per hour or 30 miles per hour.

Key Takeaways

  • How fast a car can go reverse depends on the type of transmission, the power of the engine, and the design of the vehicle
  • The average reverse speed of a common vehicle is 20 – 25 miles per hour while the average speed of high-performance vehicles are more than 25 miles per hour
  • You should avoid driving at high speeds in reverse because it is dangerous and it can damage the vehicle

Main Features Of The Reverse

Maximum Speed
On average, vehicles can offer a maximum reverse speed of 20 kilometers per hour or 13 miles per hour.
GearboxA 5-speed gearbox does not consider reverse gear as a speed.
Number Of Reverse GearsMost vehicles have one reverse gear, while a few include 2 reverse gears.
Engine Operation
The reverse gear functions as the first forward gear within the engine.
Reverse Inhibition SystemThe reverse inhibition system prevents the reverse gear from being engaged when the driver is traveling at a certain forward speed.

Does Reverse Count As A Speed?

In general, reverse gear is not considered as one of the speeds that an automobile gearbox can offer. So, a 5-speed gearbox can offer 5 forward speeds beyond the reverse gear. This is because the reverse gear is only used in a complementary way in any kind of situation when driving a vehicle.

There may even be vehicles that include 2 reverse gears. Either way, this is not an implementation that is very common in a vehicle transmission. Beyond that, even if a reverse gear or 2 reverse gears are included, they are not taken into account when talking about the speeds of a gearbox.

When we analyze the design of any vehicle, we can notice that they are specially designed to travel forward. On the contrary, the reverse gear is only used in a few exceptional situations. That is why the mentioned speeds of a gearbox do not take into account the reverse gear. The same applies to the speed that the reverse gear can offer, which is very limited.

How Fast Can A Ferrari 488 Go In Reverse?

This vehicle is one of the few that can provide a maximum reverse speed of 100 miles per hour. However, to achieve this speed, certain special conditions are required.

First of all, the driver of this Ferrari must be a professional and have great driving skills. This is because traveling in reverse at a high speed and staying in a straight line at all times is difficult.

Along with that, a completely clear place is also needed to avoid producing any kind of accident. Anyway, it is an unregulated vehicle to be able to reach this high speed in reverse. Of course, all Ferrari vehicles for sale offer a very limited reverse speed. This is also due to important safety and security factors. 

Does A Speedometer Work In Reverse?

Here, we can notice that the speedometer works when a person is driving in reverse. In this way, the driver will have the possibility to check the maximum speed that a vehicle can offer in reverse. In the same way, the vehicle will be able to detect that it is in motion which can activate the odometer.

Thus, the distance traveled by the driver in reverse can be displayed with the odometer mileage reading. However, the speedometer odometer will not show much data due to the important limitations of the reverse gear. Beyond that, these two instruments continue to function in reverse.

Can Cars Go Just As Fast In Reverse?

Modern vehicles in recent years have implemented higher and higher speeds and more efficient transmissions. So, it is possible to find some cars that can offer up to seven gears when driving forward. However, the reverse continues to be a single gear and a very poor speed compared to the forward speed.

That is why it is possible to use the fastest vehicles to test how fast these cars can come in reverse. Some people use some Audi or Mercedes Benz models, among the fastest vehicles to perform this kind of test. Anyway, it is necessary to consider that the front suspension of a vehicle is more important than the rear suspension.

Of course, this is because any vehicle is specially designed to go forward most of the time. Thus, driving in reverse is only a supplementary function or an additional function in any automobile. At the same time, driving in reverse is always uncomfortable due to the way a vehicle is designed.

Therefore, reverse prevents drivers from accelerating too much in an uncomfortable driving position. Also, excessive speed in reverse is combined with over-the-shoulder driving. Even the most experienced drivers find that driving in reverse is difficult when a person is trying to go in a straight line only.

Thus, many vehicles can offer more than 12 to 15 miles per hour in reverse. However, it is difficult to reach this speed because you need enough space around you. It is also important to consider a totally clear place, without any vehicles or people around. As we have mentioned, this is important since it is difficult to keep a vehicle in a straight line in reverse.

Along with that, you also need a certain driving skill to be able to check the maximum speed in reverse. Anyway, driving experts do not recommend reaching the maximum speed in reverse because of all these difficulties. So, since it is a set of difficult maneuvers, vehicle manufacturers do not add a high reverse speed. 

What Happens If You Put A Car In Reverse While Going Fast?

Of course, people, in general, do not need to put a car in reverse when they are traveling at a high speed. Anyway, this can produce some years for the vehicle, which is important to mention below. So, to avoid unnecessary experiments by anyone here we should mention what happens when someone puts a vehicle in reverse while driving fast.

First of all, it is necessary to consider that the transmissions of any vehicle are not designed for this type of maneuver. Therefore, engaging reverse when the vehicle is moving forward is not a good idea in any situation. However, this maneuver could be performed when the driver has the necessary skills and knowledge. 

To avoid the inadvertent selection of a vehicle’s reverse gear, car manufacturers have implemented an efficient design. In this case, it is called reverse inhibition to protect the driver from such inadvertent situations. This means that reverse simply does not work when the driver attempts to reverse at a certain forward speed.

In particular, this function allows the driver’s request to reverse to be ignored. This works formidably when it comes to a vehicle with an automatic transmission. On the contrary, vehicles with manual transmissions also have certain efficient mechanisms in this regard.

The shifting mechanism has some physical locks to prevent reverse from being a problem. It may even be an impossible task to select reverse in a manual transmission of some vehicles when the driver is moving forward. In this case, the transmission can be damaged when the driver tries to force reverse.

First of all, the transmission will start making noises as the gears are growling. Of course, this happens because this is not the correct way of driving and the vehicle does not have the proper design for it. Here a smooth engagement is required to be able to shift from neutral to reverse without any inconvenience.

This can generate years and years of heat as the synchronizers seek to match the shaft speeds in reverse. The synchronizer will continue to work with too much stress in a maneuver that provides no benefit whatsoever. 

Consequences In Older Cars

In this day and age, high-efficiency systems are often incorporated when talking about modern automotive electronics. Thus, the automatic transmission is electronically controlled for a much more efficient result and to prevent certain problems.

Exactly in these cases is where the control area networks found in transmissions can ignore the reverse in many situations. However, older cars do not have these modern electronic systems.

Thus, the reverse inhibits function does not do its job, as it has not been included in older or less sophisticated cars. However, in the past, hydraulic reverse inhibition systems were included to provide the same protection in this situation.

However, when the driver decides to implement reverse gear while traveling at a high forward speed, the engine may stall. This is what mainly happens when a vehicle does not have the reverse inhibit function. Of course, the stalling of an engine does not provide any benefits and on the contrary, only creates inconveniences.

At best, the vehicle will start to lose speed and perform as well as it does with a neutral transmission. In any case, the vehicle will lose speed without the need to use the power brakes or steering to do so. In turn, implementing certain emergency maneuvers will be much more difficult in these situations.