Gear engaged, car not moving?
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    1. #1

      Gear engaged, car not moving?

      I don't know what to put in the subject line for this, but here's what happened (two different occassions already). 08 XC90 3.2L FWD, 14K miles:

      First incident was on the driveway with very slight incline. Started the engine, put the gear in reverse so I can back up and leave. Four grown adults in the car. Car was not moving even with a slight tap on gas pedal. It's like there was a chock on the wheels preventing it from moving. Put the shifter back on Park, got out of the car and checked the underneath of the car to see what's preventing it to move. Nothing. Got in the car again, put it in Drive this time, the car moved a little, then put it in Reverse, and it moved after a "clunk" sound. Weird.

      Second incident was the same, about 3 months later. But this time, it was in the garage, which is level, no grade. The car won't move in both Drive and Reverse. Had to play with it, by tapping the gas lightly until it moved or showed signs of gear engaging. Did the "clunk" sound again before it moved.

      In both situations, it seems that the gears were engaged, but the drive axle won't turn even after I released the break pedal totally. I should also mention that in both instances, the parking breaks were disengaged and there was nothing underneath that was preventing the car from moving.

      Is this something I should be concerned with?


    2. #2
      Member gascos80's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (PeenouyVolvoXC90)

      Volvo's transmissions are disengaged after the car was brought to the full stop by braking. This is the safety feature that prevents additional damages and injuries related to the spontaneous car movement during the accident, if engine is still running.

      So, the car would not move with engine just idling. You need to rev the engine up to start moving. And with the full load the light tap might not be enough.

      Also, there is a "parking lock" that is disengaged when car reaches ~12 mph. You should hear a disticnctive clunk everytime you pull off the garage. I do, with all my Volvo every day.

      See, if the symptoms fit to my description. If yes - you have nothing to worry. Otherwise - see a dealer.

      2008 S80 3.2; 2005 XC90 V8 AWD; 2003 S60 2.4T

    3. #3
      Global Moderator Needsdecaf's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (PeenouyVolvoXC90)

      This is totally your parking brake freezing up inside the hub. VERY well known Volvo issue.

      I've had it drag a wheel and leave skid marks on the garage floor.


    4. #4
      Global Moderator Needsdecaf's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (gascos80)

      Quote, originally posted by gascos80 »
      Volvo's transmissions are disengaged after the car was brought to the full stop by braking. This is the safety feature that prevents additional damages and injuries related to the spontaneous car movement during the accident, if engine is still running.

      So, the car would not move with engine just idling. You need to rev the engine up to start moving. And with the full load the light tap might not be enough.

      Also, there is a "parking lock" that is disengaged when car reaches ~12 mph. You should hear a disticnctive clunk everytime you pull off the garage. I do, with all my Volvo every day.

      See, if the symptoms fit to my description. If yes - you have nothing to worry. Otherwise - see a dealer.

      Lev, normally I trust your technical info (if not your opinion) but not this time.


      My R (and our S40) would move just fine in gear with my foot off the gas.


    5. #5
      Member gascos80's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (Needsdecaf)

      Joe,
      I swear, it is what it is. Choose an empty stretch of the road and brake really hard, like you would avoiding the accident. The transmission will disengage, and you would have to rev the engine up to take off.

      I learned about it on one of my first test drives back in 1999, then on the Drive for life XC90 defensive driving event, and then I have experienced it a couple of time during the emergency braking...

      I was thinking about anything that can lock or disengage the transmission...aparently, living in CA I never experienced the frozen parking brakes (although I should remember it from my Soviet past).
      You taught me something new (well forgotten old stuff, remember the proverb?)

      2008 S80 3.2; 2005 XC90 V8 AWD; 2003 S60 2.4T

    6. #6
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (gascos80)

      Quote, originally posted by gascos80 »
      Joe,
      I swear, it is what it is. Choose an empty stretch of the road and brake really hard, like you would avoiding the accident. The transmission will disengage, and you would have to rev the engine up to take off.

      I learned about it on one of my first test drives back in 1999, then on the Drive for life XC90 defensive driving event, and then I have experienced it a couple of time during the emergency braking...

      I was thinking about anything that can lock or disengage the transmission...aparently, living in CA I never experienced the frozen parking brakes (although I should remember it from my Soviet past).
      You taught me something new (well forgotten old stuff, remember the proverb?)


      Lev,

      You are partially correct. What actually happens, in the AWD cars, is that the REAR wheels stop driving the car when braking. The transmission is still engaged when braking (actually, in the more recent EuCD cars, keeps engaged and even downshifts on certain occasions as if it were a manual transmission).

      2001 Volvo V70 T5 M SR, Classic Red/Graphite Lthr, TME Stage II ECU, 3" Downpipe w/ Cat-back exhaust from MTE, Volvo Roadholding & Lowering Kit w/ Nivomats, 17" PEGASUS, Rear Spoiler, Dolby Surround Sound
      2015.5 S60 T6 Drive-E, Crystal White Pearl w/ Beechwood/Black Sport leather Climate/Platinum/BLIS/Park Pilot/Sport w/ 19" BOR

    7. #7

      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (GrecianVolvo)

      Thanks all for your insights. I think, the stuck parking brakes is the most logical explanation. I myself have had the opportunity to experience the emergency braking system and in hindsight, it sure felt like I was on Neutral when the car finally stopped. But I didn't have to rev up the engine to get the transmission to engage again.

      But my two incidents of "stuck parking brakes" happened during Florida summertime...


    8. #8

      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (PeenouyVolvoXC90)

      Quote, originally posted by PeenouyVolvoXC90 »

      But my two incidents of "stuck parking brakes" happened during Florida summertime...

      Could just be a cable that is bound someplace, get it checked. Why do you use a park brake
      on a flat surface?

      2005 XC90 2.5T AWD (car)
      2000 F350 4x4 diesel (truck)

    9. #9
      Global Moderator Needsdecaf's Avatar
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      Re: Gear engaged, car not moving? (PeenouyVolvoXC90)

      Quote, originally posted by PeenouyVolvoXC90 »
      Thanks all for your insights. I think, the stuck parking brakes is the most logical explanation. I myself have had the opportunity to experience the emergency braking system and in hindsight, it sure felt like I was on Neutral when the car finally stopped. But I didn't have to rev up the engine to get the transmission to engage again.

      But my two incidents of "stuck parking brakes" happened during Florida summertime...

      Sorry, when I say freezing, I mean the mechanism. Totally independent of temperature.

      Very well known issue, especially on the R's Brembo brakes.