Cars equipped with automatic transmissions are rampant these days. Even performance-oriented models, like the 2020 Toyota Supra, come exclusively with slushboxes, which can be a downer for some people who love to row through the gears themselves.
However, no matter how purists detest it, the proliferation of automatic gearboxes has its silver lining – development of fail-safe mechanisms. An experiment that showcases one of those automatic gearbox fail-safe mechanisms was conducted by one of our favourite Russians: Youtube's Garage 54.
In this experiment, our main guy from Garage 54 tries to show what will happen when you shift to the reverse gear while running at varying speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. To help him demonstrate in this experiment, he used a second-generation Toyota RAV4, produced from the year 2000 to 2005, equipped with a torque converter four-speed automatic transmission.
This isn't the first time that someone has done this experiment, though. Another Russian Youtuber, MasterMilo82, has done this before on a '90s Opel Astra equipped with a manual transmission. The result was harrowing, of course, but is it any different if it were a newer car with an automatic transmission?
Based on the video, shifting to reverse while the car's moving forward won't do much on a modern automatic car. That's because these types come equipped with sensors that detect that the car is indeed moving forward and the shift to reverse was a misapplication or an accident. Because of this and in combination with the speed sensors embedded into the system, the AT computer would detect the misuse and wouldn't allow the gears to switch to reverse, protecting the whole system.
However, what would happen if those fail-safe sensors were to be disconnected? Watch the video on top of this page to find out. And, by the way, please don't try this at home.