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Rolling Backwards

9361 Views 47 Replies 31 Participants Last post by  TheWorm
Does anyone 's MDX roll backwards when in gear, and stopped on a hill (foot off of the brake of course)? Ours does, not just an inch or two, but several feet.

The handbrake also does not seem to do much, in other words you get the sense you drive around all day while leaving it engaged.:confused:

The car is going in the shop next week, but I would like to know if the rolling backwards is a pattern, or something that others have seen.


GG Touring & Nav
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Mine does, always has. Most automatic transmissions let this happen unless the engine idle speed is high. I consider it normal.

Yes, the parking brake is the vehicle's worst feature. I've yipped about it before.
A little bit of rollback I undersand, rolling back like it is in neutral !! is a problem for my wife. Our previous jeep Grand Cherokee, and my current Audi don't , so the expectation is that the MDX shouldn't either.

My MDX does roll back in the driveway when I take my foot off of the brake; however, if it catches enough speed, it will stop.

The point where it seems to continue to roll backwards "unhindered" is when apply a little gas then release...

If it's any consolation, our ML320 seems to roll backwards just as if it was on neutral in the same driveway.
Yup, me too

I have this problem too -- I was on a not super steep hill, and started rolling back more than I have in any previous automatic cars I have owned -- let me know if anyone brings this up to their dealer.

As far as the foot brake, everyone admits that it sucks. The best way I've found to avoid driving with it only partially on is to really make sure that you set it fully when you stop. That way, you have to release it before driving....
proskunetes said:
If it's any consolation, our ML320 seems to roll backwards just as if it was on neutral in the same driveway.
This has to do with transmission design and the amount of torque at idle. Put your ML in low range and try this and you'll see what I mean.
I haven't noticed it to be any more than other automatics I have owned, however I admit I don't just wait for it to keep rolling back. I apply the gas right away.

When I apply the parking brake, I put it on all the way -and the car won't move unless I release it.
Drew said:

This has to do with transmission design and the amount of torque at idle. Put your ML in low range and try this and you'll see what I mean.
Before you do, better make sure the warranty is still in effect. You wouldn't want your ML to develop a $4K+ "characteristic" :p
I think this is a great feature. It rolls back plenty in my case, enabling you to rock the car in case you get stuck. This is obviously not a flaw in the design, but just one more item that lets you know that Honda never forgets those small details that no other manufacturer seems to think of. Such a functional SUV all around. :)
GatorGreg said:
Before you do, better make sure the warranty is still in effect. You wouldn't want your ML to develop a $4K+ "characteristic" :p
And you'd better make sure that your VTM-4 clutches don't burn up if you drive in snow too often :eek:. Want to go off-topic again? :confused:
Drew said:
Want to go off-topic again? :confused:
Um, the topic is "Rolling Backwards," not "Trolling Backwards" :p Speaking of rolling backwards, how come you guys deleted the post I just linked to above, you know, the one where the '00 ML430 owner with the failed transfer case made a complete mockery of your "transfer case is not a problem, just a characteristic" post :p Did you delete it yourself or did you ask someone else to delete it for you? Absolutely hilarous stuff :D

Here's the link to the entire thread over at, but post # 11982 is now mysteriously missing :p
I was in San Francisco last week and was around some steep roads. I did not notice any roll back. I guess, I just didn't pay much attention to it.
I never had guts to find out how far MDX would roll if I let it, but it certainly is something a driver needs to be aware of.

I actually have to use both feet - left- to hold the break pedal while pressing on gas with the right one.

I was never alarmed about this ""feature" as my Subaru Outback also did the same (although not as much) I must admit that I would much prefer it NOT to be there. I guess it's hard to fight physics - 600 or 700 rpm at idle is not enough to fight off gravity affecting 4500 lbs vehicle

As far as driving with the parking break engaged - don't you guys look at your dashboards??? I find "NOT BUCKLED", "Parking Break" and "Maintenance Reqd" lights quite distracting even if you do not look at them.
Yes, my MDX rolls back, too, but I consider it normal. My past two cars (a BMW and MB) also did the same, so this didn't seem unusual to me. But, as was said in an earlier reply, I've never seen how far it will roll back since I usually hit the gas before too long!
I noticed that when I park the MDX rolls a little after I engage the parking brake. I don't have this problem with the CL (it has a hand operated parking break) nor did I have this problem with the Integra or Accord.

My technique:
Use the right foot on the brake to stop.
Shift into Park.
Use the left foot to apply the parking brake.
Turn off the engine.
When I remove my right foot from the brake, the MDX rolls a little.

The first few times this happened, I figured I had to press harder with the left foot. I tried that and it didn't seem to make much difference.

I've never stopped on a hill but now I know what to expect.
When I first read this thread, I couldn't remember this ever being a problem. So this morning on the way to work I checked it out on several hills. Happy to report, that it's not a "feature" on mine.

If your rollback is more than a few inches, I'd ask the service dept if there's anything that can be done. No one should pay this much and have to use both feet to avoid going backwards on a hill, especially in traffic.
Driving with the parking brake on

Interesting posts--don't have too many hills in Austin, so haven't noticed that problem. However, I have noticed that when I do engage the parking brake (when parked on a downward sloping driveway) that if I forget to release it, the car drives like it normally does--the only way I notice is when I look down a few seconds later and see that it is engaged--much to my dismay!

Maybe I haven't engaged it all the way? I will try depressing it even further to see if that makes a difference. I don't even notice any hesitation while driving with it engaged :(
I've noticed a decent roll-back and the parking brake is totally worthless. Pushed all the way down to the floor the MDX rolls backwards when I park on a hill. The transmission parking brake is what catches the car. I usually like to use the E-BRAKE so as not to put pressure on the tranny, oh well.

It is going to be a ***** when I put the car in for its first service at 3750 miles.. (Free service, so why not take advantage of it). If it is a designed to be like this, then so be it. So far it is the only negative I can find....
Regarding Parking Breaks...

As I mentioned before, I use P. B. on everyday basis, even while parked in my own driveway. I guess it's a subconsious attempt to prevent a tow-away theft :)
I do not ever remember driving with P.B. engaged. First of all, once again, the light on a dashboard is VERY VISIBLE. Then, I usually switch to Drive and let go of a break pedal w/o hitting the gas. (MDX hesitates about 1 second - this "feature" has been discussed in prior posts as well) If P.B. is still on, my car would have a "forward momentum", but actually will not move - a reminder for me to disengage P.B.

On the other hand, I also often park at my friend's house who has a steep driveway precisely the lenth of MDX. I usually have to park no more than 5" from the garage door, otherwise my car would stick onto a sidewalk. Anyway, P.B. holds well, but, once I start a car and try to switch into gear, that requires a lot of effort. Not only I need to use FORCE to move the gearshift from Park into Reverse, but once I succeed tranny makes a very "unpleasant" noise. Similar experience anybody?
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Yes, the cure for this is to depress the parking brake as hard as you can while your foot is still on the main brake pedal; then put the transmission into Neutral, and release the main brake pedal. The car will then move slightly, taking up slack in the parking brake mechanism and suspension. THEN put the transmission into Park. Don't try this while heading uphill on any decent grade; the parking brake is just about useless against rearward motion, so you HAVE to depend on the transmission's Park pawl unless you can snug a front tire against a curb. I realize that the X is a lot heavier than an Accord, but my wife's '99 Accord has a WAY better parking brake than the X's.
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