UTV Won’t Shift into Reverse: How to Fix It

It is frustrating when you switch your UTV into reverse, and it refuses to engage. The reverse gear can sometimes engage, but the vehicle won’t back up.

There are a few reasons why your UTV reverse gear is not working and knowing them lets you know how to fix the issue. Regardless of the cause, the reverse gear not working in a UTV means something is wrong with your transmission system.

This piece looks into possible causes of reverse gear not working in UTVs and how to fix them:

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What Happens When Your UTV Doesn’t Reverse but Other Gears Work?

It can be annoying when you switch your UTV into reverse, but it doesn’t respond. This can be a safety hazard, as it prevents you from pulling out of dangerous zones when doing so requires engaging your reverse gear.

The issue of reverse gear not working in UTVs is in two versions. First, the reverse gear doesn’t engage at all, while the other gears work fine. Second, the reverse gear engages but the UTV doesn’t back up. Regardless of your version of the issue, the reverse gear not working is not what you can cope with and requires an immediate fix.

Manual UTV Reverse Gear Not Working: Possible Causes and Fixes

Here are possible reasons why your UTV won’t reverse and how to fix it:

Faulty Shifter Mechanism

The shifter is the cable connecting the gear selector to the transmission, and an issue with the mechanism can reflect in the functionality of your gears. A faulty shifter mechanism can affect any gear, and your reverse gear might be a victim this time.


Although replacing or repairing a faulting shifter mechanism is minor to other mechanical issues that can result in the reverse gear not working, you still need the service of a professional UTV mechanic.

Damaged Reverse Gear

A damaged reverse gear is another possible reason why your UTV reverse gear is not working. Though it is also possible in automatic UTVs, this is usually caused by a careless or inexperienced rider riding a manual UTV and switching the gears inappropriately.

The common tell sign of a damaged reverse gear is gear, which signifies that the teeth on the gears have been damaged. The result is difficulties switching the reverse gear into operation.


The best fix to the reverse gear not working in UTV due to a damaged reverse gear is replacing the gear. An experienced UTV mechanic will disassemble the transmission and replace the broken gear.

Damaged Lockout Ring

A lockout ring prevents you from accidentally shifting into reverse while your UTV is still going forward, reducing the risk of destroying your transmission. However, this ring can damage too. And when this happens, the gears won’t function as they should. Hence, a damaged lockout ring might be the culprit behind your UTV not reversing.


Fixing a damaged or misaligned lockout ring is meant for professionals.

Bad Clutch

Your clutch might be why your UTV reverse gear is not working. The clutch is also prone to mechanical issues, and it is a matter of when. The best way to identify a bad clutch is when the gear only engages when you switch off the engine and switch to the reverse gear.


Once you have established that a bad clutch is why your reverse gear is not working, it is time to let a professional UTV mechanic work on your UTV.

Automatic UTV Reverse Gear Not Working: Possible Causes and Fixes

Manual UTVs are not the only victim of a failed reverse gear; automatic UTVs are not left out. Here is a major cause why the reverse gear is not working in an automatic UTV and how to fix it:

Transmission Fluid Issues

The principal cause of the reverse gear not working in automatic UTVs is an issue with the transmission fluid. Common reasons why transmission fluid can prevent your UTV from reversing include low or dirty transmission fluid.


You know you have low transmission fluid when the transmission dipstick gives a low gauge. With this, you might be tempted to fill the remaining fluid, but that is not the best way out. It is best to drain and refill the fluid to remove contamination. Draining and refilling the fluid is also the remedy for dirty transmission fluid.

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