Should I be concerned about my transmission after a fender bender?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am driving a 1989 Toyota Camry with an automatic transmission. While I was waiting for a traffic light to change, my car was hit from the back. I was in "Drive" at the time. I think the other car's speed was about 25 miles per hour. My rear bumper was slightly damaged. But should I be concerned about my transmission, too?

RAY: Look, Vipul, if the guy who hit you was really going 25 mph, you wouldn't be asking us about your transmission. You'd be asking us to recommend a lawyer, a new car, and a chiropracter.

TOM: It's amazing how fast collisions SEEM from the jolt and all the noise. But I think my brother's right. If all that was damaged was your rear bumper, my guess is that you were hit at five miles per hour rather than 25.

RAY: Anyway, you don't have to worry about the transmission, Vipul. If your brakes were planted, and your car skidded from the impact, the transmission wouldn't move at all, and everything would be fine. If your brakes were NOT planted, and the collision moved your car forward, the transmission would also be fine, because that's what happens when your car coasts. So don't worry about it.

TOM: The only way you could've damaged the transmission is if you had been in Reverse. But if you WERE sitting at a traffic light in Reverse, I wouldn't tell anybody about it. I'd just quietly fix the transmission, and hope the other guy's lawyer never finds out.

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