What happens when you put a four-wheel-drive vehicle in reverse while driving? It’s a fleeting question that many might have asked while cruising down the road, but none is actually stupid enough to give it a shot.
Michael Vaim is a master of car destruction, having already attempted to answer this question with a Chevrolet Prism. The difference is that the Prism was just two-wheel drive with an automatic transmission, so the Ranger should promise a lot more mayhem.
The Ranger resisted the first attempt at destruction by simply going into reverse and spinning the wheels backward when the clutch is let out. That attempt was only in 2-wheel drive mode though.
For the second attempt, the transfer case is put in 4-low mode, Vaim gets the truck up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), and the transmission is shifted into reverse. The most obvious thing in the world then happens; there’s a whole bunch of grinding noises, and everything breaks. New noises are now coming out of the truck, including a whine and a ticking noise.
The net effect is pretty anti-climatic, as the truck just pops and breaks and then comes to a stop. Exactly what happens inside the gearbox isn’t known, but while the gear lever seems to work, the clutch definitely gave out.
It’s all in the name of science, sort of. Now we know not to put a four-wheel-drive vehicle in reverse while it’s moving forward. Didn’t we already know that? Well, now we double-know it.
This isn’t the first time that the Ranger has been put through the wringer in the name of “what if?” Vaim has also tested putting Red Bull, tequila, and vodka in the gas tank, and will likely subject the truck to more abuse in the future.