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6 Causes of Manual Transmission Hard to Shift

A vehicle with manual transmission means the driver needs to manually change the gear by shifting the transmission. The vehicle with this system, no doubt, is economical in terms of fuel and maintenance, but still manual transmission hard to shift issue can occur sometimes in the car.

With this lacking response issue, it mainly points towards the clutch or gear system of the car. So, in order to find the symptoms, it’s important to understand the working of this whole transmission system so that a driver knows what and how to get it fixed.

Most Common Causes Of Manual Transmission Hard To Shift Issue

Transmissions are complicated and constitute many moving parts. However, if a shift is not happening smoothly on the road, then it’s a serious problem and ignoring it for a while can turn it into an expensive transmission repair.

So, here are six major causes explaining why it’s hard to shift gears manual transmission, which can prevent tearing your pocket.

1. The Clutch System

In simple words, the clutch connects the engine of the vehicle to its wheels. And, when you press the clutch with the foot, it disconnects the engine. The driver does this to turn the engine on another speed level while car rolls free. Moreover, when the wheels are not moving and the driver wants the engine to keep turning, the clutch comes into function.

The following parts of this system make it operational:

Clutch Master Cylinder

It’s a hydraulic pump from which fluid is fed to the slave cylinder further down the line in order to finish the amplification if the force applied.

However, if the fluid in the reservoir rises, when the cutch is down, and then rises again when the clutch is released, it means the seal has worn out which has caused internal leaks.

Release Cylinder

This component transfers the hydraulic pressure achieved through master cylinder, into the mechanical force to control the clutch fork. But when there is an abnormal clutch pedal feel, or low or contaminated brake fluid or, leaks on the floor or engine bay then, these are clearly the symptoms of bad slave or release cylinder.

Clutch Cover

This part does both, allows and prevent the transmission from the engine. Within this cover, the clutch plate, the pressure plate, and a diaphragm spring spin along with the flywheel which creates inertia in order to engage gears. So, remember to check that the bolts of the clutch cover are not too tight as it may damage the threads or bolt as well.

Release bearing and Fork

These components looses quality due to excessive function and thus, need to be replaced on time in order to avoid unpleasant sounds while using the system. As the result, you may have manual transmission hard to shift.

Clutch Disc

Its purpose is to connect the vehicle’s engine to the transmission’s input shaft. However, if you feel clutch drag, then either the clutch disc is not working properly or is damaged.

2. Synchronizer Ring

Know about manual transmission hard to shift problem
How to solve manual transmission hard to shift problem

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It’s a kind of clutch which allows the components turning at different speeds to synchronize their acceleration and prevent engagement of gears until it synchronizes.

If the teeth of this ring is damaged in some way, it is difficult to shift the transmission.

3. Hub Sleeve

This part of the system connects and brings the main gear into operation with the hub gear. It moves along the direction in which the gear shifts. However, when the hub sleeve is broken or is tightened excessively then, it causes manual transmission hard to shift.

4. Hub Gear

Being a gear ratio changing system, this internal gear acts as a bridge between the gears but it cannot turn freely. This component is mainly between the first and second gear, and behind the third and fourth gear. When the gear damages, it starts causing transmission shifting issue.

All about manual transmission hard to shift problems
Solving manual transmission hard to shift problem

5. Gear

The gear plays the main role in the manual transmission. With one small, it accepts the hub sleeve engagement with synchronization ring. On the other hand, it’s big teeth, regulates the spinning counter gear when the driver sends the transmission to the output shaft.

The gear doesn’t allow the transmission, if these teeth are not in a proper condition.

6. Less Gear Oil

The poor performance of the vehicle is caused due to the oil in the gear not changed periodically or, is getting leaked. This may produce a grinding or, the squealing sound on changing the gear, which also makes it difficult to operate. So, changing your transmission oil regularly is so vital to prevent gear shift hard to move.

manual transmission hard to shift into first gear
Manual transmission hard to shift into first gear

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Summing up

Knowing the issues, now you understand why manual transmission hard to shift. So, next time whenever you encounter such symptoms consult the nearest service station to maintain the vehicle.

11 Comments
  1. gamailiel says

    very helpful.

  2. Aliz says

    Very helpful and informative

  3. Ruth says

    Thank you so much for the informative article on sticky manual shifting.

  4. Towett says

    Thanks I appreciate the information on the sticky manual issue

  5. Ivo Kambič says

    Hello, thank you…Very helpful and informative…

  6. Madis says

    I have those grind symptoms on my 2018 Honda but dealers wont take it to repair saying its normal

  7. Kyel says

    Thank you, really helps out. But one question? I have a big problem with me going from 1st to 2nd, it will not go into second gear, I have to go from 1st to 3rd.. Can you help?

    1. Miodrag says

      first change main and slave clutch cylinder and bleed the clutch system. Than change your gearbox oil but only with original manufacturer gear oil.

  8. Eva says

    Great article! What about a new car (Honda Jazz)? The first gear became hard to shift (randomly) only after a few weeks of driving. The dealers replaced the gearbox oil. It is a little better, but still it sometimes gets frustrating fighting with the first gear when the traffic light turns green…

  9. am on boaz says

    Thanks for the knowledge given to us

  10. jack says

    what about a bad or wore out transmission mount…. i have a new clutch and just seems hard throw you forward shifty. i thought it was my heavy foot or performance clutch but i dont think so…

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