Getting into the right gear can be tricky with a manual transmission, especially for car owners who are learning and aren’t yet familiar with it. It’s important to distinguish between simple trouble shifting due to lack of practice and trouble that may indicate a mechanical problem.
There are a few common issues that often come up with a manual, especially over time with older cars. Let’s take a look at a few of these and their causes and how to go about diagnosing them.
Jumping Out of Gear
This is one of those issues that has a tendency to crop up somewhat predictably after a transmission has a lot of miles on it. What you’ll notice is that your manual transmission seems to have a bit of a mind of its own, jumping out of gear and into neutral when you’re trying to go.
The first thing to check here is the gear shifter. The shifter and the linkage are often at issue when this happens, and you’ll want to make sure they aren’t loose or damaged. Your transmission mounts and engine mounts are other possibilities: check to make sure those aren’t damaged or broken outright.
No Movement: Problems Engaging
Sometimes a manual transmission simply will not engage. This is a different problem than jumping out of gear: here we’re talking about not being able to engage your clutch while the engine is running.
Here there are two main possibilities, and the key variable is whether or not you can engage when the engine is off. If you can engage just fine while the engine is off but can’t engage when it’s running, your clutch is the problem. On the other hand, if you can’t engage even when the engine is off, the problem is with your transmission itself.
Problems with Hard Shifting
Another thing that often comes up with a manual transmission is trouble shifting into gear, i.e. “hard shifting.” In this situation, you can still shift gears, but the system does not handle very smoothly and continually gives you problems.
There are a few different things you’ll want to check. The first is the operation of the clutch and the shift linkage. If these things aren’t the issue, make sure you have the right fluid, since the wrong fluid can sometimes cause this issue too.
Also, while you’re checking the transmission fluid, look for metal flakes. If you find any, this is an indicator that you probably have an issue with damaged internal components of the system.
If you’re having trouble with your manual transmission system, it’s probably a good idea to get in touch with a specialist. A transmission mechanic can help you figure out what’s wrong with your car and get it fixed. For more information visit Trans Works Transmissions