Top 6 Causes of a Manual Transmission Being Hard to Shift

In this post we are going to discuss why cars with manual transmission sometimes have problems when it comes to shifting. The symptom of manual transmission shifting hard can occur due to a problem with the clutch or gear systems.

Top 6 Causes of Hard Shifting Transmission

The common causes of this problem are further detailed below:

1. The clutch systems

The clutch system of a vehicle is responsible for disengaging and engaging power to the transmission while in between the flywheel of the engine. There are 6 main parts on clutch systems:

  • Clutch master cylinder
  • Release cylinder
  • Clutch cover
  • Clutch disc
  • Release bearing
  • Release fork

The clutch disc and input shaft transmission are engaged together. And the clutch cover is connected to the engine’s flywheel. When you press down on the clutch pedal, The “power pressing” will transmit to the clutch master cylinder and to push the release cylinder then push release fork to disengage between clutch cover and clutch disc. That is mean at this moment the engine spin do not transmit to the transmission. This allows you to easily change gears with the manual shift stick. However, if the clutch master cylinder or release cylinder is damaged or leaks, it will make it harder to shift gears. This happen because if the master cylinder or and release cylinder damaged or leaks, it can cause loss pressure on the fluid, this can make the clutch will not disengage properly. If the clutch and engine do not disengage properly, the manual transmission will hard to shift all gears, or even totally cannot shift.

2. The Synchronizer Ring

The purpose of the synchronizer ring is to effortlessly engage the gear. The ring is made up of small teeth which allow it to smoothly be engaged by the hub sleeve and then into the main gear. If the synchronizer ring were to get damaged or malfunction in some way, it would be difficult to shift the transmission.

3. Hub Gear

Between two different gears, there is a hub gear that engages them. For example, the hub gear goes between the first gear and second gear, and it goes between third gear and fourth gear. It is really like a bridge in between these gears. Since the hub gear is connected to the transmission shaft, it cannot freely be turned. A damaged or worn out hub gear will create problems when it comes to shifting the transmission.

4. Hub Sleeve

The hub sleeve engages the main gears from the hub gear. Depending on the location in which the gear shifts, the hub sleeve can also move to the right and left. The hub gear is like the deliverer of the engagement that lies between the main gear and the hub gear. There are small teeth on the hub gear that will synchronize with the teeth of the synchronizer ring as there is gear shifting in the transmission. But if the hub sleeve were to get damaged or worn out, it would be difficult to shift the transmission.

5. Gear

The manual transmission systems’ main component is the gear, which is made up of the counter gear, reverse gear, 5th gear, 4th gear, 3rd gear, 2nd gear, and 1st gear. Each gear has 2 teeth that are small and big. The function of the smaller teeth is to accept the hub sleeve’s engagement with the synchronizer ring. If these small teeth were to become damaged or worn out, it would be difficult to shift the transmission. And when a gear is shifted, the function of the bigger teeth is to engage the spinning counter gear which sends a transmission to the output shaft. If the big teeth are damaged or worn out, the transmission will make noise.

Read also: Bad Torque Converter Symptoms And Replacement Cost

6. Not Enough Gear Oil

If your transmission is leaking oil or you do not change it periodically, you will have less oil in the gear. Once this happens, there will be damage to your transmission and it will eventually become hard to shift it. There may even be strange noises or poor vehicle performance symptoms too.

Ok, now you already knows the 6 common causes of manual transmission hard to shift. The top 6 causes above are often occur especially on the car with high milaeage. And finally to learn more about how manual transmission works and working principle, see the video below:

10 thoughts on “Top 6 Causes of a Manual Transmission Being Hard to Shift”

  1. 97 isuzu rodeo 5 speed manual. Drove to work fine, left work, started engine, pulled up 20 ft, changed into 2nd gear, car knocked off, after that car will not go into gear. Drove home in 2nd. Changed clutch slave cyclinder. Clutch is fine. I dont know Whats else it is? Please advise. Not worth putting alot of money into

  2. My car is a peugeot 207 when engine is off gear stick goes in easy but when engine is on it won’t especially first gear what is wrong with it

  3. My 4 by 4 colt 2001 while i was driving it just automatically stopped engaging gear and it start to drive by small gear lever and it could not go to reverse.I want to know what is the problem and causes.

  4. Just wanted to throw this out there. Our 1999 Ford ranger was almost dry as a bone with brake fluid. There was a small leak from the hose to the reservoir. Put a clamp on, filled it up, shifts great.

  5. 2002 Honda Accord EX with a 5 speed manual. I have noticed the last few days that many times when shifting from 1st to 2nd it almost feel like it’s slipping, then this morning I had to force the thing into 4th gear on two different occasions. I am not sure what’s going on. Any thoughts? The KBB on this old thing is less than $800 so I am trying to get an idea if this is going to be worth the cost to fix it…I’m afraid the answer will be no…

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