Hard To Shift Into First While Car Is Running, Manual Transmission

Posted in Shifters | Asked on Apr 27, 2010

It is hard to shift into first while my car is running but easy when the car is off, what would cause this? I always have the clutch pushed in all the way and it does not slip when I let it out or inch forward with clutch pushed in, it is just hard to shift into gear.

Most the time if I just bounce the shifter into gear it will go somewhat smooth but always very smooth when the car is off. It is a 1997 Saturn SL2 with a DOHC 1.9L.

There are 8 Answers for "Hard To Shift Into First While Car Is Running, Manual Transmission"

  1. Tom C says:

    the throw out bearing is going bad.

  2. DJ Pazze™ says:

    I believe it is the clutch. I have the exact same issue with my 1994 Saturn. =]

    Always hard to shift into 1st.

  3. Grainov Truth says:

    The clutch pedal is not seperating the clutch from the flywheel enough. The gears are still rotating in the transmission. Get clutch linkage manually adjusted tighter.

  4. BritV8 Maddog says:

    Its called clutch drag which normally means transmission removal, plate probabbly sticking on the splines and causing some drag on the cover. or fingers worn on the cover and not allowing cover to clear the plate properly, normally means a new clutch in most cases

  5. joe says:

    this is completely normal, when your engine isnt running you can usually get into any gear without even putting the clutch in. My jeep does this and all u usually have to do is give it just a tiny bit of gas while pushing the clutch in and it will slip right into first. Your clutch is fine my car does the exact same thing and the clutch is fairly knew, around 10k miles.

  6. ? says:

    check you have enough gearbox oil

  7. Old Man Dirt says:

    According to Napa there is a slave and master cylinder that is part of the system.
    So first check the reservoir under the hood and see if it is empty or low. Top it off to the full mark.
    You could have air trapped in the line if it is empty. Which means it need to be bled.
    As your clutch wears either the slave needs adjusted, or if it is self adjusting, the fluid in the reservoir needs to be topped off.
    If it is loosing fluid then most of the time it is the slave, but it could be the master, or a ruptured line.
    Some cars have a residual pressure valve in the line to the clutch. This can fail too, but I have not seen it. Which could also give you the symptoms you described.

  8. cleaver first says:

    yes is a clutch problem maybe you need a new clutch or yours master cylinder or your slave cylinder are bad