Manual transmissions are designed to operate smoothly and efficiently. Although fairly basic in design, like with anything mechanical, there can be component failures. Most manual transmission problems start small and produce these types of symptoms:
Hard Shifting: Manual transmissions are designed to produce smooth, easy, controlled shifting between gear sets. When the clutch is activated during a manual transmission gear shift, the gears are designed to glide freely and smoothly from one gear to the next. If you cannot shift easily or if excessive force is needed to shift, that's a sure sign of a problem. In more severe cases, the ability to shift may not be possible at all.
Gear Noise: When manual transmissions are functioning properly and efficiently they rarely make noise -- at least excessive noise. A manual transmission that makes noise -- either during shifting or as the car is being driven at a constant speed -- is a sign that something within the transmission is not quite right. Although the problems may require only slight adjustment or repair, a noisy manual transmission is one that needs evaluation by a qualified transmission diagnostician. If your car makes grinding or scraping sounds during gear shifting, don’t ignore it, it needs attention immediately! Ignoring it will only cost you more money.
Gear Disengagement or Popping Out of Gear: Manual transmission gear disengagement occurs when a manual transmission gear moves or slips out of place. This condition causes a transmission freewheeling, which seriously affects your vehicle's operation. A manual transmission gear that slips out of place from a fixed gear position into neutral unassisted is a common symptom of a manual transmission problem.
Hard Clutch Pedal: A vehicle clutch is a very important part of manual transmission function. It’s what connects the engine to the transmission. A healthy clutch mechanism allows for the smooth, efficient shifting of the manual transmission. A clutch that is hard to press down on is a sign of a problem within the clutch, the clutch linkage or clutch hydraulics. With hard clutch pedal what you don’t realize is that more than likely the clutch is not disengaging all the way, which can lead to premature transmission failure. Hard clutch is a sign that the clutch may very well need attention. Click here for more information about clutch repair at 1st Gear Transmissions.
Soft Clutch Pedal: Just as a hard-to-engage clutch assembly is a common symptom of a manual transmission problem, a clutch that is too easy to press down on -- or one that simply lacks enough tension is a sign of a possible problem within the clutch. Although a soft clutch is easy on your calf it sometimes is caused by clutch pressure plate that is worn out or simply a clutch that needs adjustment. In either case hard or soft clutch pedal needs to be looked into.